I was recently quite surprised to learn that yoga means 'Union with God' in Sanskrit.
How long have you been practicing? Have you already experienced mental, physical or spiritual benefits?
I was recently quite surprised to learn that yoga means 'Union with God' in Sanskrit.
I didn't know that. I tend to be less interested in yoga classes that emphasize the spiritual aspects -- I'm not Hindu.
Yep, I was thinking the same, done!
There's more to reply to here than I can reply to right now, but for now, I'll ask you something that I've been meaning to ask you for a while. Why did you select the Christian Orthodox Church, rather than the Catholic Church, or a Protestant denomination?Admin wrote: ↑6 months agoYep, I was thinking the same, done!
Well I have been practicing Orthodox Christian meditation for about 3 months now and the benefits have been tremendous, on a spiritual level, unsurprisingly, but it also produced mental and physical changes.
I used to believe that there was no way you couldn't not get hurt by a provocation or verbal abuse, especially for someone as sensitive as me. Boy was I wrong. The more progress I make in my practice of meditation, the more I'm allowed to notice that someone is trying to get a rise of me let's say, but it's like I'm watching it happening from the outside, without it affecting me directly, and making my emotions go haywire like it used to do.
I've felt many tensions in my body release, tensions I wasn't even aware of. In the face, around the core (chest, back, belly). And then there were the spiritual benefits, which I hesitate to describe in details because I guess everyone will be like . I've felt a heavy weight lifting off my heart, that was always there somehow, travel to my chest, then throat (I felt like I was choking, my therapist thought it was what deep anxiety can do), then my face to finally rest in my nose area. Now I'm walking around with pressure on my nose .
It's quite common actually:
I guess what's missing from all this practice is what yoga has to offer. I just do my best to release the tension during the session and I'm having deep tissue massages from time to time to heal the tensions, the knots I wouldn't be able to relax with my normal practice.
I've also had nice seemingly self-regulating physical changes, mainly regarding my weight, which has gone down without doing anything about it consciously, I guess I need to eat less and less often somehow. The decreased face puffiness is a nice bonus. I'm still weightlifting but due to a lot of stress in my professional life, I could only go once a week lately. I'm still at the plateau I hit after about 1.5 year of weightlifting but yet another benefit of meditation is that I have now more endurance.
So yeah, I cannot recommend practicing meditation, relaxation or yoga enough. It makes navigating our modern life much easier. At the core, it's really about learning to enjoy doing jack shit, realizing that there are moments for that and there is nothing wrong with it, quite the contrary, it's needed. Reverse your attention towards the fact that you are experiencing this moment right now and try to stay there (basic, you've heard this before, you just need to do it!). Let your ego, your mind throw everything at you ("it's boring! you need to do things! let's think about the past, the future!" until he gets tired and you slowly learn to detach from it.
Well it's quite simple, I haven't chosen Orthodox Christianity, it's just that it's objectively the purest form of Christianity. Orthodoxy salvaged the mystical aspects of our religion which have been lost in the West after the Schism of 1054. Western Christianity quickly became a game of logic, reason and science, which has brought us the technological and sociological miracles of the West. Don't get me wrong, one should not spit on them, but we can see what we have lost in this process: the mystical teachings of Christ which allow us to go through deep personal transformation. What would make us able to generate meaning in our lives. Hence the deep meaning crisis that the the West is going through.Afro_Vacancy wrote: ↑6 months agoThere's more to reply to here than I can reply to right now, but for now, I'll ask you something that I've been meaning to ask you for a while. Why did you select the Christian Orthodox Church, rather than the Catholic Church, or a Protestant denomination?
I suspect that meditation is the healthiest thing that I know about and that I'm not doing. That, and possibly spending time in saunas. It's something that I should add ... I think that my overuse of screens has fried my dopamine receptors in recent years, to overuse some pop psychology that may or may not actually be scientific. As an example, I don't read as much as I used to, and I'm even noticing a decline in my writing skills. I've taken to leaving my cell phone at home during the work day, but I think that adding a meditation practice to my life would yield synergistic effects.
I practiced yoga for 4 years when I was a teenager but I quit when I fell into my hair loss depression years. I recently started back up doing some pregnant yoga which feels nice. I'm trying to make the breathing right but unfortunately I've become more impatient over the years and it's hard for me to find that 'calm' that I used to before.
You should study the Hindi culture. I think you would like it, and maybe learn how to speak
Moving my new topic in here really fucked with my chakrasAdmin wrote: ↑1 month ago
Meditation definitely feels weird at first, it either takes a while or an aha! moment to get it, and your ego (yeah it's not just a pop psychology term :p) will try to pull you out of it because it will get scared shitless that you're taking steps to try to escape from its control, from what it's telling you about yourself and reality, which if you stick with it should make you realize is mostly an illusion.
For me it started with listening to the guided meditations by Brother Dominick (don't worry, he leaves the Christiancelling out for the majority of his videos :p):
At the beginning, I thought it wasn't especially new, I had read "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle in 2014 and it all flew right over my head. I didn't get it. I tried to meditate again at work back in 2016 but again, all I got was the "nice feeling", the relaxation which would allow me to be more performant, which was already quite nice, but not enough for me to stick with it or to get what meditation was about.
Then one afternoon last summer, I was lying on my bed listening to the guided meditation below:
And... I started having this extremely uncomfortable feeling, this deep anxiety rose up all of a sudden, nearly choking me. Thank God I had learned I had to stay with it, observe it without judging it, and also refrain from running away from it. This is key. It took a long time, possibly more than an hour, but when it passed, I felt this profound feeling of resolution, as if a big weight had been lifted off... no not my shoulders, rather my heart.
I had several similar experiences later, one that I described in a post above. And the highest point happened out of the blue when I was at work, I had to get up from my desk and isolate, then all of a sudden, I felt like an explosion of joy in my heart, I have no better way to describe it. The aftereffects remained with me for a while after that, and I could still feel this deep peace as I was going on job interviews and preparing my wedding.
After that it tapered out, and I stopped making quantum leaps in my practice. Anyway, there's a trap I fell into, and meditation teachers will tell you over and over again that it is common and easy to fall in it: you start chasing those mystical/religious experiences after getting them, which will inevitably hinder your progress, perhaps even lead you to a worse position that you were in before you even started any spiritual practice.
Brother Dominick calls it "developing a spiritual ego". You think you have it figured out, while you're supposed to let go of the jugement of your own experience. One shouldn't be chasing highs, meditation is about letting go of things, not acquiring things, so when you get that idea, you can be sure that it's your ego pulling your strings.
I only started making progress again very recently by focusing on the 'love' (God this word has been ruined in our culture) aspect of meditation. Brother Dominick, like all meditation teachers, goes over this, but unfortunately that part of his teachings didn't get through, and I underestimated how deficient I was in this, how incapable I was of giving love to myself, or rather self-compassion if that sounds too narcissistic. So I'm working on that now, the best guided meditations I've found for me in that regard are the ones of Lisa A. Romano:
Some of it may sound like some "The Secret" BS at first but it really isn't. Anyway, definitely stick with it and don't hesitate to try different approaches, different guided meditations with different teachers to find out what works for you. It's definitely worth it .
It also reminded me of a quote that Bishop Barron recently posted on social media:King James Bible wrote:Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3
Another advice I would give you is to take your time and go at your own pace, slowly, because even though it sounds counterintuitive, you can burn yourself out trying to make progress too fast with meditation. Every time I made progress, I was feeling exhausted for days, even weeks after. After I experienced the inner resolution, there was this knowing that I had healed but also that the healing took a lot of energy.Bishop Barron wrote:Children haven’t yet learned how to look at themselves. Why can a child immerse himself so eagerly and thoroughly in what he is doing? Because he can lose himself; because he is not looking at himself, conscious of the reactions, expectations, and approval of those around him.
The problem is that, from a very early age, we learn not to be ourselves, and this is a function of the sinful human construct of the ego. We convince ourselves that joy will come only when we become like someone else, only when we receive the applause of the crowd, only when we live up to the expectations of our group, family, or society.
You almost answered all my questions, just that you posted another Dominick video and it also appears to be talking throughout, do you ever use videos with pauses in the monologue or with just sounds/soft music? Because I'd imagine that's ultimately the ideal point to get to.Admin wrote: ↑1 month agoOK, tell me if I overlook some questions you asked me in that huge post :p.
For Brother Dominick, it depends on the video, yes the guided meditation for healing trauma sounds quite apocalyptic, but I guess he chose the soundtrack quite well since it worked very fast on me. Some of his meditations are better suited for relaxation and awakening this sense of awe about reality, like this one:
I really like that he has a very small number of videos, at least compared to most YouTubers who will poop out tons of content that doesn't have much variation in it. It shows how much he's practicing what he preaches since meditation is supposed to be about simplicity.
My wife has gotten used to me meditating since I started doing it in the summer of 2019. She doesn't find it weird, and she often asks if I'm meditating when she comes to bed. She doesn't practice at all herself and she has no interest in it, because contrary to me, she was born perfect and in a perfect family . Seriously though, if you think meditating together is weird, consider the fact that my wife and I have been tiptoeing around praying together for about a year now. We want to do it but... I guess I don't have to explain :p. I'm slowly getting over the awkwardness when I pray before dinner for example, but I can tell my wife is still like *cringe*.
Something you can pick up quite quickly in Brother Dominick's teachings is that meditation can be done anywhere, at all times, even while talking to people, working, driving, anything you're doing, he calls it active meditation, as opposed to the passive meditation that people think about when they hear the word 'meditation'. Active and passive practices feed into one another and at a point, it should become a second nature, you'll automatically remember to recenter your focus on your awareness after you've been lost in thoughts. The hardest moments to apply those teachings are the ones you described, but those moments (like the guys getting on your nerves in the steam room) are a great opportunity to deconstruct the inner mental patterns which lead you to anger.
Your last paragraphs have some great insights. Everyone practicing meditation has their own pace but there stages we go through are all more or less the same. And if you manage to get to the last stage before one experiences enlightenment (of course that word will look suspicious to us Westerners), you'll experience intense fear, the ego is going to tell you something like "if you let go of me now, you die". I've gotten there before a few times and I haven't been able to go past it. Enlightenment is not a permanent state, people who have experienced it describe it as "being one with the reality/the universe" if they're atheists or Buddhists or being one with God if they are believers. I also had this feeling of intense despair for one night, like God had just disappeared, it's common too, it's called "The Dark Night of the Soul", and some people get stuck there for years.
All this to say that a point, making progress is much harder than it looks, and that makes sense, if it was so easy, we'd all be enlightened. None of that needs to be feared though, since the deep fear is an illusion concocted by the ego and even the The Dark Night is not bad in itself. It's just that you get acquainted with this "dead" aspect of reality which I guess is what people refer to when people say that meditation make them feel that it's all pointless and each moment isn't different from the next. Yes, there is this continuity aspect, like a mountain that isn't moved by the cataclysms around it, but it's also true that reality is ever-changing. The key is to learn to appreciate both at the same time in the present moment, to unite those opposites. Easy to say in theory but of course it will take a lot practice, or rather... unpractice since meditation is about unlearning, letting go, detaching from the chatter that your ego uses to control your mind, your reality, your choices, your emotions and your behavior.
To end on a more positive note, I loved your comparison of meditating with the experience of a newborn baby, you actually don't have to go that low, it's about becoming, thinking like a child, which means not thinking much at all. I know the image of the ungrateful brat will pop into your mind :p, but you really have to imagine a child playing, lost in the moment, no thought about anyone judging him, just being, basking in pure joy. It's no wonder that Christ tells us:
It also reminded me of a quote that Bishop Barron recently posted on social media:
Another advice I would give you is to take your time and go at your own pace, slowly, because even though it sounds counterintuitive, you can burn yourself out trying to make progress too fast with meditation. Every time I made progress, I was feeling exhausted for days, even weeks after. After I experienced the inner resolution, there was this knowing that I had healed but also that the healing took a lot of energy.
Also, you'll sometimes be taken aback by what meditation will bring up to the surface. For me recently, it was a shock to learn that I had been living with the thought "I don't have the right to exist" for so long, with all the unconscious irrational defense mechanisms that go with it. When you think "I don't have the right to exist", you don't think your existence is valuable, you will not be kind to yourself, even when it comes to the practice of meditation.
So it was no surprise that I injured myself a few times after I started weightlifting for example, I go too fast, too hard, not respecting my own limits and not setting healthy boundaries for myself. I have spaced out my meditation sessions and I'm learning to self-soothe, it's starting to get better but the latest transformations took quite the toll on me mentally. So, don't forget to be kind to yourself and to take it slow.
I either put a guided meditation video or I meditate without anything. I've never tried it with ambient music, "alpha waves" or whatever they call it on those YouTube videos. Maybe it would be a good idea for me to try them out. I prefer the guided meditations before it gives me something to focus on, the music in the background definitely helps me too.Rudiger wrote: ↑1 month agoYou almost answered all my questions, just that you posted another Dominick video and it also appears to be talking throughout, do you ever use videos with pauses in the monologue or with just sounds/soft music? Because I'd imagine that's ultimately the ideal point to get to.
I was a bit confused with what you said about "I don't have to explain :p" well I guess you do, because I'm not following. She's just not that religious? And my relationship is only a few months in, and as scarily comfortable we are with each other and how fast things are moving, I kinda like that we don't feel so comfortable we can meditate with each other, in a weird way. I guess the fact we even tried it so early on (when neither of us are totally in to it and open about it to others generally) is already representative of how open we are at this early stage.
But yeah with you I also didn't really understand this "Seriously though, if you think meditating together is weird, consider the fact that my wife have been tiptoeing around praying together for about a year now." Is praying together weirder than meditation? Because I wouldn't have thought so, if that's what you mean.
I'm not even sure how meditating with 2 people is supposed to work, just tried doing it as you normally would alone.
Yes a little bit, actually