The Meditation Continues!

Well folks it has been a week since I began the “Back to My Body” meditation experiment. All in all my week was really good, except for the couple of days I had to take off from work due to sickness. But I used those days to decompress. I spent a good deal of time meditating those days, and I also spent a lot of time learning more about building this here blog!

So yes, I spent a full week meditating once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. I allowed for 10-15 minutes per meditation. When writing the meditation ground rules I said I could either meditate with the “Insight Timer” app on my phone, or I could meditate without any sort of electronic assistance.

I turns out that I maintained the routine as I had planned, very well! I didn’t meditate any more than planned, nor did I meditate any less. I did make a couple changes to the plan midway through the week. The change were that I was going to make sure my morning meditation was a Sitting Meditation. Also, making sure that I meditate on my cushion before going to sleep.

 

In The Morning.

The most interesting thing about the morning meditation is how busy my mind generally was when I did it! My mind has a difficult time focusing in the morning, though I am not sure why. For some reason there is a high amount of mental energy, but limited physical energy. What the morning meditation has helped me do is tame my mental energy and make it easier for my body to catch up!

 

In The Afternoon.

My afternoon meditations seemed tough to do at times. These meditations usually had to be done in my car while waiting to pick up the next work client. But the days I was sick I was able to sit on my cushion in my own house. It felt like I received much greater benefit when meditating on my cushion at home, but that might be because there wasn’t a work routine to deal with. So, less responsibility for my problem-solving mind to latch onto. I am generally busy in the afternoon and I found it will require better planning to make sure I have a solid mediation.

I also found that during my I am much more likely to emotionally revolt from having to put my phone away! That damn phone.. There is something in my brain that cannot get enough of that thing! During my afternoon meditations, it was difficult for my mind to break free from thinking about checking my phone. In the afternoon, that phone is a serious adversary to my having a clear mind.

 

In The Evening.

As I said earlier, I decided I would do a sitting meditation on my cushion in the morning. I also began doing my before bed mediations on the cushion as well. This ensured that I wouldn’t fall asleep, and also allowed me to settle my mind down even better before I went to bed. This helped me to be more present when mentally giving some love for the things I appreciated about my day!

What I learned to make my routine more successful for my ongoing meditation practice.

1. I learned that laying down meditations simply are not as effective than when I lay down and meditate (at least in an unguided meditation). So, making sitting meditations on my cushion a high priority will be important.
2. I learned that I need better planning for my afternoon meditation. Just choosing to meditate in my car whenever the moment feels right doesn’t cut it for me!
3. I learned that I need to give more emphasis on making my phone less reachable when it is time to meditate. That and making more effort to leave the phone alone in much more of my life!
4. I learned there is way too many amazing aspects of meditation to only spend a week documenting for all of you!
5. I learned that it will be important for my continuing meditation routine to keep all of you in the loop on any insights I gain as time goes on.

 

Even though I consider the “Back to My Body” meditation experiment a success, I realize that the routine itself needs some work. That is an important thing about continued growth in life, seeing the ways something could be made better, and then changing! I only expect beautiful results of maintaining the routine, the risk versus reward is drastically in favor of the reward side.

 

I have added a meditation page on My Life Experiment to document all further insights I come to as I continue my routine! Like I said “there are way too many amazing aspects of meditation to only spend a week on it.” At least once a week I will talk about some new aspect of my evolving meditation routine. So please stay connected to My Life Experiment to read about this growing routine as well as other new experiments I will venture into!

Meditation _ To be Continued (2)

Sometime this week I will also be coming up with a new experimental routine to add to my life! Will it be an exercise routine? A money related routine? A healthy eating routine? Only time will tell, so stay tuned! If you have any thoughts on what kind of routine you would like to see me engage in, then leave me a comment. Thank you for stopping in to My Life Experiment! I appreciate you all very much!

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From Fearful to Self-loving.

Well here we are again my people! In the last post I said I would be writing a practical list for how I look at thoughts that seem unacceptable, so that I can get some emotional healing.
I believe that any of us, no matter what kind of life we have lived up to this point, can learn to love and let go of unwanted thoughts and emotions. That way we can give ourselves the love we need to be in the moment. Here is my list of practical tips to help me let go and stay in my love, even when times feel rough.

1. I Remind Myself that my thoughts and emotions are not necessarily reality. – This can be a difficult thing to grasp (especially when emotions are on high alert). It is also a freeing reality once this is grasped. When emotions are running high it can be easy to feel like the busy thoughts that feel like they are out of my control ARE reality. Getting myself to realize that these are just thoughts from hurting emotions can take a lot of the fear away. It seems to me that fear, whether it is fear of a real or imagined event, is simply my bodies way of trying to get me to protect it. This is all well and good when there is an actual threat. But it is not so necessary when there is no immediate danger.

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2. I Simply Tell the Thought I love you. – I find it a little strange how effective it can be to tell my thoughts that I love them. Saying I love you, to anything, can help put me put my guard down. It is no different when I say this to my thoughts, no matter how unsafe the thought seems like it is making me. Saying I love you to the thought helps me see through it, so that I can get some healing for the emotion I am feeling.

3. I Just Breathe and don’t actively think at all- When I am feeling overwhelmed at times, even saying I love you to my thoughts can start a cascade of thinking that I feel I can’t accept. At these times I drop the thinking as much as I can. If I just focus on something real like my breathing, or the surface I’m sitting on, then I may be able to calm myself down. At that point there is most often a surrender to feeling what I need to feel.

4. I Talk to Someone I Trust- I am kind of a take care of my emotions on my own kind of guy. Call me stubborn or call me whatever, but the case still stands. But maybe there is a feeling that meditation just isn’t feeling like it is working for. In this case I can always give a friend a call or a text, or chat with my wife. I can use them to help me calm down. Maybe they can help remind me that I am a good person, or that the danger I am perceiving is not real. They may even be able to help me figure out what I am holding myself back from doing, and help me out of the feeling of craziness.

5. Take a Small Step in Taking Care of an Errand- Getting behind on what I need to take care of is big cause of emotional turmoil. Sometimes the list of errands seems so daunting and I get stuck in feeling like it all needs to be done right now. So, first it helps me to do a small to-do list. Nothing big, just enough to help me get started on doing at least something! Fear is a sign-post telling me what I might need to prepare for. It is a great signal telling me to get my butt in gear. Taking care of something I may have been procrastinating on helps ease this fear.

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These are the habits I have developed to stay grounded in my love so that I can be my best possible self. It helps keep me in my right mind and helps me in touch with my emotions. My hope is that this list can help you find similar results! If, you have any questions about anything that I have mentioned in this blog post please leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond! Also, if you feel that this information could be helpful to someone you know, feel free to pass it along!

Thoughts Need Love to!

Over the last five days I have been making sure I meditate three times per day, and frequently update all of you on any insights I have about the process. Today I will focus on one particular aspect of meditation. I want to chat about the amount that my mind wants to talk to me when I don’t care to hear from it. Even though ACTUALLY hearing what these thoughts have to tell is immensely important.

So, what in the hell is a thought? They are tricky little buggers, that’s for sure! Thoughts can be excruciatingly annoying at times as well, kind of like a fly that keeps landing on my face when I am trying to sleep. I swat at the fly as I wake up momentarily, then it comes right back. I don’t know what they are, but I do know they exist. I know they exist in some form because they never seem to shut up! They are constantly reminding me of their existence, almost as if they are scared they will die if I don’t attend to them. They are way too needy and require far too much of my attention!

I am not saying that I want thoughts to entirely go away. I love thinking. I have Bachelors degrees in Philosophy and Psychology. I love hypothesizing and testing theories. But I also love having a break from my thoughts because after a while my thinking tends to become compulsive. What I mean by compulsive is that they get out of my control and sort of take on a life of their own. Then I am left to wonder how in the hell I can stop thinking this thought. Maybe even getting mad at myself for thinking a certain thought, as if I had much control over what thought arrives next anyway.

In Sitting meditation, I find that these thoughts are put on stage for me. I am not doing anything or going anywhere. I am simply sitting. When in that spot I have made a commitment to sit and there is nowhere to run. Honestly, I think we as a species spend far too much effort running away from what we are thinking. On the same note, we as a species spend far too much effort running away from what we are feeling. The relationship between thoughts and feelings is a highly intimate one!

The more emotionally raw I feel the louder my thinking becomes and the easier it is to lose control over the process of thinking. As I have said in my About Me section, I spent quite a lot of time experimenting with life in dangerous ways. The memories and emotions from my past come up at unexpected times and the thoughts that come with them can become very loud and not so friendly.

Meditating is easy for me when I am feeling good. But it is even more necessary to Meditate when I am feeling in rough shape. That’s when the real rubber meets the road. And those are the times when meditating is most difficult. I have come to realize that those not so friendly thoughts need attention because my emotions need attention. They need healing! The thoughts need to be seen and not judged or acted upon. Then I can feel the sticky emotion and hopefully let go of it.

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I am writing about this subject for today because I believe many of us are way to hard on ourselves for what we are thinking, I know I can be. For my next article I will come up with a practical list for how to look at all these kinds of thoughts to let them go! So, stop back in on Saturday to see what that list looks like!

Sitting Meditation to Slow Down in the Morning!

Good day my fine fellow life experimenters! I hope you are all feeling very well. And if not thankfully feeling out of sorts generally doesn’t last as long as it feels like it going to. I happen to be a little ill today, so I decided to use some sick time to take a day off from work. Its no fun not feeling but hey at least I am getting paid and I get to write up a new post!

The “Back to My Body” routine is still going very well! It is a little more difficult when the head starts to pound and the sinuses are tight, but last night and today I have still kept to the routine as planned. So far, I have enjoyed spending this extra time meditating, I feel it has been great at helping me stay more grounded in the moment. Though I can see that tweaking some things in my routine will be much more helpful.

The last couple of morning meditations, I simply laid in bed to meditate. Although I love the feel of my bed for as long as I can have it in the morning. I am finding that laying in bed for the extra ten minutes to meditate may not be the most effective way to start my day. It is important to get up out of bed to actually get the day started! So, getting up, getting my cushion and sitting down is going to be my mission from here on in. I see that I am trying to find a balance between falling back asleep, like I tend to do when I meditate in bed in the morning, and my usual routine of getting up and moving too quickly. I can be kind of a slow learner, but hey I am catching on!

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It is too easy to go throughout an entire day, not getting a real connection with myself. A lot of times my routine is get out of bed, grab the phone or computer, or head off to work. When I am doing too much running around and too much thinking, I don’t think I am in touch with myself. Generally, I am pretty lost when I do this, left to run around like a chicken who recently had its head detached from its body.

I, truly believe this sitting meditation in the morning will be the perfect thing to help me get some more quality time with Travis. I have found that when I meditate in the morning it is much easier for me to be more MINDFUL of myself and my surroundings as a I go through my day. By that I mean that I pay closer attention to all the little things I do in a positive way. I feel the air on my skin more, and I am probably thinking about the pleasant things about my morning (like being proud of myself for sitting down and meditating), and I am much more likely to be thinking about doing something nice for somebody later. I end up in better spirits in general, for at least a little while!

Well, since I am at home sick without a car today, my goal has been to look at my phone less, meditate on my cushion more and look for more things to appreciate about this new house of ours. I figure these actions will make it more likely that I will be feeling better tomorrow. They have been helpful so far!

Thank you for stopping in! I appreciate that you showed up to watch me grow a little more in my routine today and as a person! If you have any suggestions or insights to share with myself or anyone else that may read them, please leave a comment in the comment section below. Otherwise, I hope you have an amazing day!

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Great Calm and Great Excitement, Day Two of the “Back to My Body” Experiment!

Hello again everybody! You may or may not know but I am working on a week-long meditation experiment called “Back to My Body”! If you would like to touch base with the set-up of the experiment, then go on and do so!

My first day of meditating three times a day was Sunday. It was a pretty amazing day.. Mainly because it was my Sunday off work! I don’t usually do this, even on my days off but I stayed in bed until roughly 11:30 a.m.! It was probably one of the best mornings to early afternoons I have had in quite a while. Even though this is not the norm for me I sure am happy that I used this time for feeling as much relaxation as I could muster!

For my meditations, the first one I laid in bed. For this meditation I was still tired and lazy, so I think I might have went back to sleep during it! The second meditation was around 1:30, I went to the basement, pulled out the meditation cushion that my wife got me for Christmas last year and sat there in quiet for 15 minutes. This was a nice experience, but it did bring some thoughts to mind that I believe are important for discussion.

Before I go into my sitting meditation I have a few suggestions for anybody that does not have much knowledge about the process. When I spent a great deal of my time meditating some months back I listened to many guided meditations on the “Insight Timer” app. Many of the instructors said to keep focused on where the body touches the surface it is on. If sitting, that would likely only be the feet and butt (unless sitting in a chair,) and when laying down it would be a much larger amount of the body touching a surface. Also focusing on taking deep breathes through the nostrils, holding the breath for a couple seconds, then fully exhaling the breath through the mouth was standard guidance. This guidance is meant to help keep an individual grounded in what is ACTUALLY happening in the moment, instead of getting lost in thoughts ABOUT what is happening.

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When I sat down on Sunday even though I went into the meditation in a calm state, regardless of my calm, I still found the session to be a little challenging. I settled into my sitting posture, and my mind began to wander. As I tried to focus on the sensations of my body touching the cushion and the floor, my mind kept trying to think of why my face felt tense and my posture felt crooked. But I did a good job of taking my attention back off these “problems” my thoughts were trying to put my attention on. I quickly went back to non-judgmentally feeling my body and my breathing. Soon I was in a mental state that was relaxed until the end of my session.

The relaxation did not persist all the way through the evening though. The Minnesota Vikings took on the New Orleans Saints in a hell of a playoff football game! I guess I was calm for most of the game since the Vikings were looking great going into the second half, but all throughout the second half I became increasingly nervous. The Saints pulled ahead close to the end of the game! Then the Vikings kicked a field goal with less than two minutes left! And back came the Saints to kick another field goal, leaving the Vikings down two points and a little more than twenty seconds on the clock. At this point my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest! I continued my breathing though and gave my best to detach from the outcome of the game, though my heart had a hard time listening to me, I kept my love for the team I grew up with. Then with something like fourteen seconds left, a miracle play happened and the Vikes were in the end zone with the winning touchdown! I was in a state of almost shock at this point, but after that I went outside and shoveled the snow. At that point I was an extremely happy man processing the game, even though it was freezing outside..

Surprisingly enough I was able to slow down by the end of the night! At bed time I simply did a 10 minute laying down meditation in the bed before going to sleep. This time I did not fall asleep during the meditation. Victory! When I was working on “The Gratitude Intention” I was focusing on the situations throughout the day I was grateful for. But in this experiment the focus is not on anything other than my bodies sensations and my relaxed breathing. I ended the night in a beautifully calm state. it felt like I was sinking into my mattress I was so relaxed! I feel asleep like a baby soon after I was done.

My first day of going “Back to My Body” felt like a great success! I know that not all my days are going to have such great calm and then such immense excitement, but I sure am grateful that this one did! I also know that I will not have this much free time to relax, but I am happy that I used the day very well. If you have joined me on the experiment I hope your first day went as well as mine. But if it didn’t, it is important to know that there are things that can be done to make the next meditation or the next day a better one!

If you have any suggestions or insights on what you have read, please leave them in the comments section! And if you know any individuals that may benefit from following along to this blog please share it on any type of social media you follow. I appreciate your support and I love you all! Thank you for stopping in to “My Life Experiment” I hope you all have an amazing day

“Going Back to my Body” Experiment!

The other day, a friend of mine asked me if I knew of a good place to get information on meditation. I recommended a meditation app to him called “Insight Timer,” though I didn’t go into any more details about what I know about it. I guess I did say meditation is a great thing to get into with a lot of benefits, but that was about it. Having a meditation routine had been an important part of my daily routine for about one year, but unfortunately I misplaced over the last several months. I am happy that my friend brought this topic up because that gives me a new experiment to challenge myself with!

To me, meditation is about breathing, slowing down my thoughts, and relaxing so that I can learn to feel what my body is telling me. It can be  pretty difficult for me to turn off the go, go, go mentality that I get stuck in pretty often. My brain is notorious for reaching out for something to keep itself busy. Whether it’s constantly checking Facebook, my stock app, Netflix etc…

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More often than I care to admit I find myself sitting on the couch attempting to relax, I pull out the phone and mindlessly scroll down my Facebook newsfeed. A half hour later I find that I am pissed off and I am not really sure why. Well I have a feeling that the mass quantity of information I just took in from all the memes, status updates, and political commentary just put me into a state of mental and emotional overload! Now the time I just set aside to relax was pretty much wasted. My stress hormones are flowing, I am still tense, and I haven’t even gotten off the couch..

My brain needs time to relax and the best way I can let it is to completely disconnect it from all the available distractions. This means me disconnecting from all the electronics and the people. No I am not saying the only way I can have true happiness is to run off to a cottage in the wilderness away from all the worlds gadgets, people, and problems. I will still be there so the problem still exists. It exists because even if I disconnect from all the electronics and people, I still have the thoughts in my own head to deal with.

When I say disconnect, I don’t mean anything like running away or escaping, and I have nothing against electronics or people. I simply mean finding some time within the day or night to just sit. Not sit and think but just sit. So that is exactly what I am setting out to do because tomorrow I begin the “Going Back to my Body” meditation experiment! I can already tell that this going to be a difficult one, since I can be so easily distracted. But thankfully I will be sharing my experiences with all of you, so I have the extra motivation to stick with it!

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Here are the guidelines for the experiment:

  1. I will either use my “Insight timer” app, or use no app but be in silence.
  2. I will either lay down or sit down. Sitting in the car is acceptable.
  3. I will Meditate for ten minutes three times a day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening.
  4. Meditation time will not be for quietly contemplating the day, but to focus on feeling my bodily sensations.
  5. Any time thinking begins, I will ignore it and put focus back on my body.

If you feel like following along with the experiment that would be awesome. If not and you are just interested in seeing what I learn from closely monitoring myself in this process then that is awesome as well! Over the next week I will update you on any cool things or difficulties I come across. This will likely be every other day. I am excited about waking up and writing my gratitude list (which I still do after the last experiment) and taking the time to “Go Back to my Body”! Stay tuned and we will learn something together, Take care!