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Let's start meditating together!

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    There are 2 very valuable activities involved with becoming a meditator: learning about meditation and then actually doing it. The mindfulness summit has been really terrific in the "learning" department, and has been very inspiring as well. I'm so very glad that I signed up for it.

    However, I'm also very interested in moving on to practice. While this summit has given us some very basic options for that, I'm very interested in finding something that provides more structure and guidance. I purchased meditation books before, but it is never "stuck," and I want something structured that will help me build lifelong habit even though my schedule is already very busy. I want something that an expert is designed from the ground up, that many other people have used successfully.

    I think that I may have found what I'm looking for in a program that was recommended to me by Georgie Oldfield, the founder of SIRPA. One of her TMS clients recommended it to her, and she has begun recommending it to her other clients as well. They say that it helps them a lot.

    It is called HeadSpace, and it was created by a gentleman from the UK named Andy Puddicombe, who also spent about 10 years as a Buddhist monk in Tibet and Myanmar. It keeps everything simple, and is focused on helping people integrate meditation into their own lives. It's very down to earth, and it keeps things clear and simple.

    The program is so successful, that it is given out by some corporations, like Google and Goldman Sachs, to all of their employees for free. While the program does cost the rest of us some money, at less than $15 for a month, it's a tiny expenditure compared with the cost of doing a mindfulness course in person or even the cost of doing a single session of psychotherapy. Of course, from from my perspective, learning to meditate is like getting proper healthcare, I want the best services that I can afford. This is my life or talking about! :)

    I mentioned that headspace is used at Google. Here is a talk given at Google by Andy:

    I just signed up for Headspace and then planning to do it with my best friend. Learning to meditate and starting a daily practice that lasts for the rest of one's life is not an easy feat, and you're much more likely to be successful in it, if you do it with friends. If anyone here would like to join us, I'd love to make it a group activity like the Mindfulness Summit has become a group activity. It will help me to have other friends doing it with me.

    The 1st day was very simple and easy. It only took 10 minutes, and I feel great because I'm on my way to being a meditator. I can see why literally millions of people have signed up. It probably doesn't hurt that the 1st 10 days of free.

    If you'd like to learn more, here is an article from Wired magazine about the new version of Headspace. It begins as follows:
    If you haven't already joined the meditation and mindfulness revolution, now is a great moment to jump on the bandwagon. The second version of digital wellbeing platform Headspace, which counts celebrities, members of the Wired team and more than a million other people around the world as fans, was announced today at The Royal Society of Medicine in London.
    Read more: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-05/31/headspace-version-2

    Anyone interested or curious about joining us?
    Dexy, Sienna and Anne Walker like this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm interested, @Forest , but am wondering what "doing it together" means. Is it a self-paced course or would we all be watching and participating in the same videos as in the Summit?

    I just read the article and see it is an app with a community feature. Are you suggesting we link with each other this way?
    Sienna likes this.
  3. angelic333

    angelic333 Peer Supporter

    Sometimes a great thing to do is to attend a class in person. Forest, I know you are in NYC, look up meditatiioninnewyork.org
    This is the kadampa Buddhist tradition and they hold many classes throughout the week in many locations in New York and more. Here on LI they ask a $10 donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. I think it's worth going to at least one session to give it a try, you get about an hour of dharma teachings and about a 20 minute meditation. I go every week for several years and it has changed my life.
    There are many centers throughout the country, throughout the world. Google kadampa.
    mike2014 likes this.
  4. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you have the ability to set up a mini community, of up to 5 members so you can track the progress of your friends, provide encouragement, support etc. But I think the whole "doing it together" won't be feasible due to time differences and schedules.
    angelic333 likes this.
  5. angelic333

    angelic333 Peer Supporter

    If you want something that an expert has designed and has served many, this is it. A 2500 year old tradition from Buddah himself, the basis of everything the modern folks derive their practice.
  6. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Forest, I particularly like that they've incorporated a segment into this app specifically for health. It's also great to see that they are being proactive and are looking at developing a similar and much needed platform for children. Who knows, with 1+ million downloads, perhaps mindfullness is actually making a big mark.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
    angelic333 likes this.
  7. angelic333

    angelic333 Peer Supporter

    Buddah Dharma Sanga
    Buddah is the example
    Dharma is the teachings
    Sanga is the community

    A community of like minded people is as needed as the rest
  8. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    Headspace is one of the meditation apps that were recommended on zen master Thich Nhat Hanh's website.
    I searched and found a few meditation apps on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=meditation apps&c=apps . A few people like Headspace but don't want to spend the monthly $15, some suggested to use the app Buddhify instead. They said it offer pretty much similar stuff for just a one time fee of $2.99 ( http://buddhify.com/ ).
    I like Angelic's suggestion, if you have the time and mean to do it, you should try to attend meditation retreat or classes in person. Many center offer them for free or at a very low fee. TNH's Plum Village has many retreat centers around the world that you should check out: http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/directory.php . Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka is also offer free classes all over the world: https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index .
    There are many more. Some are free, some will ask for a small fee.
    Remember, you don't need or have to be Buddhist to meditate.
    angelic333 likes this.
  9. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Balto,

    $2.99 certainly seems affordable, but I'd be interested in seeing a side by side comparison of both products. Buddhify, along with Headspace were actually mentioned in an article published by The Guardian regarding the best meditation apps.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  10. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi everyone,

    It's terrific to see such a great response to this!! Research has shown that a regular meditation practice can improve our lives in many ways, so it's great to see us working together to support each other in developing a regular practice.

    I don't know if people watched the video above, but even the first 10 minutes is terrific. In it, the Google rep, who seems very knowledgeable, said, "[we have research to show that meditation helps], and we know it's really hard to practice. To me the dirty little secret of mindfulness and meditation is that it works and that most people don't do it." I think that this points to a possible goal - the goal is to start a regular habit, to put it into practice.

    Research has shown that doing something in a group can tremendously increase our odds of being successful. Not only can we share ideas, but things also just seem much more real when you do them with people. It makes it harder to simply "blow off" and break the habit if you are feeling tired some day.

    Responding to Ellen, The modus operandi of this community is that as a science-based peer-oriented nonprofit, we give people science-based information as best we can and then let them make their own decisions. I'd be happy to link up with anyone in the program (I've already started, so feel free to link up with me – you can put in my email address: it's forest at tmswiki dot org). However, others may prefer to do things on their own. We aren't a medical clinic and are just peers, so we trust everyone to know what is best for themselves. However, even if people don't want to link up in the program, having trusted friends in this discussion thread to vent with/ask questions of/discuss how it relates to other aspects of TMS/share ideas and triumphs with seems like something that could help us create new habits.

    Speaking of habits, recently I've been listening to The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It's a nice fun read, full of stories, and it shows how our brains are wired to follow habits. By learning about how habits work, we can make or break them in ways that will have a big impact on our life. It would be a tremendous gift to give yourself the habit of a simple 10 minute per day meditation practice. Once the habit is in place, you can learn more through classes or additional books, either in Buddhist, research, self-help, psychotherapeutic or other traditions, but the first thing is just to get started and keep going.

    In this spirit, I see a lot of interesting and smart ideas in this thread, but I wonder if we might be best served by limiting our focus. In other words, if the goal is to just get started, it might actually be better to not have too many options and instead to focus in on a few options that are most likely to lead to success in starting a new habit. I think we want to keep it as simple as possible and just get started doing it regularly so we maximize our chances of getting the habit to stick.

    In fact, we might want to limit to just one option. Bearing in mind the above, it may help if we try to at least get a core group of people who are pursuing roughly the same program. Others may participate in different ways, but I think it would be very helpful to have that core group urging each other along. To some degree we have already achieved this because I've already committed with my friend to do the HeadSpace program. We just re-did the first session earlier tonight and it was relaxing and easy.

    If anyone else wants to give it a try, the first ten days don't even require a credit card:
    You can just give it a try to see what you think. If you like it, feel free to add me by putting in my email address as I described above.
    Dexy likes this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    My new habit is listening to the Summit every day! And I'm pleased to say that mostly I'm achieving that goal - every morning I wake up and reach for my tablet, looking forward to the next presentation. I've only missed one so far due to an early meeting, and will catch up to it eventually because I bought the all-access pass and I've been downloading as I go.

    No new apps for me until the Summit is over :D
    SunnyinFL and levfin003 like this.
  12. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Hi have you continued with mindfulness?
    If the answer is yes , how?
    Forest likes this.
  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    You know, I've been thinking about bumping this thread for a while. I find it really hard to make time for meditation and was hoping that by making it as simple as possible and introducing a community aspect that perhaps I could start a regular habit. If others want to give it a try, I'd still be up for it.

    I've always struggled with a short attention span, so when I've tried to meditate before, it has almost been physically painful. But when study after study shows the benefits of meditating, it's still attractive. And my short attention span may just mean that I have more to gain by cultivating my ability to focus. I like the idea of headspace because the meditations are only 10 minutes and there is always a recording to listen to, which I find makes it easier.

    It does remind me a bit of what I wrote in the following post about "magazine reading:"
    It's great to read about meditation, but to get the benefits, we have to actually start a daily habit. I know that some other members on the forum have been successful with this but so far I haven't.
    Sienna likes this.
  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

  15. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Ok, so, you have been thinking about it Forest! For me it works very well to help me soothe to go to sleep. Now I have realized itt actually reinforces one of my bad habits for going to sleep, which is to stretch the time to go to sleep! But most of the times, I find myself being able to sleep after following a 15 or 20 minutes recording.
    Good thread!
  16. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Forest! I missed this thread the first time around and reading it now has made me smile. I am a huge believer in meditation and promote the idea every chance I get but have not yet been able to maintain a regular, on-going practice. Sometimes months at a time and then somehow I get distracted. I did have a mentor who emphasized that the most important thing was to get "your ass on the cushions." She encouraged me not think too much about how I am meditating, or for how long, but to do it on a regular basis. Just 5 minutes a day has benefit. One of the things I incorporated at that time which I still naturally and effortlessly do, is to take a few minutes each time I turn my car off. I know you perhaps don't drive a car where you are, but the point is to find some place that you go to regularly as part of your ordinary routine, and then grab a few moments to relax, breathe, observe and meditate. I am not suggesting this in the place of attempting to build a regular meditation practice, but every little habit we build that helps to break our overly rushed, obsessive, mentally focused routine helps. Like my morning cup of coffee! haha
    Fabi and Forest like this.
  17. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Today l could use a trick l learned of floating. I was having an MRI in my head, the noise was horrible and l started tofeel like crying. I was upset, and l wanted to leave, but l also need the test, l tried focusing on my breathing, it didn't help me, then l remembered the one about being breathed by your breath, l practiced it just a few times, and together with floating got me soothed and safe out of the room. Nice someone is watching this thread!
    Sienna likes this.
  18. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    I am also trying to meditate on a regular basis.
    There are terrific meditations on youtube by Michael Sealey, Jon Kabat, Tara Brach...
    I also like the MBSR (Body scan) meditations by Palouse Mindfulness.

    I try to avoid taking my phone to bed, I prefer using an ipod instead for guided meditations, so I was wondering, does anyone know a good program to convert youtube videos to mp3?
    I found one but it worked only with short videos...

    Thank you!
    Forest and Fabi like this.
  19. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Sienna, l use a cree converter but it doesn't work with videos longer than 20 minutes. If you still want l will have to access it from my PC chrome toolbar.
    Can you post links to the meditations in you tube?
  20. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    Hi Fabi,

    Thanks for your answer!

    Here you have some of them, as you say, the thing is that they are longer than 20 min:

    Fabi likes this.

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