Author Topic: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?  (Read 5564 times)

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Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« on: May 27, 2014, 08:23:30 AM »

I am looking for some advice from some of the meditation/mindfulness guru's here.

I have concluded that I really need to embark on a several week training program to deal with stress, anxiety and depression.

My question is how should I do that?  I need some sort of guide.  The unspoken message I am getting is 'well you just start meditating'.  I feel that in order for it to stick I need to commit to training and study and I want to start it sooner rather than later.  I don't want it to be easy for me to just stop doing it, I would like a guided course to learn through.  My life is too busy and its easy to put things aside - hence the need to commit to this. 

How should I approach this?, what worked for you?

I have researched a bit and found.

UCLA – 6 week online class begins in July $165
Umass – 8 week online course on your own schedule $199
UCSD – good free guided MBSD but just a few sessions
Kabat-Zinns cd's – I’m not sure the quality of these recordings are very good.
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)

EricL

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 08:42:52 AM »
Mindfulness meditation is great.  Best of all, it's cheap!  You don't have to go to all those crazy classes unless you like socializing with people who mindfully meditate.  They're great, but you can hang with other people who are just as nice for free. 

Here's how to do it:
1. Find a reasonably quiet place for about as long as you need to meditate.
2. Get in a nice, comfortable position to meditate in either sitting or lying down.  It's best if you can keep your spine straight.  Yes, the full lotus is the best position.  But a kitchen chair or pillow will suffice.  And are better if you're not flexible or have a bad back. 
3. Close your eyes and focus on what's going on right now, in your body, in your breath.  Take deep but not strenuous breaths.
4. Still your mind and hold this position for five minutes to start and work your way up to an hour.
5. Your mind, of course, will wander off immediately. 
6. Don't abuse yourself because your mind wanders off or what it wanders off to.  Just gently reign it in.  That is the key to success in mindfulness meditation: just gently reigning in your wandering mind over and over again.  It may take decades to stay completely focused for a full hour.  But you will reap the rewards anyway.
7. If you fall asleep, you probably need the rest more than the meditation.

You can also meditate in your daily life by focusing all your attention on what you're doing right then and there and holding that attention to it no matter what.  This is a wonderful meditation while driving a car or bicycling.

Of course, if this is not enough, there's a trillion books and a million free web sites that can help.

arebelspy

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 09:06:13 AM »
A simple start would be to get the (free) app "Headspace": http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/

Do that for 10 days.  Then decide where you want to go with it.
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forward

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 09:29:48 AM »
A simple start would be to get the (free) app "Headspace": http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/

Do that for 10 days.  Then decide where you want to go with it.

I've heard of it but never tried it.  I'll check it out.  Thanks!

ThatGuyFromCanada

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 10:09:33 AM »
You could also look for groups around you that offer free, community-based options. There is one near me called http://imeditatecalgary.org/ and they have free drop-in session 3x per week.

windawake

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 11:39:30 AM »
If you're going to buy something, I would buy Kabat-Zinn's book, Full Catastophe Living, and also get the CDs. I have his four-CD set which is very good quality. We used this in a mindfulness-based stress reduction course I took through college.

I would also recommend downloading the podcast 'Exploring the Mind with Sam Harris.' He has two guided meditations which are great starting points. I would also recommend any free yoga nidras or free guided meditations. You just need a starting point, and those are great ways to slowly get into mindfulness/meditation.

Rezdent

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2014, 07:15:10 PM »
I suggest trying quite a few different methods to find the one that fits you best.  Many of these can be found for free or cheap.
I tried quite a few and love most of them, but I get more from "Kundalini" yoga meditation than anything else.  It's my touchstone - the one I go back to whenever I feel lost or overwhelmed.
Once you've figured out what works best for you then spring for the classes or courses.

JustTrying

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2014, 10:18:55 PM »
UCLA has some free podcasts with guided imagery/mindfulness. I've found it by searching "UCLA mindfulness" in the podcast app thing on my iPhone. Also, check out the book "The Happiness Trap" which is focused on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and is written as a self-help book. Also, check out your local library! Search their catalog for "mindfulness" and "meditation," and see what you find!

Primm

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2014, 11:53:26 PM »
Second the Headspace recommendation, or anything by Andrew Johnson. He has the most soothing Scottish accent.

deborah

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 01:51:46 AM »
Look at your library catalogue. Look up "mindfulness". It will have mindfulness books. It will have mindfulness CDs. It will have mindfulness DVDs. It might even have mindfulness self-contained units that just need headphones (or speakers) plugged in - mine has one called "Mindfulness while Driving"!

Each of these will cover a different form of mindfulness.

Why do I know - I looked at my library a couple of months ago and was boggled by the number of mindfulness things they had. I borrowed many of them (including Mindfulness while Driving - which was worth it).

Begonia

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2014, 10:53:57 AM »
Hi mic575,

First of all, I think it's wonderful that you want to explore meditation and encourage you to check out as many possibilities as you can. There are many different approaches and the key is finding what works for you. I have a daily practice (15 -30 minutes) that's changed my life, helping me stay true to my values and, actually, understand what my values are when I'm going through a rough patch and there's a lot of confusion happening.

I second anything by Kabat-Zinn -- the Catastrophe book and CDs is a great idea.

Here's another resource you may find helpful. It's on the website of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, an SF Bay Area Buddhist retreat center. Any book or audio by Jack Kornfield should be engaging and helpful (A Path With Heart is a good book to start with, and on dharmaseed.org you can find a ton of downloadable "dharma talks" on meditation and life in general by him). He's got a good sense of humor and a lot of wisdom.

https://www.spiritrock.org/meditation

Hope that helps. Happy exploring!


zataks

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2014, 11:36:12 AM »
I'm a fan of Thích Nhất Hạnh and simple mindfulness and related meditation practices. 

For me, stress and generally slowing/calming down is imperative to being happier and healthier and so typically meditate by focusing on my breathing.  The Hanh example/recommendation would be breathing while reciting (inaudibly for me), "As I breathe, I smile.  As I breathe out, my body relaxes."  Or that's the gist of it, at least.  I think Hanh is actually reverse of that but I find it easier to physically relax on exhale.  I'm sure you could find any number of his books at the library or used book store.  Peace is Every Step is a decent one.

Additionally, Sharon Salzberg wrote a book on Lovingkindness that I found beneficial in increasing compassion.

apfroggy0408

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2014, 11:59:19 AM »
I can't recommend the book "Buddhist Bootcamp" by Timber Hawkeye enough.

MrWednesday

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2014, 07:23:28 AM »
Lots of really great suggestions here! I like this book which is set up as a course with weekly exercises and assignments http://books.google.com/books/about/Beginning_Mindfulness.html?id=RH19ndPmOLIC There are quite a few sample pages on the above link. The book is well written and quite structured. Look for it at your local library, or at amazon for about $12. If you are looking for a local group you might find these links helpful
http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/directory.php
http://szba.org/affiliated-centers/
http://www.beginnersmindzencenter.org/

Most groups will offer some sort of free instruction, the last link is in Northridge, near UCLA. I got their address from this site http://www.sfzc.org/zc/maps.asp?catid=1,11 where you could search for other affiliated groups that might be closer to you.

I have sat with a group affiliated with the San Francisco zen center for about 12 years and can vouch for the quality of any affiliated groups in this lineage. I'd also feel quite comfortable recommending any in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 07:28:23 AM by MrWednesday »

Burgis81

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2014, 11:16:15 AM »
Hi there!

How about this approach:

1. Read about the basics of mindful meditation online (no need to buy books)

2. Find some people online (forums, facebook groups etc.) and ask if they would like to be part of a meditation group to help each other as accountability partners. Maybe you meet once a week, for an hour or something? e.g. a group of 3-5 people and then you can discuss mindfulness, share tips and drink tea :)

Cheers
Ann

Ps. www.calm.com is also nice every now and then

catccc

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2014, 12:22:36 PM »
Someone here suggested reading "The Power of Now" By Eckhart Tolle.  I got it as a book on CD from the library, and listened to maybe 1/2 of it before I had to return it.  It was immensely helpful in bringing mindfulness into my life.  One day I'll check it out again and listen to the 2nd half, and become even more enlightened...

RapmasterD

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2014, 08:51:15 PM »
All great suggestions so far. E.G., I go way back with Kabat-Zinn. And the Thich man. And of course, the Tolle monster. Tolle's series with Oprah from several years back, which I think you can get on iTunes in podcast form for free, is OUTSTANDING.

Also consider "The Relaxation Response" by Herbert Benson -- a classic.

Also, "Feeling Good" by Kenneth Burns. Another classic -- all about cognitive therapy. IMHO there's nothing more important than your THOUGHTS...which you have much more control of than you might think you do.

What about some Nathaniel Branden for good measure? Six Pillars of Self Esteem -- aNOTHER classic!

Oh, and when is the last time you spent a few minutes staring at yourself in the mirror and saying positive things about yourself OUT LOUD? That douche Al Franken used to make fun of doing that on Saturday Night Live. My advice: do it. Oh, and if you live in Minnesota and have to endure Al Franken, my humblest apologies.

intirb

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Re: Guide for mindfulness/meditation - help?
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2014, 08:08:28 AM »
Surprised no one has mentioned this yet.  I would highly recommend "Mindfulness in Plain English" - you can find it online for free at tons of places, including: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html