#44 This is going to be the year that I figure out meditation.
Due Date: 2-13-2015
Resolution: I've been interested in meditation for years. If you read enough of my stuff you'll see that I often bring up the fact that I can’t silence my mind. Whether I'm trying to sleep, read, or just be in the moment, my thoughts are always racing.
I think it's because I've spent a majority of my life alone, constantly searching for ways to entertain myself. I'm constantly looking for humor in the mundane, trying to find a story to share those moments that I am around others, constantly trying to justify my existence.
I've bought books, listened to guided meditation, I've even gone to a meditation center. I think I have an expectation that something magical is supposed to happen, so I can help but think, “Am I doing this right?” as I sit there in silence.
I think my other issues is, as an insomniac, the only other time I have my eye closed while awake is when I am desperately trying to go to sleep. I have a theory that my attempts to meditate trigger my sleep anxiety.
I plan to eventually resolve to meditate every day, but until then my focus will be to figure out which technique works for me.
Update #1: A meditation technique that may lead to hallucination...
Sign me up!!!
I actually read about this technique a couple years ago when I was looking into booking a session to try a sensory deprivation tank. I tried it once and it was the first time that I felt close to being in a meditative state of mind.
It's called the Ganzfeld effect. Now before you go looking into to find that it has a bizarre history of promises of telepathy and out of body experiences, that is not what I am trying to achieve.
I feel that I am motivated by novelty and have to admit, the first time I tried this I was partially motivated by the promise of a hallucinatory effect but the main reason I tried was to get an idea what this sensory deprivation was all about.
They says to take a ping pong ball, cut it in half then tape over your eyes so that when you blast a red light through them it creates a defused red field of vision. I actually just taped diffusion to a pair of motorcycle goggles that I had laying around.
Then once you figure out the technique to get this defused red field of vision you blast white noise through a pair of headphones, then get yourself nice and comfy and relax for about a half hour.
As I said the first time I tried this it seemed to work, and by work I mean as a meditation technique, no hallucination, no time travel, no anything out of the ordinary. The white noise was enough to distract my thoughts and the red eventually would fade to black from time to time. I don't know the science behind it but that's what happened.
This time I think I was too caught up in thinking of reporting on this novel experience to end up in a full state of meditation, but I do feel relaxed and will definitely stick with this technique until I get over how silly it seems.
There may be more conventional techniques out there, but I will take my technique with a side of novelty please and will continue to report on any progress.
Update #2: The Ganzfeld Experiments continue.
Again I am not experimenting with this technique for any of the pseudoscience promises of telepathy or out of body experiences. I just know myself and I know that I am motivated by novelty and this technique is very novel.
Tonight was my fourth night trying this technique. I'm still not fully sure what my expectations are as far as being able to gauge whether or not I am actually meditating or just relaxing.
After about ten minutes the white noise does a pretty good job at silencing my thoughts. During the first ten minutes I'm definitely thinking how stupid this is, or being pulled out of any Zen like state by questioning whether or not anything is happening the second anything does seem to be happening.
It doesn't take long for the red light blasting through diffusion to make it seem like something is happening, not anything supernatural, but the same type of optical illusion that you would experience while staring into a stereogram image from the 90s.
The combination of this sound distraction and the visual trickery seems to get me to power through the boredom and actually relax. The past couple nights while experimenting with this I felt like I was on the cusp of something that seems to be the goal of meditation. I felt my mind was on the verge of being silent, but not quite.
I tried it again tonight for a half hour and it started out the same. Only this time it took me less than ten minutes to get over the awkwardness of the goggles and the annoying sounds of white noise. I'm not sure how long it was but I eventually felt very relaxed.
The program than I listen to the white noise on gradually fades out when it reaches the end of how ever long you set the program to run. Usually the second I hear it begin to fade I start to prepare to get up and get back to work.
I don't think I fell asleep, but there was a weird moment where I realized I had been sitting in complete silence for a couple minute. I didn't even notice that the white noise faded out.
I'm not sure what this means, but I'm going to stick with it to see what happens.
I'll tell you what I find.
Update #3: The Conclusion.
I've spent years wanting to be a meditator. I tried a few different techniques, I've read books I've even been to a meditation center for a free introductory lesson. I've yet to feel that I've come close to figuring it out.
I really think the problem is that I have expectations that something magical is supposed to happen, something far more ground breaking than a silent mind. Every second of silence is interrupted with thoughts of, "Did I do it?"
It's been another year and I still feel nowhere closer to understanding meditation. Hopefully I'll figure it out some day. In general I need to find a better balance between hopes and expectations versus reality. Maybe once I can grasp that the goal of meditation is something as mundane as silence, then I can start to balance my expectations in life.