A few weeks ago, I blogged about experimenting with unguided meditation. Now that I’ve been doing it regularly for a few weeks, I thought it would be a good time to give an update on how it’s been going.
When I talk about unguided meditation, I’m not talking about meditating in perfect silence.
That is something I’d like to try at some point in the future, but for now I prefer having some sort of background noise that isn’t a human voice when I meditate.
Deep Breaths Aren’t Peaceful
A couple of weeks ago, I briefly tried a section of my meditation app that plays three different tones over and over again. The first tone prompts you to breath in, the second prompts you to hold your breath, and the third prompts you to exhale. There is otherwise no noise in it. Yes, this technically isn’t unguided meditation, but i thought it would be an interesting and possibly quite helpful transition from the fully guided routines I’ve been doing.
As much as I loved the idea of this, it turned out not to work for me at all. I was so focused on remembering which sounds signalled which action and anticipating what would happen next that those sessions didn’t go well at all.
On a slightly humorous note, they reminded me going to the doctor and being asked to breathe in deeply while your doctor listens to your lungs. There’s something about that experience that always unnerves me a little bit, possibly because I’ve had pneumonia in the past and know how miserable it is to have even the mildest form of that disease.
Deep breathing works for me if I’m timing my own breaths, but I ended up really not liking being told when to breathe in and out again.
Rain Is Peaceful
The meditation app I use has a setting that plays the sound of rain falling. While it isn’t as strong or heavy as a thunderstorm, it isn’t quiet rain either. You can hear the drops splashing as they hit the puddles on the ground. The sound is gentle, soothing, and beautifully repetitive.
It masks all of the unavoidable distractions that come with living in a urban environment and in a building where noises from one apartment can easily carry several floors away if the conditions are right. Someday I do plan to meditate through dogs barking, the elevator door pinging, people having loud discussions, and someone dropping something heavy on the floor a few floors up, but for now it’s nice to dampen these things.
Just as I suspected, I absolutely love this section of the app. Listening to rain fall is my favourite sound in the entire world, and I find it very easy to clear my mind and simply be when I have something so soothing playing in the background.
There have been multiple times when I was surprised by the quiet beep that alerts me when I’ve reached the end of my session. The time passed much more quickly than I thought it would, and I could have kept meditating without realizing how long I’d been doing it.
I will continue using this feature regularly. As you can probably tell, it’s working well for me. Honestly, I wish I’d tried it ages ago.
Next Up: Trying New Positions
So far, I’ve been doing most of my meditating either while I’m walking or while I’m lying down. Yes, I know that these aren’t conventional positions for meditation, but sitting meditation failed terribly for me the first several times I tried it. I’ve also been dealing with some minor muscle twinges and aches that make certain positions uncomfortable for me to remain in for long periods of time.
The next goal I’ve set for myself is to slowly transition to sitting meditation if I can do so without aggravating my muscles.
I will update you all again in a few weeks!
2 Responses to Unguided Meditation Update #1
Meditation is such a lovely practice. I have been practicing meditation, in various forms, for over fifteen years and each time I meditate, I learn something new about myself and the world around me.
Counting the breath while meditating is difficult and the last thing you want during a session is a tense mind, so I’m happy to hear the sound of rain helped! I’ve found that focusing on the sensation of the breath as it enters and exits the nose is more comfortable than counting and holding the breath.
Also, if sitting in the meditation posture is difficult you could always sit in a chair. As long as you’re keeping your spine nice and straight than sitting in a chair shouldn’t be an issue. But, if you want to sit in Vajra posture, I’ve found doing some light yoga stretching helps.
Enjoy your practice!
Thank you, Charles! I’m going to focus on the sensation of my breath the next time I meditate. I’d never thought about trying that before.
Sitting while meditating is also a very good idea. I’ll give that a shot as well.