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what matters is when we are not meditating

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I was listening to a podcast (Alan Watkins 'How to Hack your Biology) on why change is hard. How there are a whole lot of layers between want and enacting change. Layers of being we have to control before we get to the level of thought.

At the basic level was physiology, controlling our breath and heart rates. They influence for better, often for worse our feelings and thought patterns.  Ultimately we want to control our thoughts and emotions, not to turn emotionless, rather to seize control of the quality of our life.   Everyday unnoticed our heart rate and breathing patterns are all over the place, creating feedback loops that triggering various levels of fight or flight mechanisms and we don't notice, even when the mechanism is short circuiting our thinking. 


Some of the first part of the podcast was fluff, but to me the meat was in the exercises- step one, controlling breath, to control the heart.  Particular attention to steady rhythm.  Not necessarily slow, though often thats preferable, but a steadiness to it, so it keeps steady whether beating fast or slow.


Paradoxically he states for clear thinking it can be better to put attention to the heart.  He wants steady breath with the attention there.  Because the heart is the electrical hotbed of the body.  Physiologically there is a much greater (5x?) more electrical charge going on there then the brain.  Control the power circuit, regulate and smooth out surges, and you get better results from the computer.


Maybe I'll try it.  20 or 30 minutes minutes of steady breathing twice a day with focus on the middle of the chest.  Not the long breath cycles I usually do, but shorter 4 in x 4, 4 x 6 or 6 x 6.  Not long because the point is to keep it going outside meditation.  Long breath cycles will stop or falter during movement and emotions, so keep it to something that can be comfortably done throughout the day.


Thus the breathing and heart focus become mantras.  Probably automatically quieting the mind.  Problematic is most energy arts worn against focus on the heart for long periods.  So I suppose at times refocus or close at my hara.  Still, might be worth experimenting with.


Step one, control the breath. 

Step two, monitor and control emotional/physical state

Step three, monitor/control/guide feelings.  Which he considers different, precursors of thought, then emotions.

Step four, monitor and control thoughts.


This isn't a world away from the practices outlined in Franz Bardon's levels on mental control in the Initiation Into Hermetics.

Edited by thelerner
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I am going to chime in here on this topic because it seems to be part of my crux.


Having some input from outside influences that I consider wise has been helpful-even if it feels like it is undermining me-I am learning not to take it personal but use it wisely inside my own head to strive for better.


Even having the help from a professional. This is a tip I have recently embraced. Instead of me getting rid of a bad habit whether it is eating bad, or anything along these lines, begin just adding something healthier. I think the goal achieved will be something like this--I have added spirulina to my diet instead of this trying to stop drinking espresso at this stage.


a thunderstorm has rolled in and I am off to enjoy that!

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