Stoicism: Stoic meditation consists in rehearsing the challenges of the day ahead (Daily Review), thinking about which of the four cardinal Virtue-s (courage, equanimity, self-control and wisdom) one may be called on to employ and how.
- characterized by Irvine as “negative visualization”: imaging the worst–for example, contemplating the loss of one’s friends, loved ones, and dearest possessions–in order to foster a greater appreciation for what one already has. Irvine notes that the Stoics observed how people naturally tend to take for granted what they already have, and have a strong tendency to continually seek new possessions or other sources of happiness. He calls this “hedonic adapation” and discusses the value of negative visualization as an antidote to it.
BinauralBeats audio tracks - isochronic and binaural - for entrainment
- isochronic don't require headphones, and are more effective and faster, but don't work under 4Hz (DeltaWave)
- 20 panting breaths (focus on forceful breathing out)
- 20 Yogic breaths (slow/calm - see below)
- repeat cycle
- Simple Zen - at least ten minutes: Sit in a position with your spine vertical and straight (a chair will do nicely). Allow your breathing to become relaxed and natural. Let it set its own rhythm and depth, however it is comfortable. Focus your attention on your breathing, on the movements of your chest and abdomen rather than on your nose and mouth. Keep your attention focused on your breathing. For some people an additional level of concentration may be helpful. You might add a simple counting rhythm, spoken in your head as you breathe: "One" on the inhale, "Two" on the ex- hale, and repeat. Or you might visualize your breath as a swinging door, swinging in on the inhale and out on the exhale.
- Chasing the Tail - at least ten minutes: Chasing the Tail is a simple meditation of self- observation. Sit quietly and pay attention to where your thoughts arise. When you think something - anything - the thoughts appear to come from a particular location in space, usually somewhere in your head or somewhere in your body, although occasionally a thought may seem to arise outside the physical body. Just note where the thought arises and let all other thoughts fall from your mind. As each new thought arises, just note where it comes from. If you have thoughts about the practice itself, note where they come from. If you have thoughts about noting where a thought came from, note where that thought came from. Got it? Like a cat chasing its own tail, you turn your consciousness back on itself.
- The Betty Erickson Self-Hypnosis Method - at least five minutes: Sitting comfortably, with eyes open or closed, list (to yourself) three things that you can see, then three things you can hear, then three things you can feel. (For example, "I see the color of the wall, I see the person opposite me, I see the color of her hair, I hear the sounds outside the room, I hear people moving about, I hear my own breathing, I feel the cushion underneath me, I feel the air on my skin, I feel my hands on my lap..."). Then narrow it down to a list of two things in each sensory mode, then one thing in each mode. Tell yourself, "As I count from ten down to one, I can go into a deep, comfortable trance." Then count breaths backwards from ten to one and enjoy the trance that you are drifting into. This works most powerfully when the verbal listing within your head is timed in a rhythm with your breathing.
- Yogic Breath - at least ten minutes: Your lungs have three main areas: the bottom, which is controlled by movements of the diaphragm and is visible as a rising and falling of the abdomen ("abdominal breathing"); the middle, controlled by expansion and contraction of the rib cage; and the top, controlled by rising and falling of the shoulder blades. Each of these different kinds of breathing are associated with different states of consciousness. For purposes of the Yogic Breath, however, the key is simply to fill and empty all three of the areas of the lungs. Fill and empty your lungs completely but smoothly, without halting or straining. This is not hyperventilation - it is proper and full breathing, at a relaxed pace.
- Pranayama - Square Breathing - at least ten minutes: Once you are comfortable with the Yogic Breath, you can begin to slow it down a bit. Figure out your usual time for an exhalation or inhalation, then add one second to it. Let's say that you normally exhale a Yogic Breath for four seconds - you can now begin to practice pranayama by inhaling for five seconds, holding your breath in for five seconds, then exhaling for five seconds and holding your breath out for five seconds. Five in, five hold, five out, five hold - and repeat.
- Pranayama - Circular Breathing - at least ten minutes: Take full, even, Yogic Breaths and entirely eliminate the pauses at the top and bottom of the breath so that your breathing cycle becomes a seamless and constant ebb and flow.
Philip Rosedale counts to 10,000. I wanted something that would integrate the meditative experience into my waking life – something that be likely to mix bursts of meditation into everything I was doing.
Buster Benson prefers Free Writing. In any case, one of the primary benefits of meditation (for me) has been that it has pushed me along this long learning curve about the voices, people, models, simulations in my head — the ability to hear, and observe, the inner debate that’s always going on in my head, and to recognize the difference between “me” and all the noise.... Imagine a fountain of thoughts bubbling up from your subconscious. Your conscious brain receives these bubbling thoughts during meditation, and we often get caught up in one and float away in a thought bubble. Eventually it pops, and we’re back, but it’s a lot of work. With free writing, we have a convenient method to step back from the fountain and observe the bubbles and let them float away on their own… because we are too busy recording them. The separation between thought and self becomes easier to discern and maintain, the same way that carrying a camera around a party creates a separation between party and party recorder.
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