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Thread: S and Meditation

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    Default S and Meditation

    I was thinking about meditation. A simple meditation excercise would be to sit down, close your eyes, and concentrate only on your breathing. When I have tried this, I generally think "in" as I inhale and "out" as I exhale as an additional way to try to focus myself (or to try to prevent my mind from wandering). This is an extremely difficult activity because the mind continually drifts. The importance of the activity is that it involves spending time in the present (in the moment), it calms the mind and stills the thoughts. This is beneficial. I think some have thought of such practices as spending time with themselves, with their souls, with "God," or as "coming home," so on.

    I also took yoga for a couple years. Most of what I gained I have lost because I didnot keep up the practice. In fact, I probably am worse off now than I was when I started. Yoga was a rather unpleasant activity because it hurt... constantly... and it ended up being meditative in that sense because the mind would try anything to get away from the unpleasant sensations, but you would have to try to bring it back because if you're not paying attention to what you're doing it rather defeats the purpose. Yoga is about the body as well as the mind, even though it may seem at first glance that it's just about the body. Also by noticing how the body reacts, you sort of can see it's similar to how the mind reacts. When I was taking yoga, it was beneficial, even though I made very slow progress. And also it was a way to spend time in my body or to be aware of my body... sometimes the pain of it made me feel "alive," if that makes sense. (Edit: actually it made me feel I'd been dead all along and was coming back to life... that's more accurate.) The few positions that didn't hurt were rather enjoyable.

    I was also thinking about the idea of "enlightenment" (mainly in a Buddhist sense). Enlightenment is rather synonymous to self-actualization IMO. An enlightened person exists in the moment... Although such a person can travel to the past or the future, they do so consciously and at will, without clinging to either... they live in the moment as the moment is all that is really real (the past is gone, and the future doesn't exist yet).

    Then I was thinking about N vs. S. Part of the problem I've always had with this distinction is that I don't understand why it is a distinction. Everyone uses their five senses to gain information about the outside world or to gain information about physical changes within them. S is sometimes refered to as "physical" and N as "mental." But humans are mental. That's what we do. It's what we excel at the most, more so that any other species on Earth. So in a way I don't see why you wouldn't just say everyone is an N. The N-S distinction seems less and less significant the larger the picture you consider is. I do see some merit in the idea of kinesthetic learning as I have observed this in others, so I suppose I could associate that as being an S thing.

    Anyway, back to enlightenment, meditation, yoga, etc., shouldn't this be something that comes naturally to S? I mean S types supposedly live in the present already. Even so, they don't seem any more enlightened than N types, despite existing more in the present. When an S type meditates, does their mind wander any less? Does it come any easier?

    I suppose N is focused on internal reactions to the world outside, whereas S is more focused on the actual world outside. But being in the moment is not just about being present in the outside world and conscious of its ongoings, but also it is about being present inside the mind, and being conscious of what is going on inside. So maybe N and S both live in the present (when not drifting away on thoughts), just that N is centered within, while S is centered without... ? But then Si is about internal sensations... sigh...

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    Ultimately, IMO, there is no distinction between sensing and intuiting. Intuition cannot exist without physicality to give it fuel and vessel. Physicality means nothing without intuition. But it's hard to think like that all the time and still function in everyday society, and so we break "ultimate reality" down as we need to and define what we need to in order to function. If this makes no sense, don't worry, because it doesn't make any sense to me either.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Okay... a few thoughts...

    By closing ones eyes (while meditating), you're shutting out visual stimuli (and thus shutting out a large part of Se information). By trying to concentrate only on ones breathing, you're trying to concentrate of Si only (or a single aspect of Si only). So you're trying to shut off every other function other than Si--and trying to even limit Si.

    Of course you're also supposed to watch the mind... when the mind starts to drift, you're supposed to note that it has drifted and in what way it did and then return to focused on your breathing. It's amazing, the elaborate deceptions the mind goes through to keep itself drifting.

    But if you're just trying to shut out everything but Si, I think even an Si dominant would find that difficult... it involves taking all of your attention and concentrating it on a single point (breathing)... this is why meditation (over time) is said to help people concentrate better and become more disciplined. Because it takes a lot of concentration and discipline to just focus on one thing (it need not be ones breathing, it could be staring at an object and contemplating it, or invisioning the color blue and only thinking of blue, or really anything that narrows the band of concentration).

    So then I wonder if N and S types might prefer different sorts of meditative practices. It's too hard for me to contemplate an object, or think of the color blue, or something like that because my mind drifts even worse. The breathing exercise seems to work better... it makes me feel I'm doing something I don't normally do, so then it's somehow special or something... er...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dee
    i think breathing is very much Ni as Ni is said to include pacing, rythm, which breathing involves.
    Hmm... that's interesting... I totally forgot about that. I usually set an alarm clock if I try to meditate, because I don't want to have to worry about time either (it's another thing the mind can use to distract itself... thoughts of "how long have I been doing this?" "is it long enough yet?" "I can't do this forever" etc.). Then sometimes the mind will come up with "well, maybe you didn't set it right... what if it never goes off?" instead though. But yes, breathing also helps with time, because it creates a framework that travels forward through time. You can let go of time, because the breathing itself is a repetitive rhythm over time...

    I really would like to hear other people's meditation experiences...

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    I have dabbled in both yoga and meditation. I found meditation more useful because I could not turn my mind off effectively doing yoga exercises, but had more success when staring at a wall for some reason Yoga led by an IEI always had elements of imagination thrown in at the end ("imagine you are floating... " etc.) that were meaningless to me. Supposedly yoga isn't supposed to hurt, because physical pain produces thoughts and prevents meditation. My understanding is that your body should be involved as much as possible, but only to the point of very light pain. Otherwise, it simply turns into aerobics.

    I've also thought about what it means to "be in the moment" as an "enlightened" individual. My sense is that this means something unique and can't be equated to a socionic function, though it does seem by definition closest to . I don't believe it means to not think about the future or the past, not plan, etc., but rather to be wholly involved in each activity -- even if that activity is actively planning a future event. And that has nothing to do with or any other function. It seems to be more a quality of consciousness and concentration that is free of extraneous worries and unresolved issues.

    I suppose that thoughts can be of any aspect -- whether , , etc. And a person can meditate upon any aspect as well. One can, for instance, "experience" hidden potential without verbalization just as one can experience the internal world of the body without words.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    I have dabbled in both yoga and meditation. I found meditation more useful because I could not turn my mind off effectively doing yoga exercises, but had more success when staring at a wall for some reason Yoga led by an IEI always had elements of imagination thrown in at the end ("imagine you are floating... " etc.) that were meaningless to me. Supposedly yoga isn't supposed to hurt, because physical pain produces thoughts and prevents meditation. My understanding is that your body should be involved as much as possible, but only to the point of very light pain. Otherwise, it simply turns into aerobics.
    Yes. Strictly speaking, hatha yoga (the system of physical asanas that most people are familiar with; a good article on the delineations of yoga can be found here) is meant to bring discipline to the mind, breath, and body to create the optimal conditions to recieve the teachings of Advaita Vedanta. The underlying philosophy of Advaita is to unify Atman (the manifestation of Self) with Brahman (the Ultimate Truth, essentially Hinduism's ultimate conception of God). The asanas were intended to bring the mind and the body into the present moment and to dissolve the ego.

    I tried to make some correlation with Socionics at one point, but gave up. The concepts got too expansive and the correlates got too complicated. In the end, both yoga and meditation ask the practitioner of any Socionics type to step outside of their habitual tendencies and aim for an awareness of those tendencies from a more impersonal/expansive viewpoint.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby
    Ultimately, IMO, there is no distinction between sensing and intuiting. Intuition cannot exist without physicality to give it fuel and vessel. Physicality means nothing without intuition. But it's hard to think like that all the time and still function in everyday society, and so we break "ultimate reality" down as we need to and define what we need to in order to function. If this makes no sense, don't worry, because it doesn't make any sense to me either.
    there is a definite distinction. In a general sense, 'sensing' comes first, or is essential. That is just the best name to model the mode of processing, so it can be deceiving. People use both, because they have to, but they are very different in regards to learning styles and just overall lifestyles. The 'mental-physical' thing is fairly accurate, as intuitive types are not as focused on sensory experience and aesthetic pleasures as sensors may be....that's why they're typically seen as head-in-the-clouds, or some may seem indifferent to food. From my experience and observations, the intuitives tend to be more perceptive of underlying form, whether it be with people or whatever, and more interested in theoretical concepts. The sensors are more practical about their lives and observant. This may sound like I'm stating the obvious, but I was more or less trying to demonstrate why there is a distinction by giving, what I believe to be, two of the most prevalent, overriding, traits that define it.

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    The distinction is primarily one of bias (as Jung makes clear) - not one that actually exists organically. No sensing occurs if there is no mind to sense it. No mental process occurs without a world to stimulate it and no body to fuel and house it. Sensing and intuition describe two aspects of the same process (perception [as opposed to judging]). Where one begins and the other ends is impossible to differentiate.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Default Re: S and Meditation

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki
    I was also thinking about the idea of "enlightenment" (mainly in a Buddhist sense). Enlightenment is rather synonymous to self-actualization IMO. An enlightened person exists in the moment... Although such a person can travel to the past or the future, they do so consciously and at will, without clinging to either... they live in the moment as the moment is all that is really real (the past is gone, and the future doesn't exist yet).

    Then I was thinking about N vs. S. Part of the problem I've always had with this distinction is that I don't understand why it is a distinction. Everyone uses their five senses to gain information about the outside world or to gain information about physical changes within them. S is sometimes refered to as "physical" and N as "mental." But humans are mental. That's what we do. It's what we excel at the most, more so that any other species on Earth. So in a way I don't see why you wouldn't just say everyone is an N. The N-S distinction seems less and less significant the larger the picture you consider is. I do see some merit in the idea of kinesthetic learning as I have observed this in others, so I suppose I could associate that as being an S thing.
    I've always equated enlightenment with self-actualization as well. I also like your description a lot also. It sounds very much like a friend of mine whose taken up meditation lately. It's not something you really get to say about anyone that often, but I say with all sincerity that he is a wise man. It's funny, because I've known him since we were kids and he was always a very outgoing and unbelievably charismatic guy. Maybe not the most gifted in academic studies, but I'd sit there and help him study forever. He'd try hard as hell, but the problem was that he was very much a learn-by-doing kind of guy. His way with people is simply beyond comprehension and, at the same time, I don't think I've met anyone as genuinely kind and empathetic as he is prone to be. I know this probably sounds like I'm going off on a tangent, but the point is that the amount of personal growth I've seen in him is just remarkable. If I've met anyone who was self-actualized or at least being in the general vicinity of enlightenment, it would be him hands down. An amazing guy, for sure.

    Also with regard to the N/S part, I think maybe a phenomenological description might work best. Granting that this is from one person's introspection, thar she blows:

    There was a description somewhere that actually got me thinking about this when it described something along the lines of a 'darkening cloud' coming across one's vision. It was supposed to explain, I think, a bias for the intuitive side of the dichotomy. First, I guess I should explain what I think it's referring to with the description. Ok, many a time when I get to thinking about something very intently, bouncing ideas back and forth, following them wherever they lead, it's not so much as I tune out completely from the world (I'm aware of what's going on as far as my sense perceptions, but don't focus on them with anything more than minimal intensity until I begin to perceive some event that needs taking care of) but I'm in my head, so to speak. My focus is there, my creativity is there. It's a series of endless canvas where I can go over something that happened, wonder how it could have worked out better, or how I feel about certain persons, who and what it is they care for (if you want to know somebody, I can't think of a better place to start), or even just trying to make all these things fit together, to systematize all these myriad thoughts (a plethora!) and make sense of it all. I'm guessing that this is something to what it means to be biased toward intuition (though I think I favor this function more than most, which is a source of its own problems) rather than sensing. Not to say that S's don't do the same things from time to time, but not in the way or to the extent that intuitives take it.

    This is also why I think that meditation might serve me well. I usually have a hard time getting in the moment unless I'm under the influence of something, but that's neither here nor there. If you made it this far, congratulations. Also, I'd like to apologize in advance (in the sense that I'm posting my apology before you read it, rather than you reading it before you read what I'm apologizing for, which is possible if you skipped to the end first, but who does that really?) for the run-on sentences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    Yoga led by an IEI always had elements of imagination thrown in at the end ("imagine you are floating... " etc.) that were meaningless to me.
    Guided meditation where someone tells me to imagine something, I find this very enjoyable and pleasant. It's like meditative candy. For some reason it doesn't seem like meditation to me though... I mean I already imagine things all the time. The only difference is if someone says "imagine you're floating" that's imagining your body floating which is different because my imaginings often don't focus on my body. The other difference is that it is guided (bounds and structure is introduced). There was this other exercise we did in an acting class once, where the person leading it told us to imagine a place, and then later a tree, and an animal... blah, blah, blah... and that was a lot of fun. I could probably do that kind of exercise all day long... but it still didn't seem like meditation to me. Maybe I have some pre-conceived notion that meditation *must* be difficult, or different than what I normally do, or some such thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    Supposedly yoga isn't supposed to hurt, because physical pain produces thoughts and prevents meditation. My understanding is that your body should be involved as much as possible, but only to the point of very light pain. Otherwise, it simply turns into aerobics.
    Yeah, it wasn't excruciating or anything... But it was very unpleasant and unbearable sometimes. I liked the benefit of yoga, in that after we were done my body was more relaxed, and my mind more centered... I hated how long it took to make any progress, and trying to keep my awareness when all I wanted to do was drift away from the physical sensations... when the sensations were unpleasant I had to focus more on my body, and my mind would try to escape that... when the sensations were comfortable, then my mind could easily drift away, and still it was hard to draw it back to what I was actually doing. I worked very hard to try to keep my attention on what I was actually doing... but it was somewhat of a battle between the desire to actually focus so the exercise would be useful and the desire to drift away and not have to concentrate on the exercise at all (which would prove largely useless).

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    I've also thought about what it means to "be in the moment" as an "enlightened" individual. My sense is that this means something unique and can't be equated to a socionic function, though it does seem by definition closest to . I don't believe it means to not think about the future or the past, not plan, etc., but rather to be wholly involved in each activity -- even if that activity is actively planning a future event. And that has nothing to do with or any other function. It seems to be more a quality of consciousness and concentration that is free of extraneous worries and unresolved issues.
    This makes a great deal of sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby
    The distinction is primarily one of bias (as Jung makes clear) - not one that actually exists organically. No sensing occurs if there is no mind to sense it. No mental process occurs without a world to stimulate it and no body to fuel and house it. Sensing and intuition describe two aspects of the same process (perception [as opposed to judging]). Where one begins and the other ends is impossible to differentiate.
    I don't have anything to say here yet... but yes, that's sort of the thing... It's like a continuum with on one end and on the other...

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