Walking Meditation

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week (well, it’s supposed to be a week. I hasn’t been, really) to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: Walking Meditation

This is really a simple meditation style. I go for a walk. Done. I can listen to music, think my thoughts, practice parkour, take pictures, whatever.

Adherence: 41%

I have practiced this meditation for 75 days (a week per meditation style, ha!).

As usual, I am terrible at practicing my meditation.

I have learned that I am MUCH more likely to practice it if I wake up and begin my day with my morning ritual (which has me doing yoga outside as one of the first things, then meditating).

I’ll try to improve upon this for my next meditation, and have a chosen an easier style to help achieve this.

Thoughts

The first time I tried walking meditation, it was amazing. I walked around the local area of Ubud’s alley roads. I saw cool construction sites, petted dogs, discovered beautiful hidden gardens, and even ran across a white woman who had evidently married a Balinese man and was walking down the street wearing home-cloths and yelling in Bahasa Indonesia.

I recorded my thoughts during the meditation, and remarked that it’s like a ticket to explore. I’ve uploaded that recording here:

But then I went back to Asha’s parent’s place in Singapore. It’s just a series of huge cement apartment buildings in the boondocks of Singapore.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful and fascinating place. Singapore’s government takes quite excellent care of it’s people, and this place is full of well-designed paths, nice looking parks, lots of trees, and the beautifully designed front yards of the tenants. And a lot of stray cats. I even saw a group of workers installing some solar panels on the roofs. (more…)

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week(ish) to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: The Flame & The Void (Mushin Meditation)

The nerdiest of all meditation styles I’m trying in this experiment, The Flame & The Void comes from The Wheel of Time fantasy novel series by Robert Jordan. It is very alike to Mushin Meditation practiced by martial artists (a state of flow where the body moves on instinct and training instead of thought and planning), and to Mindfulness Meditatation.

Characters who use The Flame & The Void in the books experience a complete focus on the present moment & what they are doing in it, while being completely detached from anything else (including physical pain, fear, etc). One mark of this is to be able to be aware of physical pain and yet detached from it as if it were “happening to someone else”.

“I imagine a flame, and then I push everything into it. Hate, fear, nervousness. Everything. When they’re all consumed, there’s an emptiness, a void, inside my head. I am in the middle of it, but I’m a part of whatever I am concentrating on, too.” – Rand Al’Thor, The Dragon Reborn

How it’s done:

  1. Imagine a flame.
  2. Feed every thought, emotion, & feeling that comes to you into this flame.
    1. It may help to take a visual representation of the thing and feed that into the flame.
  3. When everything is gone, let the flame go and surround yourself in the Void of emotion and thought that is left.
    • Go back to step 2 if the void disappears.
  4. Take the actions you need/want to take, unaffected by thoughts or emotions.

I practiced The Flame & The Void in many different scenarios, some extremely uncomfortable or even painful:

With my hand in ice-cold water, on a bumpy and uncomfortable bus, in bed going to sleep. I would also do miniature meditations when I needed to deal with something like emotional turmoil, boredom, or getting my eyebrows plucked (I’ve got a unibrow by default. Gotta keep that thing tamed).

Ice water was the most painful, and therefore most indicative of success in trying to distance myself from physical pain. I was able to hold my hand in ice water for 3 full minutes, the maximum I’m sure I can go without causing myself harm (chosen by following in the footsteps of Mythbusters in their Pain Tolerance experiment).

Most people can’t do this, and I know I would have given up in the first minute if not for this meditation.

Throughout the three minutes, I had a few solid moments where I was completely successful in not caring about the pain, and a few where it hurt intensely and the only way I was able to keep my hand in the water was to just continually feed that pain into the flame as fast as it was hitting me.

Adherence: 69%

(more…)

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: Mindfulness (Vipassana)

I sit on a cushion, eyes closed, for 20 minutes, listening to theta wave binaural beats.

I breathe deeply & naturally, focusing on my breath and on allowing my thoughts to pass through me without capturing me.

When thoughts do capture me, and I notice them, I label the thought broadly (e.g. plan, worry, memory), and return to my breath.

If I am able to achieve total empty mind, never for more than the space of a few breaths, I feel my mind open and relax, while I notice my breaths & the total emptiness of thought between them.

Adherence: 71%

(more…)

Daily Meditation Experiment

The Experiment:

Every week, I will practice one type of meditation (listed in my Meditation Crash Course, which is currently in development) every day for 20 minutes.

I will track my progress using Momentum, and report back here weekly on how I practiced the previous week’s meditation & what my thoughts/feelings are on it.

Why

It seems like nearly every single person I admire meditates. Tim Ferriss, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Neil Strauss, Rick Rubin, Steve Jobs, Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Wright, Tynan, Eben Pagan, Sebastian Marshall, Josh Waitzkin…the list goes on. And they all espouse the benefits that meditation has brought to their life.

When enough people you admire all say the same thing, it’s wise to listen. So I’m trying meditation out for myself.

The Hypothesis

I’ve already been loosely doing meditation for a month now. (more…)

Daily Meditation Experiment - Momentum - Pre-Experiment

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: Free Style

I sit or lie down, eyes closed, for 5-20 minutes.

I listen completely to a song OR feel my body’s emotions and focus on accepting & solving them OR I do a century count of 100 deep breaths OR try not to focus on anything at all OR something else.

Adherence: On & Off

I practiced free style meditation from April 28th to May 24th. My longest streak was 9 days, and I meditated for a total of 22/27 days.

Results & Thoughts

I’ve seen some impressive results. I’ve gotten perspective on a lot of seemingly huge emotional problems, had entire days where I was calm simply because I had meditated, and discovered how hard it is to quiet the mind and not be taken over my thoughts or emotions.

  • Increased & lasting calm.
  • Reminded that everything will be okay.
  • Big problems made not so big. Solutions created.
  • Almost always feel better after meditating than I did before.
  • Learned that quieting the mind is difficult.