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Meditation - is there a wrong way of meditating?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by TG957, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have been practicing yoga for 16 years and qi gong for 4 years, so I am not a stranger to the concept of meditation. Yet, a standard sitting meditation, guided or not, does not seem to do anything for me. Sometimes I fall asleep but that's about it.

    The only time when I feel that my brain clears of stress and anxiety is when I go hiking or swimming or just have a yoga or qi gong practice. Somehow, the rhythm and monotony of repetitive movements relaxes me. But is it enough?

    But I never had epiphanies or physical effects like nausea or uncontrolled body movements or hearing sounds etc. that are considered outcomes of good meditation after my hikes or yoga practices, let alone formal meditations.

    Am I missing something? Advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi TG957,

    While I have done plenty of meditating, I am not an instructor per se. I would count myself lucky that you have not experienced any of the above experiences. This quote makes me think you're trying to "get somewhere," which is natural, since we're always trying to fix, improve, or have better (more interesting?) experiences.

    To me, meditation is a discipline to not keep doing what I am normally doing. That is, it is an invitation to rest, and observe myself, without interfering. Or, more accurately, it is a chance to observe my compulsive thinking, and interfering (like rejecting one thing, or trying to have more of another thing), and not become so identified with this activity. Let it be itself, and notice a larger space. If it is calming, great. If I have insights, great. If I am bored, that is OK. It is all meditation when I take that seat.

    The main things regular meditation brings me is a deeper awareness of self activity, and an ability to witness things a little more. And with this, more self-compassion over the years. Awareness brings the deeper possibility of connecting with Being, but it may only get us more in contact with our suffering (which will bring more self-compassion).

    Andy B
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle


    Thank you for such a detailed response. Yes, I am trying to "get somewhere", which is to get to the place where my hands are normal, where I can tie shoelaces, bend my fingers into a fist and not need grip gloves to open door knobs. Funny thing is that my pain levels are tolerable enough that I reach for over-the-counter Advil only couple times a week, it just my tendons and ligaments that would not cooperate, which makes it an extra challenge to fit into the paradigm of pain.

    Here is my TMS paradox and dilemma.

    A Sarno type, I used to beat myself up for anything and everything that went wrong or may have gone wrong. I used to hold myself to the highest standards my inner bully would set for me. I recognized the futility of this approach long time ago and thought that in the past 5-7 years I had much improved in that area, even before learning about TMS.

    Now that this new TMS thing hit me after I (presumably!) successfully fought back migraines, back pain, and other pains that came and went throughout my life, my bully is back. It wants me to recover quickly. It thinks that I could do better than this. And no matter how many times I am telling myself that I am only on week 7 after opening Sarno's book with a challenging case of CRPS diagnosis in my way, and I have seen some improvements (maybe 10-15%), every few days I start doubting my ability to recover, for one reason or another.

    So, it must be something that you are not doing right, the bully says. For example, you must be loose in your SEP (and yes, I don't complete every day's worth of work in a day, sometimes I sit on one journal entry for 3-4 days because I worry that three sentences are not enough). Or you must be not meditating properly, the bully says. Or you are not brave enough to overcome your loss of dexterity by just forcing your fingers to go about life as normal.... the bully's list goes on and on. Hence my question on meditation, since, per bully, I never achieved perfection in my meditation practice.

    My dilemma is: my task is to fight the bully, but I only know how to do it by bullying myself into perfect execution of a tightly planned schedule of recovery. I am saying this with a lot of irony aimed at myself, but I am stuck in this point and unable to move until I figure it out. Here I am, asking people how much of meditation is not enough. :(
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi TG957,

    You're awareness of the situation is precise! This is very helpful, in my experience. You are seeing the nuances of the Inner Critic's relentless comparative self-rejection, and the continual stance that you don't "measure up," no matter the actual content, be it healing, or other areas of your life. That, essentially is its job. To reject, correct, cajole, punish. It is not your inner wisdom, and you know this.

    Skillful means in dealing with the Inner Critic can have profound effects on TMS.

    I highly recommend the book Soul Without Shame, by Byron Brown, to develop skills to deal with the Inner Critic/superego. Ultimately it is your awareness that will evaporate the painful, compulsive relationship between Inner Child and Inner Critic.

    Here are some lecture notes for a Self-Compassion Training I am doing, locally. This addresses some of the basic qualities you need to muster to disengage from the painful relationship, maintained for decades with the Inner Critic:

    "Stand up for the child who is being attacked. This takes separation from the identification of both the child and the judging adult. This takes some force, or certainty. You are not trying to convince. You are making space for the emotions, feelings, thoughts, that are not considered OK. Invoke your "Wrathful Compassion" which maintains inner boundaries, keeps you from getting lost in old, painful identifications. Allows you to be present in the moment. You use your life force ---which has been invested in the Inner Critic, to say 'Stop!'"

    This takes time, practice, and in my opinion, guidance. This is also my specialty, so if you want personal help, contact me through links below. This is a fantastic journey by the way. Your painful inner relationships are being exposed, which is not easy, but this awareness will lead you to more freedom in your life. And less projection of your Inner Critic on others.

    Andy B

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