Meditation Primer

Shadow of The Colossus – Swift Horse 

Before reading onward, I strongly recommend visiting the Metacognition Hub, and reading the previous posts in sequential order. As with all activities, meditation can be dangerous; reading the posts in order may reduce that danger. You’ve been warned.

Meditation is focused thought, devoid of external stimuli; its the best method for beginners to develop metacognition. When improving our internal awareness and control, the absence of external stimuli, helps clear the mind of irrelevant information.

First-attempts at meditation tend to be very unproductive: our thoughts run in chaotic directions; we fall asleep; obsess over frivolous subjects; or get restless and simply give up. Another problem is that, when the outside world doesn’t distract us, unpleasant thoughts and memories surface.

All these problems make meditation difficult; the “Lotus” posture can reduce that difficulty. Maintaining this posture while meditating is painful. Even with no expertise, working through that pain encourages rudimentary metacognition. Lotus also makes translating metacognitive self-alterations, into the every-day mental state, easier.

I, however, prefer a different method. My method is to lay down comfortably, with earplugs and a face mask, in a dark and quiet room. I often lay in bed, with blankets, to be as comfortable as possible. Then I meditate, usually over an hour, rarely moving but to breath.

Lotus forces the mind to focus, by directing your attention; my method does not. While Lotus is great for a beginner, it is a distraction to intermediate practice, which is hindered by external stimuli. On the other-hand, my method amplifies the difficulties and dangers of metacognition, but that amplification is desirable once sufficient expertise is developed.

No matter your preferred method, your first goal will be the same. You need to learn to keep your mind “quiet,” and simultaneously, comfortably alert. By “quiet,” I mean that your mind is not racing in random, unproductive directions. By “comfortably alert,” I mean that you are as alert as you would be in daily life, while being physically and emotionally comfortable.

Pay attention to your breathing, heart beat, blood flow, lungs, etc. Basically, fill your conscious mind with the physical sensations of your body. Also keep yourself emotionally calm. Both can be seemingly impossible tasks, especially at first. But stick with it; you’ll have to fight for quite awhile, but it will start to work with commitment.

Once you can quickly will yourself into this state of mind, and maintain it for over an hour of meditation, then you can begin metacognition. But, before we move on to that, we elaborate on the mental processes involved with “quieting” the mind.

Oh, I suggest ignoring nearly all sources of information on these subjects: most of it is complete nonsense. More on that in next post.

diagram

An applicable variation of the Lotus position. That black part is a cushion that helps align the spine.

 


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~ by Louis Naughtic on September 7, 2016.

One Response to “Meditation Primer”

  1. […] Meditation Guide […]

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