Friday, January 15, 2010

One Testimonial

I get a lot of good feedback on the "How To Meditate" videos; that's why we went so far as to make the DVD set... this one stands out, for some reason, though. Thought I'd share it, with the author's permission:

Hi, let me first start off by saying that I honestly have never even thought of meditation as something I'd want to learn how to do. I never really fully understood what it was about, and why people do it. Sure I've read a few articles and heard what people say about on TV and stuff, but I never actually put any thought into it. Earlier today (maybe just over 4 or 5 hours ago) I was pretty bored and I decided to do some research on the topic. After about an hour of browsing various websites and Youtube videos, I stumbled across your "How to Meditate" series. After listening to the first video in full, I decided that this might be something I want to try. So after watching the second video thoroughly, I gave it a shot.

Okay so here was my experience:
This was most definitely, the the time I ever seriously attempted any type of mediation. Ever. I followed the instructions and whatnot given in the video describing sitting meditation, and at first it felt really awkward and I can honestly say I thought it was pretty dumb. Nonetheless, my mind slowly began to calm, and my thoughts seemed to wander less than normal. A few minutes in, my back began hurting pretty substantially. Try as I may to say "pain"..."pain"..."pain... it continued to get worse, so I adjusted the way I was sitting and leaned forward a bit more. I got the impression from the video that i should try to limit my movement during meditation, but the pain was really becoming unbearable. In any case, this shift in position relieved the pressure on my lower back. At this point I began to feel much more relaxed, and was able to concentrate on what I was doing.

Now here is where I feel like I need some questions answered or possibly just your imput. Up until this point in the meditation session, nothing unexpected had happened. True, I was calm and pretty relaxed, but that often happens when I sit still and quiet for an extended amount of time. But slowly, I began to kind of understand what you were talking about, and I guess you can correct me if I'm wrong. But suddenly it made sense how you talked about bringing and keeping your mind in the present, rather than letting it wander off into past events or ponder of future ones. It seemed like the fact that I acknowledged the thoughts "thinking... thinking... thinking..." without actually engaging them, kept my mind on the present. At the same time, and present feelings, pain, discomfort were all acknowledged in the same way. It was as if none of these thoughts or feelings were affecting my present state of mind. This all seems to go along exactly with what you said, and I am absolutely ASTOUNDED by that fact. I've dabbled in hypnotism and other such mind tricks and they never tend to work on me. So I guess my question is whether or not this experience seems accurate to what I should be feeling during meditation, and how accurate is it to other first timers experiences.

I would also like to share with you the events that occurred after I stopped meditating.

After what I can assume was between 10-15 minutes (I never checked the clock) I got up from my bed, and decided to take a shower because physically, I felt gross and dirty , but mentally I felt the exact opposite. My mind felt surprisingly clear/clean of the mental anguish I've been experiencing lately (work issues, school, friends etc). Honestly, I have no idea whether it was some type of placebo effect, or if that is one of the things meditation attempts to accomplish. In anycase, as I got into the shower, I decided to keep saying "rising... falling....rising...falling..." or "pain...pain..." only this time I began to just think it in my head rather than say it aloud. What followed was one of the most amazing things I've every experienced. Usually when I take a shower, I spent a lot of time thinking about things while I rush through the shower and get back to the computer or whatever. This time however, I took my time and washed my entire body thoroughly, it was like I was in a trance. After I left the shower, I brushed my teeth, and shaved. And then I continued to fold my clothes, and clean my entire apartment. Thoroughly.

It was truly amazing. I'm not the type of person who has the attention span to spend 2+ hours washing myself and cleaning my apartment. The type of focus and concentration that I experienced during the whole ordeal is something I've only ever accomplished with the help of ADD medications like adderall. Normal things that would have interrupted my cleaning session like stray thoughts or, possibly boredom were pushed aside by my mental chants of "thinking...thinking...bored...bored...tired...tired...distracted...distracted..." and just like you said, after several chants of whatever I was feeling, I would eventually go back to "rising...falling...rising...". Finally about 4 hours after beginning the meditation, after watching 2 of you videos, my entire apartment and my entire body were spotlessly clean, and I am just now allowed my mind to wander a bit as I write this message.

I guess I don't really have any specific question. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on my experience. Whether this is something that happens often or whether it was all in my head.

Indeed, it's all in the mind... that doesn't make in any less real.