How do I know I'm meditating?

Discussion in 'Religion, Beliefs and Spirituality' started by AJRelic, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. Hello! I'm a 23 year old college student brought here by a google query of "spirituality and philosophy". The fact that you guys also happen to be marijuana enthusiasts is a VERY welcoming bonus. :smoke:

    As the topic suggests I'm interested in knowing when one has achieved a meditative state. Or. a better question maybe, is it possible for a person to be in a continuous meditative state, always? Let me explain why I'm having some trouble answering these questions. I had a somewhat cruddy childhood and while I was young one of the ways I dealt with anxiety was to "detach" myself from the situation. I would often focus on a distant object (or none at all) and just sort of "zone out". This became a common practice until the point where it dominated most of my thought (or lack of it).

    Recently I came across the concept of meditation. I love things like vivid dreaming and mind alteration (substance or not), so the idea of controlling one's state of mind was intriguing. I did some research and came to realize what a "normal mind" might be like but the idea of "constant chatter" is alien to me. Every time I try to imagine what that means I always think of some schizophrenic movie where a man goes crazy from an unending stream of voices. Obviously that isn't the case but is it typical for a person to not be able to control their thoughts? If something unpleasant comes to mind is it hard to discard it? Is there anyone else that shares this same sort of..."thoughtlesssness", so to speak.
  2. The word emptiness is what I think of.. my mind is clear and my senses just "absorb" (other than eyes.) It's not necessarily like taking drugs because it's more about mind power and learning to relax the mind basically to an autopilot.

    I too meditate because of anxiety and I've found it's the only thing that helps me! It calms my mind a lot and also teaches you some things about your own mind.
  3. I think detachment is not meditating. It is similar definitely at first, but the purpose of meditation is to connect to all things, to raise the awareness of things, not detach from them.

    I heard once that meditation is the practice of being fluid. Allowing thoughts to come and pass. They come, you sense them, you are aware of them, and allow them to pass as easily as they came; the more you fight, the more your time becomes about that one thing, instead of all things.
  4. I didn't mean to imply that I fought those thoughts in anyway. It doesn't seem like detachment to me, how could I tell the difference? I understand my emotions and why I feel them, if that's what you mean. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe people who have a tendency to detach themselves from situations end up developing problems coping with stress. I don't believe I have those problems...but then again I could be so far gone in psychosis or some other ongoing mental illness that I'm only lying myself :D.
  5. Reflecting off the previous do you know you're not just detaching yourself?
  6. Lol, I seriously doubt that you are in a state of psychosis, but then again, we probably all are.

    Well, I have read some of your other posts, and you seem to be pretty solid. So I guess, just keep on keepin' on man. If you meditate purposefully, I'm sure you will know. Meditation is for the individual, so no one has the answer. :)
  7. If you are asking this question then you are doing it wrong.

    Just try to connect with everything, that's as best as I can put it into words. When you can only be your mind, then you are doing it right.
  8. Depends what context you're looking at it from. In the mystic sense, true meditation occurs at the level when you can unify with something on the level of consciousness, and then this is done with God and enlightenment is achieved.

    There are many lesser meditative states, called stases in Theurgy. The first one is called apatheia, and it is when you withdraw into yourself to some degree so that you detach from the outside world to a degree that you don't even notice that it's there, well it's not that you don't notice it, it is just very easy to ignore and block out. Then this progresses into completely withdrawing into the brain and spinal chord, and the skin will be cool to the touch as the blood moves to the core organs. This is called Epistrophe and is in between the Pratyahara and Dharana of Yogis. It is not uncommon in this state to hear yourself snoring, yet you are fully aware and conscious in your head. It is because the body falls asleep while the mind is awake, and one will generally have trouble moving his extremities until he decides to "return".

    Those are the most common ones, Apatheia is required to actually begin meditating, though one will undoubtedly experience various altered states before it is obtained with the proper techniques.
  9. #9 LittleJacob, Nov 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2011

    Yes this is where I was going to go with it.

    There are various methods and one could say "definitions" of meditation and meditative states. Ancient meditative traditions are very old and encompass thousands of practices, many with different purposes and effects on the mind/consciousness.

    There are the basic absorption/one-pointed focusing methods called shamatha. That is basically keeping your attention one-pointed focus on one object of awareness at the exclusion of everything else. When you find yourself getting distracted by thoughts or sensations, you return your attention to the object. Soon you find that the external world seems to fall away, and you can enter very deep states of concentration, feelings of unity, oneness etc. But these are fabricated meditative states. Sounds similar to watch Tris is talking about with 'apatheia'.

    There is another popular Buddhist form of meditation called Vipassana, with an organization that hosts free 10-day retreats year-round all over the world. That is usually the other "half" of beginner meditation in many Buddhist traditions. Together, shamatha and vipassana are known as tranquality (shamatha) and insight meditation. Tranquility methods are the focusing methods that settle the mind and make it clear, and then one can switch to insight meditation to just simply observe everything happening in the body and mind without trying to run from it or change it in any way. Together one comes to an understanding of the mind

    There are open-eyed meditations, closed-eye meditations, object-focused meditations, non-object focused meditations, heck there is even "nonmeditation" in the higher traditions :p

    There really are a ton of forms. Each of them have unique benefits. However I think many teachers would say that a generally "spaced out" mind set is not meditation - they might call that dullness or distraction. I think the ideal meditative state, for real life, would be alert but completely relaxed, attention focused in the present, with compassion/good-will in your heart.

    There is actually a great book on meditation called "Cannabis and Meditation: An Explorers Guide" which is actually written by one of our very own highly respected users of this site, 'MelT". It is a great book, well worth the cost if you can afford to pick it up. It goes over everything from enjoying the most out of your cannabis to many different meditation techinques/states and their purpose, all the way to speaking about self-realization and enlightenment, the highest goals in the Buddhist, Yoga and most all mystic traditions. You can pick it up from his site here: Headstuff Books | Cannabis & Meditation | About

    And yes, meditation helps tremendously with anxiety, depression as well.
    Here are a few good links in case you are interested in learning more: (VERY good article)
    Zuowang Meditation, Sitting and Forgetting, Meditation, Open and Empty the Heart-Mind

    Description of Vipassana Meditation
    Yoga Meditation
    Vipassana Meditation Course: Preliminary Stages

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