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Learning About Myself 
26th-Sep-2008 12:55 pm
Before I really get into this post and lose all my readers who aren't interested in IB's adventures in meditation, does anyone know how I can convince iTunes to treat a particular mp3 file not as a podcast but as a music file? I could just copy it in Audacity but I'm sure there's something I could do in the tags or something. The reason I ask is because my meditation timers are part of the Zencast podcast, and unless I constantly mark them as unlistened, they are deleted from iGor whenever he's synched with my iTunes on Katy. So right now, I don't have my 10 minute timer, and have instead been using my 20 minute timer yesterday and today.

Gil Frondsell has on occasion described meditation as a rodeo: sometimes you just have to stay in your seat for the duration. This is a great description for someone like me who is plagued by anxiety and a restless mind - sometimes just sitting there is a physical challenge and I can count it a win if I do just sit it out.I

'm new to meditation in general, and particularly new to this daily habit thing - in fact it's only been this week I've actually tried to do it as part of my getting up routine. I can't say whether or not it's made a massive difference in my life yet, but it has made the morning more pleasurable, and that's enough for me. I decided that it was probably best to start with 10 minutes to work it into my schedule and to let me get used to that time sitting still before moving up. So I did - until the accidental deletion. Yesterday I sat down with the 20 minute timer and resolved to at least give it a go. Unfortunately the half time chimes, that the 10 minute doesn't have, knocked me out and I couldn't get back in, so I only managed a 10 minute there. This morning, however, I bore with it past the half time marker and onwards, and that's when the rodeo analogy really kicked in.

When boredom of anything kicks in, I get physically uncomfortable. My legs start twitching and my body starts fishing for excuses to get me up and out. When I'm working hard on anything - particularly in that time of hyperfocus that comes before a big deadline, for example - I start needing to pee a lot, and will get up and leave my seat every half an hour or more because my brain has decided to rebel by lying about what my plumbing's telling me. I get this physical need to get up and walk. So when my brain is restless and I'm sitting in meditation, I become physically uncomfortable; this morning the flesh on my legs began to creep and the urge to flex my legs and get out of the position became a physical reaction I had to fight - it wasn't just not-biting-your-nails bad, it was must-stop-the-pain bad. Part of my brain was desperately trying to estimate how much time I had left, the rest was focused on observing the sensation, and knowing that it was just a sign of restlessness, and that I just had to wait it out. And yes, part of me was counting my breath, but with this physical feeling fighting for my attention, I made myself sit in that. (OK, OK, I admit, part of me was composing this post, but mostly as a way of describing the sensation).

Anyway, I made it through to the end of the 20 minutes with a great sense of relief, and stronger for the knowledge that the restlessness that so often plagues me can be sat out. I can stare out my own boredom issues and win. Sometimes, yes, the best thing to do when I have twitchy legs is to get up and walk, but I know that if I think it's best to sit it out, I can. So I'm not quite sitting for 20 straight minutes focused on nothing but my breath - I don't think I'll ever do that, willing as I am to try - but I can sit in one place for 20 minutes. And that's a great thing to have discovered.
26th-Sep-2008 01:48 pm (UTC)
That it is. :D
26th-Sep-2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
26th-Sep-2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
I've been listening to my newer meditation tracks while walking. Not quite what they go for, but it's working for me for now.
26th-Sep-2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Have you tried walking meditation? I prefer walking in parks and stuff which is not supposed to be what you do, but I can see the appeal of pacing in a room when you meditate, or nominating a corridor in your house the 'meditation corridor'.
26th-Sep-2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
I have. The group I was part of in college (not a college group, just while I was in it, a once-weekly lgbt group) did both sitting and walking meditation.
26th-Sep-2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
Well, fair enough. I'd never heard of it until recently.

I also like listening to my teaching podcasts while walking, but for me, walking is an excuse to get lost in my mind, and write essays/stories/fluff scenes in my head.
26th-Sep-2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
*nodnodnod* see, I can't get far enough away to do that while walking.

My best time for getting lost and writing stuff in my head was when I worked at the movie theatres, and would be working with machines the whole shift. I did most of my writing then.

(and I only said that walking wasn't what they intended, b/c she specifically starts out by saying to shift weight to get comfortable, set your hands on some part of your body, etc. etc.)
26th-Sep-2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
Ha, and here's me finding that a better place to meditate in (or at least listen to a podcast), because the monotony doesn't fill me with inspriation the same way that walking does.

(oh right, gotcha. Well, she's probably just being narrow in scope)
26th-Sep-2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
(oh, she is. it's a rather, uh. specific. thing.


Good luck! I found meditating with other people helpful, as well as it being in a city scape, though that bothered everybody else. (My ADD coming in handy, perhaps?) Because hearing sounds, like the trucks going by and whatever, helps me relax, and allowed my brain to sort of... shut up and stop hyperfocusing. I'm not sure that made sense what I just said there.
26th-Sep-2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
oh oh no, that makes sense! That's why we need music in headphones to work while it distracts normal people, or something.

I had a look on my Student Union's society page, and couldn't find a meditation or Buddhist society, so I'm going to keep doing it myself. But we'll see. Maybe further down the line I'll look for a group to meditate with.
26th-Sep-2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
Keep a look out in the papers. As my group was an lgbt group, I found it through an ad in the city's gay rag, but I'm sure there are things like that in the ads section of papers in london?

IF you're interested, I mean. anyhoo.
26th-Sep-2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Have you tried doing it on the tube? Would your brain shut off the fidgiting response while you're in public?
26th-Sep-2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
Actually I'm way more likely to fidget in public. And be jostled. And I have to watch for my stop &s. Not to mention the embarrassment quota that comes from sitting with my eyes shut and trying to breathe.

The tube is for podcasts when I'm focused enough to listen, books when I have one I'm motivated to read, iGor solitaire or videos if none of the above.

ETA: is my tube icon still not returned to me?

Edited at 2008-09-26 15:12 (UTC)
26th-Sep-2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Fairy Nuff. Just a thought, what with living relatively far away giving you (in theory) plenty of travel time.

Nope the icon does not indicate your opinions of LT.
26th-Sep-2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
does anyone know how I can convince iTunes to treat a particular mp3 file not as a podcast but as a music file?

Yeah, just stick them all in a playlist and have it sync that playlist. That's what I do.

Alternately, you can turn off the option that tells it to only sync unlistened-to podcasts, but then it'd apply to all of them and not just zencast.
26th-Sep-2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Ye-ah, My podcasts:
- Bad Science: 6 casts 94.4Mb
- Friday Night Comedy: 35 casts 614Mb
- Mitch Benn: 6 casts 154Mb
- Zencast: 175 casts, 4.53 Gb

Total free space on iGor: 5.53Gb.
Yes, that's an 80Gig iPod.
26th-Sep-2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, so, playlists then.

You officially have 78G more available space in your iPod than I do in mine. *tear*
27th-Sep-2008 12:03 am (UTC)
available or total?
27th-Sep-2008 12:07 am (UTC)
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