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As an INFP, I'm both intuitive and also sensitive person. On top of that, I have a long history of anxiety and depression, partly due to my personality, partly due to my life circumstances. So I keep getting these pangs of anxiety and fear coming out of nowhere all the time, getting anxious for most minor things, like even going shopping for food or answering the phone.

I have started meditating recently. I was raised in a religious household but turned away from religion though now I have a more complex relation with religion. But my meditation is not really about spirituality at this point and more about centering myself and now allowing anxiety and depression to run my life.

My main issue is that I'm not sure how to meditate. There are different schools of thought, different methods, different goals, etc. I went to a few meditation forums and usually people say oh you need a teacher (from whatever particular school they belong to) and don't tell me why their method/school and not some other. Some say sit and then let thoughts and feelings come and go. Other says you must concentrate on breath at all times. Some say you need to label your thoughts during meditation so as not to be distracted by them. Others say count or say a particular mantra over and over again.

I have a bad back so I mix sitting with lying down. Then I realized I was dozing off when lying down and it was not really meditation. And on top of that, when sitting, I was so distracted by pain from my back that I started to hold my breath all the time, as if very anxious. Then meditation made me feel much worse. In addition I realized that during meditation I do a lot of daydreaming and I'm barely self aware, aside from not letting my posture go.

So then I started to meditate but not allowing myself to daydream or think about past or present, and if becoming distracted, would quickly bring myself back to breath and try to be almost hyper-aware of myself and my surrounding. This of course made the time go by so much slower, and was kind of exhausting, and was less relaxing than previous ways. But if the goal is becoming self-aware, it did help.

So I ask of you: what is the purpose of meditation? How are you supposed to meditate? What kind of meditation is good therapeutically and what kind is good spiritually? Do you meditate and if so share with us both how you do it (please be detailed) and the result you have gotten both right after a session and also in the long run. Thank you very much and God bless.
 
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I forewarn you, there are a lot of parenthetical statements in this mess of words.

I'm not exactly sure what you want. But when I meditate it's mostly for a few different reasons. It's to get my mind in this sort of free, creative mode that exists only internally. It's odd. Once I get to this point within the meditation, it's like I'm able to remember things that happened in the day and analyze the details of situations and people I know and talk to that I didn't notice when I was just talking to(well, at them, sometimes..) them. But also it relaxes me and kind of focuses my mind so that I can actually fall asleep(I meditate for about 15 minutes everyday before sleeping. I'm progressively increasing the amount of time that I meditate for).
I'm by no means any kind of expert on meditation, but what I learned from the interwebs and what I do that's actually quite effective is: I sit with my back straight(I lean on a wall so that it doesn't hurt, but it'll still be kind of uncomfortable. Just go with it and eventually it won't matter) and just count my breaths once I exhale. I imagine my nose sucking in the air around me and it filling up my lugs like a balloon and the balloon deflating once I breath out. Sometimes I feel connected to trees as though I'm actually and literally sucking air right from the trees. If my mind wanders, and it does a lot, I start counting over again. I do this until I reach 15 breaths un-distracted. After that point, I kind of play a song in my head and imagine a fictional world where every single action, no matter how random, is connected in some way(s). I also think about a lot of things and analyze and find connections with them.
When I'm satisfied, I start counting again and when I reach 20 breaths, I stop. Oh, also. I make sure I'm very relaxed mentally and physically.

Again, that may sound fucking retarded, but that's what I do. It relaxes me and relieves stress. And I can think about things in ways that... are pretty much the same when I'm awake. Except fundamentally different. I don't know. Hope this was helpful, but I understand if it wasn't.
 

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There is no method, no concept because a concept means repetition; making your mind dull. Meditation and religion go together by the way. You can focus on your breathing but all you're doing is putting more oxygen in your blood; you still have an anxious mind. When your back starts to hurt, don't judge the pain, just accept it and it will disappear like it was never there. That too is meditation. I have seen and entered many many schools of meditation and none of them contained any truth.

Why don't you do Tai Chi and Chi Kung? It is very very good for your body (joints and muscles) and it helps you making aware of your body, your surroundings (people are stupid and blind in public so don't be one of them) and overall health, and the way you breathe. I can tell you how I meditate and then you do as I do but my truth and my path aren't yours so what's the point? Truth isn't something static, something you can seek by following a certain pattern. Do you want a teacher? Some form of authority that tells you what truth is? Is that freedom? Is that meditation?

You talk about past and present but what is Time? A crucial question. You can skip the question and just follow what other people tell you, then get conditioned to follow their pattern but then truth is something you will never find again.

The ultimate purpose of meditation is to die. But what is death? You think you might know the answer.....but you don't. Think deeply about these questions because you're not depressed because of your surroundings and your personality, that is the biggest irresponsible bullshit I have ever heard. (No offense, you'll understand what I mean one day) You're depressed because you have a confused mind.

Good luck. This is a very serious matter so be serious.
 

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If you feel unusually disturbed by your emotions, you feel anxious for no reason, sometimes you are happy or sad for nor reason, and sometimes you suddenly outburst to cry you must consult a psychiatrist. He will give you medications that will alleviate your mental condition. Your sickness must be given attention to. That must be cared. You must understand why you feel that way. When you understand it, you are able to control it better. You reduce the symptoms. You will know how to care of yourself that you are having that condition. Try to be happy. It is a medicine. Place happiness in every activity that you do. You must enjoy the things that surrounds you. If not then stay away from it.

Nathanael King is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner and weight loss & nutritional therapist. He also helps people suffering from panic attacks or social anxiety. He has written a book on how to build confidence instantly using NLP techniques. Please download from http://dailyimproveself.com/instantconfidencefree/. You can also sign up for weekly newsletter at for life changing strategies life, health and wealth at Home |.
 

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Absence of thought.

No idea.

I engage in repetitive activity such as driving along switchbacks or walking a path with no discernible end that results in a clarity of mind conducive to resolution and healing.
 

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Hi conscius- you are right, there are so many schools of thought on meditation, it can be hard to find the right one. Interesting you mentioned you felt worse before after meditating by trying to sit still and clear your mind of thoughts, there is actually a name for that (where some people get this sort of rage response from trying to do it), but I can't recall what it is called at the moment. You say you are intuitive and sensitive and prone to depression and anxiety, and certain meditation efforts and methods weren't effective. Have you tried, or heard of grounding meditations? You can either find a meditative activity that helps you connect to the earth, like gardening. Or you can try 'meditating' outside by walking barefoot on the earth, or lying down on a blanket outside. While you do this, picture "roots" coming out of your body, like a tree, that are grounding you and rooting you. You can stand next to a tree and do something similar, where you visualize yourself both being grounded, with roots, and simultaneously being ever expansive and having broad perspective, as if from the top of the tree. If it's cold outside, you can do this exercise at home, in a chair. Breathing deeply and gently bringing your thoughts back to focus on the meditation is a sort of "training", because if you train yourself to be able to do this, and do it often, it should help you to be able to get control of your thoughts and emotions during times of crisis. Good luck
 

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You're right. There are many, many types and methods of meditation. While most stem from religious/spiritual roots, psychological studies now show the benefits of meditation across the board. Specifically, mindfulness is often seen as a more cognitive approach as opposed to a spiritual one. Try doing mindfulness exercises if you find sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed uninteresting. I can say a lot, but I find meditation to be a deeply personal experiential thing. Guided sessions are great though, so if you can find a yoga school that does them, I do recommend.
 

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When all else fails, take a nap. A powernap does a world of good, at least for me. It revitalizes and refreshes the mind, and I wake up feeling renewed.
 
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