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My Meditation Program Is Making Me Insane.

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Ema, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I got a random email offering a special bundled price for the Wild Divine biofeedback computer package. I'd looked at this a few times over the past few years and decided it was a sign that it was time.

    I'd just the day before been thinking that I needed to learn to try to have better control over my breathing and nervous system responses.

    So I bought it.

    And since then, it's been nothing but problems.

    The finger sensors wouldn't work at first...turns out that Mac has an "App Nap" which turns off low powered devices every 60 seconds or so. So that box had to be unchecked in the options...of course no mention of this certainly common problem in the setup instructions.

    I "played" the first game...and it is boring as all meditation is for me. One of the objectives was to steady your internal breathing to allow some rocks to stack on top of one another. I sat there and steadied my breathing for what felt like hours and NOTHING. So I started reading my email on my phone (with the finger sensors still attached) and darn it if those rocks didn't all start stacking up. Are you kidding me??

    What does that mean? Reading my email steadies my nervous system? Hardly.

    The graphics look very basic. I know that's not the point...the point is the meditation exercises. But as someone who has worked extensively with architectural 3D renderings, I know exactly what is possible...and this is elementary school work with a PhD price tag.

    So this morning, I loaded up their newest offering which is a "true" 3D game supposedly with no preset paths. I can't make this work AT ALL. I can't even get to the first step after screwing around with it for almost 2 hours.

    I've sent them several emails already and not gotten much help from their technical support people. The directions (or lack thereof) are a real problem.

    I need to know what I'm supposed to be doing or what is supposed to be happening...or maybe that is what I'm supposed to be learning? That I should be going with the flow? But it all feels so pointless that way! I need a goal...and objectives! At least markers to know I'm heading in the right direction...

    I don't know. Maybe there is an existential lesson here after all. I was just not prepared to fail at my meditation program.

    Now I need to go look for a Primal Scream lesson...
  2. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    I never liked the idea of those things anyway. Simple is better when it comes to meditation.

    What kinds of meditation have you tried in the past?
    How long did you try them for?
    What was your experience?
    justy likes this.
  3. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    Also, I really think getting into meditation with the idea of it being a goal-oriented activity is setting yourself up for a fall. Lower your expectations. Zen Master Suzuki Roshi writes that 'Enlightenment is to be without anxiety about imperfection'. Sometimes your meditations will be really shallow and feel extremely unproductive, however there is no such thing as a bad meditation. Correction: the only bad meditation is the one you didn't do!

    I have a huge amount of materials that can aid you if you're thinking about meditation. Particularly a talk by a guy called Vinny Ferraro which can help you see past the judgments and restrictions you are putting on yourself. I also know a number of really good guided meditations, depending on what type of meditation it is you're interested in. I am a Buddhist so all the materials I provide will generally be of that persuasion. If mindfulness isn't for you there are other Buddhist meditations you might like. I only have a vague knowledge of things outside of Buddhism.
    Ema and Misfit Toy like this.
  4. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    @Ema

    This doesn't sound like a good program to me. I find that the audio programs (earphones) that feed you subtle sounds that help your brain waves morph from alpha to delta, work quite well. I've got Holosync, though I hate the advertising that follows a purchase. They used to send you a free demo. https://www.centerpointe.com/

    Sushi
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  5. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I reckon you're just far more relaxed when you're more focussed on external stuff than internal.

    I can't do mediatation to save myself. It just drives me nuts with boredom.

    I need to be fully occupied in order to get away from my "inner turmoils"; I don't like being stuck on my own with them.

    That means even if I'm doing a physical task, I still need the mental stimulation of something to think about while I'm doing it, and some decent music on in the background to occupy the remaining bits of my brain.

    Possibly the nearest thing I get to "meditation" is being at a live concert - if it's live, I can really get carried completely away by it.

    or have I got the wrong end of the stick about what it's supposed to be?
    Ema and Misfit Toy like this.
  6. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    I can't stand meditation. I think the breathing aspect is great, but nothing about it other than that I like. I really like yoga meditation however. I was going to yoga and it was called relaxation yoga with meditation and breathing. That helped me a lot. It's just so far from me. All yoga places around me burn incense and insist on it and I cannot handle incense to save my life.
    peggy-sue likes this.
  7. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member

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    Wild Divine biofeedback seems an interesting game but for meditation the only thing you need is yourself :>
    leela, madietodd, justy and 1 other person like this.
  8. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I'd have given up on yoga too, if they'd had stinky stuff going on.:p
    Thankfully, they didn't.

    I had terrible trouble with the breathing exercises - especially the "alternate nostril" one - it made me all sweaty and feel really awful and peculiar. (and concerned about producing my own stink! :nervous:)

    But I breathe very slowly anyway - about 6-7 times a minute only.
    I'm sure it's something to do with all the swimming training I did as a child.
  9. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    Is there a gender difference in how easy folk find it to meditate?

    Women are supposed to be better at multitasking than men, men tend to focus more on one thing at a time, apparently.
    (I consider gender to be a continuum, and everybody is an indivuidual, so I'm using common "generalities".)

    Meditation appears to require the ability to focus on just one thing at a time.

    So I can "concentrate" on my breath going in or out, but my brain is still madly bored, wanting to do something else, so it starts on working out how many bald heads I can see in front of me, or I start counting the colours of socks folk are wearing, or coming up with "smart" replies to the things the teacher is saying...
  10. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    Nope, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure meditation is like that for everyone. It really isn't about staying with the breath at all, it's much more about returning to it. Thoughts happen. That's just the way of it. The Buddha himself will have had thoughts whilst meditating. As I said above, enlightenment is to be without anxiety about imperfection.

    Mediation (at least mindfulness) is to simply sit down and say "how am I doing right now?" and then to offer anything that arises your compassion, love and understanding. It is these traits your are cultivating, not the ability to quiet the mind. Those states of focus and peace do arise, and they arise more the more often you practice, but they are not the point of practicing.
    Misfit Toy likes this.
  11. Cheesus

    Cheesus Senior Member

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    I should point out, though, that you will have a much easier time if you keep your eyes closed. Particularly at the beginning.
  12. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    I have an app on my phone which is Tibetan Bowls. I'm surprised sometimes when I use it at how fast I'm breathing and how tense I am.
  13. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    I just found this on YouTube. There are more for those who are interested

    Dreambirdie likes this.
  14. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    That was kind of the whole point of it...as a bridge between "all you need is yourself" meditation and a "game".

    But the game part is falling down for me.

    I have looked at countless meditation audio programs and listened to tons of Buddhist lectures. I liked a podcast called Zencast with a guy named Gil Fronsdal in particular. But none of them particularly helped me.

    I thought if I could have a visual representation of my breathing becoming deeper and my sympathetic nervous system getting out of overdrive, it might help. But the positive feedback from the program that I had expected just isn't there, or at least I haven't found it yet.

    I know it defeats the purpose to be goal oriented and objective motivated...but that is how I am, so that is where I have to start. I have to find a place where meditation and I can engage if it is going to work for me, where it feels useful and meaningful to me. So that is why I tried this program. I really thought it might bridge the gap between where I am and where I'd like to be (HPA axis super reactive to everything).
  15. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    This does look interesting and I'm going to check it out.

    But I really wanted to learn how to do it myself, hence the biofeedback, on command when I feel out of control or stressed, rather than rely on an audio program to change my brain waves. Does that make sense?
    peggy-sue likes this.
  16. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Makes sense, but from a "many years at meditation" person, it is hard! At some point, some switch in your brain activates and from then on it is easy and rewarding, but until then, most find that it is very hard not to get up and start "doing something."

    Sushi
  17. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    I'd try to cancel the purchase. You told them right away it wasn't working, and it's still not working, and it's garbage.

    My bridge into deep meditation practice was chanting. I'm very sensitive to music, so I tried chanting CDs by Tibetan monks and Krishna Das. Certain kinds of guitar playing worked also. I still use these when I'm too restless to just sit with myself.

    I also used HemiSync for many years. My favorite was Journey Home.

    So that's what I'd look for, for yourself. One of my daughters 'goes there' when she draws. Is there anything that moves you into deep relaxation coupled with one-pointed concentration? That's the ticket.
  18. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member

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    Buddhists (who are said to be meditation experts) distinguish two types of meditation. Samatha - focusing on a single object (breath, mantra, sound, visual object), and Vipassana - acceptance, mindfullness. They consider Vipassana to be the superior method.

    So if you're angry or in any other kind of pain, and if you practice Samatha - you will simply move your thought to another object to relax your mind. You can do the same while listening to nice music but this has nothing to do with meditation as music changes. Using any external device or audio program has nothing to do with meditation either.

    On the other side If you are in anger or in pain and you practice Vipassana, you will not move your thought away, but will experience the entire anger/pain, the worst of it. The anger becomes the object of meditation. Or whatever comes next. In that sense, Vipassana is not always the most pleasant experience. I personally go through my worst nightmares while practicing, but feel very "stable" after that.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  19. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    @Ema ' I thought if I could have a visual representation of my breathing becoming deeper and my sympathetic nervous system getting out of overdrive, it might help.'

    That's what i'm looking for too. I wonder if there's a better program than wild divine? (And cheaper).
    Though i have trouble relaxing in front of a flickering screen anyway.

    You would probably feel more centred if you took those stacked rocks and threw them at the computer.

    Actually, i got angry at my PC last year and threw it off my veranda into a tree. Really dumb..And it cost me $500. I don't think Buddha would have done that.
    peggy-sue likes this.
  20. Martial

    Martial Senior Member

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    Meditation is not something that is achieved like a goal or doing something to "get somewhere", it is just resting in pure being and allowing life in the moment exactly as it is.

    Adyashanti has a book called Way of Liberation, check out the part on True Meditation, this will give you a better starting point into resting in pure meditation if that is what you want to do :)


    http://www.adyashanti.org/library/The_Way_of_Liberation_Ebook.pdf


    p.s. I would recommend reading the rest of the e book as well, not very long and can have very potent changes happen within you so long as you give it your whole heart.
    svetoslav80 likes this.

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