ADD & ADHD,
Attention Deficit Disorder Treatment and Cure â€“ Meditation
Â©2011-2021 Vern Lovic, M. A. (Rehabilitation Counseling). All rights reserved.
Published digitally at Jhana8.com.
Table of Contents
Chapter 2: The Why â€“ Getting Your Motivation Straight
Chapter 3: Sitting
Chapter 4: Relax Your Body
Chapter 5: Breathing
Chapter 6: Micro-focusing on the Breath
Chapter 7: Training the Puppy
Chapter 8: More About Training the Puppy
Chapter 9: Thoughts
Chapter 10: No Rules, No Expections
Chapter 11: Donâ€™t Scratch
Chapter 12: After Focusing on the Breath
Chapter 13: Mindfulness
Chapter 14: Meditation Experiences
Chapter 15: Jhana Levels
Chapter 16: Benefits of Meditation on ADD/ADHD
If you have Attention Deficit Disorder and youâ€™re hoping that this book can change your life â€“ youâ€™re in good company.
I had it all my life. Now it is gone.
I wrote this book specifically to help you. Iâ€™m not going to go over what ADD / ADHD is. Iâ€™m not going to bedazzle you with statistics and a long and detailed history of personal experiences. You have your own experiences. Youâ€™ve reached a point where you just canâ€™t stand it any longer and you probably donâ€™t want to take medicine to alleviate some of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
I donâ€™t blame you.
Hereâ€™s a very short history of my own ADD/ADHDâ€¦ if you donâ€™t care, no worries â€“ just skip ahead to the chapter named, â€œBeginning Meditation â€“ the cure for your ADD/ADHDâ€
I didnâ€™t know I had ADD/ADHD while growing up. I knew I had unstoppable energy. I knew I had a mind that was usually out of control. By out of control I mean â€“ FLYING. My mind had a mind of its own, I guess you could say. It was doing its own thing 90% of the time I was awake.
Who knows what it did while sleeping? Iâ€™ve had bizarre lucid dreams since I was young, and I dreamt scores of dreams each night â€“ when I could remember them. Thankfully I didnâ€™t remember them often.
I was in graduate school when I realized that what I had for the previous 28 years of my life â€“ was profound ADD/ADHD. We tested each other on a variety of mental health issues to sharpen our skills.
When my partner, Christy, told me that I scored 300% higher than the number required for a positive diagnosis of ADD/ADHD I wasnâ€™t too surprised. The questions in the assessment seemed to be laser targeted to whatever condition I had. I was happy though! Finally I had a name for it.
I researched and read books and online about the issue â€“ but I was opposed to medication.
I t wasnâ€™t until years later that I found a cure for my problem.
The cure was meditation. It wasnâ€™t based on any religion. It wasnâ€™t based on any guru â€“ unless you call Buddha a guru. It was based on what the Buddha did, but I followed a purely physical regimen of sitting and meditating. It wasnâ€™t anything spiritual or magicâ€¦ it was a physical practice â€“ that worked wonders in my mind.
It literally allowed my mind to slow down for the first time ever in my life.
Not only that, it allowed my mind to stop for long periods of time.
If that sounds scary to you â€“ it shouldnâ€™t. In fact, any kind of change to the thoughts in your head should sound like an awesome thing to try.
I hope thatâ€™s the way you feel about it now â€“ ready to try, because this book is short and sweetâ€¦ and shows you what is necessary to slow down and stop the thoughts in your mind.
It is not difficult. There is not involved process to go throughâ€¦ it is very simple.
The problem will be forcing yourself to do it.
I suggest you start by not considering yourself â€œforcing yourselfâ€ to do itâ€¦ or the process will not work as well as it can.
Here is how I stumbled into this cure.
I was working in Real Estate, and trying to learn about putting computers together , Microsoft networks, and Home Inspecting. I was doing all these things at once and at the same time trying to maintain my marriage and exercise program. I exercised daily, which was good for my mind, but I still had ADD/ADHD issues that kept my mind racing along when, what I needed was to keep it focused on exactly what I was doing.
My wifeâ€™s father was from Thailand. He was a doctor in a hospital in Gibson City, Illinois, and he had a small meditation session a couple times a week for people at the hospital.
We visited him a couple times, and over that time I began to get interested in meditation and what it could do to relax me.
After reading a couple of books about the Vipassana meditation, I was given the book, by William Hart about S. N. Goenkaâ€™s teaching method, called â€œThe Art of Living, Vipassana Meditationâ€.
I read the book through and didnâ€™t really like it. There was far too much Buddhism in the book. Apparently the first Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, sat under a Bodhi tree and became enlightened.
I thought to myselfâ€¦
Hmm, that sounds like a physical actâ€¦ what is all this Buddhism that grew from that? I wasnâ€™t interested in finding a new religionâ€¦
I decided to take the bare minimum direction from the book â€“ and do basically just what the Buddha did, nothing more.
If it sounds to you like something youâ€™d like to know more about â€“ read on.
1 â€“ Beginning Meditation, the Cure for ADD/ADHD
I say this is the cureâ€¦ because, in my case, it cured me. Meditation is an astoundingly simple and powerful exercise that has the power to change someone from having profound ADD/ADHD like me â€“ to not having it at all.
Will it affect you in the same way?
I donâ€™t know the answer to that â€“ and neither do you â€“ until you try.
Here are some reasons why I believe meditation is the best ADD – ADHD treatment:
1. It costs nothing.
2. Residual benefits. Youâ€™ll gain relaxationâ€¦ peace of mindâ€¦ cure or seriously curb your ADD ADHD in non-meditating, waking states .
3. Meditation is a great way to relax and create a buffer between the you thatâ€™s stressed out from work and your family who just wants to experience the stress-free you.
4. Meditation is a great habit to get into purely for this reason alone. Medication involves putting something into your body that gives side effects.
5. Meditation involves slowing the mind down to a very slow, or stopped stateâ€¦ which relaxes you and eases stress.
6. Meditation is available anytime. You donâ€™t have to wait for medication to kick in â€“ you just sit and do it. Focusing on the breath a few times to calm yourself and slow thoughts down a bit works very well once youâ€™ve meditated a few months.
7. You canâ€™t overdose on meditation.
8. Eventually â€“ after months or years you reach a state where you no longer need to meditate and your base-level concentration is much higher than it was. You can keep meditating and keep affecting it, basically operating as a normal human being after some time. Medication doesnâ€™t change you long-term, only short-term as you take it.
2 â€“ The Why. Getting Your Motivation Straight
Before you begin your meditation practice you have to get the why right. Your motivation to meditate has to be â€˜rightâ€™. Let me explainâ€¦
Advancing through stages of meditation is sort of like a catch-22.
If your motivation is wrong, or too strong â€“ you cannot advance very quickly, and maybe not at all.
To advance you need to â€œlet goâ€. It makes sense then, that youâ€™re not going too far too fast if youâ€™re stuck on the idea that your meditation and reaching nirvana is going to change the world and known universe. It just wonâ€™t happen.
Thailand, my home for the last 7 years, is full of monks and others that are not progressing very much because their motivation is too strong â€“ and, itâ€™s wrong. I say itâ€™s wrong because I was able to advance through the 8 levels of what they call â€œJhanaâ€ rather quickly â€“ in less than a year. There are thousands of monks trying to make it into the first Jhana. If your motivation is right â€“ you can get there quickly. If not â€“ perhaps never.
When I started out meditating, I had read a couple books about it â€“ but, I didnâ€™t know what I was readingâ€¦ words like dukkha, piti, anapanasati, dhamma, and other Pali language words were lost on me.
Again, I didnâ€™t want to know themâ€¦ I didnâ€™t want to know about the Buddhist idea of what things were. To me â€“ breathing is called â€œbreathingâ€, nothing more. Attachment with my mind is called attachment, and I didnâ€™t care what the Pali word for it was.
You need not care either.
This is part of setting up the right motivation.
In Buddhism, nirvana is a state of non-attachmentâ€¦ of freedom from pain. Of flowing, and not getting stuck on something. It is the highest attainment of Buddhists, and it is virtually impossible for most of them because their motivation is all wrong. They are pursuing what they consider the ultimate path in life. Sitting and doing what you are going to be doing in a day or so â€“ is the ultimate activity they can do with their lives.
Buddhists build up the idea of nirvana to be the ultimate life experience- and yet, how many are reaching it? Virtually nobody. In fact, if you were to try â€“ you probably could not find someone that has reached what they all consider â€œnirvanaâ€. Really. Iâ€™ve looked. Iâ€™ve looked extensively. I cannot find a Buddha or anyone mentioning a Buddha in this day and age. There are people that casually mention that this person or that, here or there, has probably attained Buddhahoodâ€¦ but, there is not accepted consensus on any one person being in the state of nirvana at the present time.
Donâ€™t let that put you off. Youâ€™re not going to BE a Buddha. Youâ€™re going to meditate and get the fruits of meditation â€“ not the end goal. To me â€“ Iâ€™m not sure at all if there is an end-goal beyond what Iâ€™ve experienced. Iâ€™m guessing there is not. I donâ€™t care much to continue meditating and see whether there is any other level â€“ itâ€™s immaterial. Iâ€™ve lost my demonsâ€¦ my racing mind can be controlled now â€“and yet, the speed of the mind â€“ the power of ADD â€“ can be harnessed and put into projects I take up â€“ like this book. Iâ€™ve literally written millions of words in books and on websites over these last few years as meditation has calmed my mind enough to finish projects that Iâ€™d never dreamt of being able to finish before.
I donâ€™t know why I didnâ€™t write this book sooner. Iâ€™ve written 14 other books on Amazon, and as I sat this morning I thoughtâ€¦ THIS book is the next book. I need to show people what meditation did for me, because there are so many out there suffering from the effects of a mind that doesnâ€™t seem to stopâ€¦ impulse control issues, all the related ADD symptoms.
I truly hope you use this simple formula to slow down and stop the freight train in your head. It IS possible. Iâ€™m living proof.
So, your motivationâ€¦
Let me explain what my motivation was â€“ so you can see an example of a good motivation.
My motivation was that I wanted some peace and quiet in my life for 30 minutes a day. That was my goal. When I decided that meditation could be that for me â€“ I tried it out.
There was no extra motivation in my head about attaining enlightenment. I didnâ€™t know what enlightenment, nirvana, was. I still donâ€™t. Thatâ€™s neither here nor there.
If youâ€™re going to start meditation in the hopes of reaching nirvana â€“ just stop before you get started and save yourself some grief. It wonâ€™t happen. As I said, there are thousands of monks in Thailand that havenâ€™t seen Jhana 1. Youâ€™ll just be another person to be struggling with that if you think that nirvana is your goal.
Letâ€™s just say, nirvana doesnâ€™t exist â€“ because itâ€™s almost ridiculous to continue thinking that it doesâ€¦ do you know anyone enlightened? Me neither. Nobody in Thailand knows anyone either. Thailand is one of the centers for Theravada Buddhism and if someone was going to reach nirvana â€“ it would happen here or in India. Trouble is â€“ those that people insist are enlightened, do things like scam people for money â€“ or pretend to stay sitting in one spot for months at a timeâ€¦ only to duck out at night to sleep.
There is power in calling oneself enlightened, so a few people do it. Are they really? Iâ€™m guessing – no.
Whether you choose to believe there are enlightened humans on the planet or not â€“ is up to you, it will not help you get into the levels of meditation to believe so – only hurt you because youâ€™ll attach to the idea that you could be enlightened.
When I started meditating, I didnâ€™t care one way or another whether there were enlightened people. I didnâ€™t know any. I wasnâ€™t looking to reach nirvana.
This is the correct way to look at meditation, going into it.
You donâ€™t care about where it goesâ€¦ it isnâ€™t important to get through any levels.
There isnâ€™t anything called nirvana.
It might sound funny to you to hear me say this â€“ but, nothing you can hope to accomplish â€“ will be accomplished, if your head isnâ€™t straight about this.
So how do you go into meditation with the right mind?
Look at it as if the reward is just what you are doing day to day. That is it. That is all youâ€™ll get out of it â€“ relaxation for 30 minutes. Just a short time to start to know yourselfâ€¦ know the mind and how it works. Doctors that give medication for ADD/ADHD havenâ€™t even tried to look at their own minds to see how it works â€“ unless theyâ€™ve meditated for some length of time.
How can they DO that?
Itâ€™s logical that, for a racing mindâ€¦ you look at it and try to figure it out. Can it be slowed down? How?
Why havenâ€™t doctors en masse decided to study the effects of meditation on the mind to see what can be learned without prescribing medication? Well, they wonâ€™t make any money off that â€“ they sell pills, not meditation practice.
To be fair, there are doctors doing so. But, the real issue is that those that prescribe medication for it â€“ wouldnâ€™t as a first, second, or third line of treatment if they prescribed meditation in the manner Iâ€™m going to show you in place of medication.
If your head is in the right place â€“ continue on!
If youâ€™re not sure what in the world Iâ€™m talking about â€“ write me: AimforAwesome@gmail.com so I can better explain.
Itâ€™s really essential that youâ€™re not out to get something great from meditation, because it definitely wonâ€™t happen. If you think it will or can happen â€“ it wonâ€™t. It is a catch-22.
If you attach to the idea that youâ€™ll get something amazing â€“ nothing amazing shows up. If you are OK with the idea that youâ€™re just meditating to relax yourself and that your reward is the time you spend out of the rat race while youâ€™re sitting on your floor at home â€“ then thatâ€™s the right state of mind to go into this.
3 – Sitting
I wonâ€™t call this Vipassana, because youâ€™ll go looking it up for more instructions than what I give you here. Itâ€™s the natural human inclination to find out as much as possible before attempting something. I donâ€™t want you to do that, I hope you understand that and the reasoning â€“ though it must be a bit vague for you at this point.
Meditation is best when it is at its simplest and purest form â€“ without fluff. Without anything extra to distract your mind. Remember, youâ€™re trying to take things away from the mind to calm it down â€“ not fill it with more mind candy.
Traditional Buddhist meditators, Vipassana meditators, they want to know the entire story â€“ gather every bit of information they possibly can on the subject â€“ before they get started. Buddhist monks want to learn the entire religion of Buddhism before they think they can meditate and successfully do what the Buddha did.
This is exactly the wrong way to go about it.
Instead, follow this simple guide and add nothing to it â€“ and take nothing away from it.
How to Sit
The first thing to get started with is to find a good position to sit in.
I sat on the floor â€“ but you need not. You could also find a chair to sit in, without arm rests.
Sitting on a chair youâ€™ll put your legs straight off the front of the chair and sit like you normally would. Your feet should just touch the ground and be comfortably resting on the ground. Your hamstrings should be flat on the chair â€“ not raised up.
Sitting on the floor your legs will be crossed, like Indian style. If you can put one foot up on the opposite thigh â€“ in a â€œhalf-lotusâ€ position, that is much more stable than sitting regular Indian style with both feet resting on the floor. The position you see me in above, seated on the floor â€“ is not really a true half-lotus, but it was stable enough for me during my practice.
Your back and neck should be straight regardless of where you sit. It will be easier with a chair with a back.
If you do choose to sit on the floor, be forewarned that you may have some days, weeks, or months, or even have constant pain in your back, feet and legs to deal with. I originally sat on the floor for the first few months, and then later moved to other positions â€“ sitting in chairs or on cinder blocks, and even doing walking meditation as I progressed.
If you have a bad back, foot, or leg you might just start by sitting in a chair and save yourself a lot of grief.
Your hands can be resting in your lap, one inside the other.
Thereâ€™s a reason this resembles the classic Buddha meditation poseâ€¦ it is very relaxing and stable.
You might not think itâ€™s difficult to sit on the floor for 30 minutes, but it can be. When you first start trying youâ€™ll find out quick just how difficult it might be!
So, sit on the floor or sit in the chair â€“ no difference at all, and probably youâ€™ll have an easier time of it on the chair.
4 â€“ Relax Your Body
Before you go any further, itâ€™s essential that you do somethingâ€¦ relax.
Without a relaxed body, free of pain and discomfort â€“ your mind will run on auto-pilot to examine every pain, twisted muscle, pull of hair, or anything that can distract it from focusing.
Youâ€™ll notice when you first sit, what kind of state your body is in. If youâ€™re anxious about something, youâ€™ll feel it in your chest. If youâ€™re too hot â€“ youâ€™ll notice it. If youâ€™re hungry â€“ youâ€™ll notice it. If the air conditioning is too cool â€“ youâ€™ll notice it. If youâ€™re tight â€“ and your muscles are being pulled too hard to sit in a half-lotus position, youâ€™ll notice it.
Free yourself from all of those things before and while you first sit down. Set the temperature on the thermostat. Open the window. Tell everyone in the house that you need 20-30 minutes of quiet. Feed the dog. Turn off your mobile phone, house phone, fax, etc.
When you think youâ€™ve taken care of everything, then sit to begin.
During your meditation youâ€™ll have to check-in with yourselfâ€¦ is there something that is pulling at your mind to be fixed? Fix it and continue.
Sometimes, when I first sat down to meditate, I would go through this exercise of starting at my head and consciously relaxing all the muscles of my face, my neck, my chest, my back, and so on down my body â€“ to my fingers and toes. Go through it twice if you need to. Just focus on each muscle group and make sure that it is totally relaxed so you can begin meditation.
If your body isnâ€™t relaxed, your mind cannot be either.
Be aware as you sit, whether or not your body is relaxedâ€¦ I often do little checks on the body when I feel some pain, discomfort, tightness, or when my attention is pulled to an area. My toe might hurt, but it might be a bigger issue, my foot might be hitting a nerve in my leg. I adjust a little bit and see if the pain stops in my toe and my leg feels looser or more relaxed too.
Later I talk about â€œbreathing out I let goâ€ or â€œbreathing out, I relaxâ€. This is a useful statement to incorporate into your meditation as it does help you to relax and come down into a more productive state where you can focus easier.
5 â€“ Breathing
This meditation is focused on the breath.
Why the breath?
Because when your body is sitting at rest, there is nothing else going on that you are aware of physically â€“ except your breathing. You cannot stop it â€“ so you might as well go along with it and use it as the object of focus.
Focusing on the breath gives your mind something to do. This is necessary because few of us can focus on â€˜nothingâ€™ at all. The breath is a constant source of movement, and works quite well for this simple meditation practice.
Begin by sitting in one of the positions mentioned above.
Close your eyes for a few minutes.
What do you experience?
People have different experiences upon doing soâ€¦ some see pictures, others â€“ lights, others- patterns, and others still â€“ nothing at all.
I see some light and dark areas. No matter what you seeâ€¦ this is not about looking with your eyes at the inside of your eyelids. You will be doing just that, but the focus of your mind will not be on what you see. The focus will be on what is inside your mind as you focus on the breath going in and out.
I want you to close your eyes for a few minutes again, and this time again, youâ€™ll look at whatever shows up visually in your eyesâ€¦ and then soon that becomes boring because there isnâ€™t much thereâ€¦ and you can start to focus on the breath.
Youâ€™ll go through this routine every time you sit to meditate because itâ€™s a way of coming down out of the reality of the world, to focus on one tiny aspect of you â€“ your breath in and out.
To focus on your breathing I want you to look at your breathing first. Breathe through your nose and try to feel the path of the breath as it enters at the edge of the nostrils and goes up into your sinuses, and back down through the trachea and into your chest.
Feel your chest expand with air and then, as you â€œlet goâ€ your chest releases the air it just let in.
Try to trace the route of your breath as it is exhaled back up the trachea, into the sinuses, and out of your nose. Can you feel the breath as it exits the nostrils?
Watch the breath like this with your mind for a few minutes. Each time you sit down to meditate, take some time to go through this progression of stepsâ€¦
1. Sit down and get comfortable and stable.
2. Close your eyes and see what is there in your field of visionâ€¦ there will be little to focus on, and thatâ€™s the pointâ€¦ eventually itâ€™s boring and you can begin to watch the breath.
3. Watch your breath go in and out. Concentrate on trying to feel the air on the path it takes into and out of your body. Imagine the path of the breath going into your nostrils, into your sinuses, into your trachea, and into your chest, filling your chest with air. Watch the chest deflate and feel the air rise up the trachea, into the sinuses, and out the nostrils. Do this over and overâ€¦
What youâ€™re doing is gradually bringing the focus from the outside world, to the inside of your bodyâ€¦ and then, in the step below, refining the focus to a small point of entry and exit for the breath.
4. After a couple of minutes â€“ begin to watch your breath at the edge of your nostrils where it first enters and last exits. This is the main focus point for your meditation.
Itâ€™s a bit strange to think that, by focusing on such a small area of your nose, you can change your ADD/ADHD â€“ even cure it. Right?
It worksâ€¦ for some reason, it just works. Letâ€™s continueâ€¦
Focusing on the Entry/Exit Point of the Breath
The next step is to focus on the small area of feeling at your nostrils where you feel the breath entering and exiting your body. The smaller the focus â€“ the better. As you watch the breath enter your nostrils â€“ find the place at the edge of your nose where you feel it the most. Not inside your nose, at the edge of your nostrils. Some people feel it high on their upper lip. Some, like me, feel it in the center part of the nose that splits the nostrils.
Wherever you feel it â€“ thatâ€™s where to begin focusing.
So, again, follow the 4 steps listed above, and reach a point where you are sitting and watching your breath go in and out at the tiny focus point in your nostrils. Feel the air enter â€“ really feel it. Donâ€™t let your attention change from that focus.
6 â€“ Micro-focusing on the Breath
I want to explain just how close your concentration needs to be on the breath.
For me, and you might be different, I notice that paying attention to the in-breath and out-breath â€“ while there is a lot of air moving is easier than when the air moving is slow or stopsâ€¦
When exhalation has finished there is a pause of timeâ€¦ the pause is short- less than a secondâ€¦ and maybe even less than a half secondâ€¦ and yet during that Â½ second a thought can come in very quickly and steal the attention away from the breath!
Watch very closely to see it happen.
Try it today while you sit. When the body and mind have quieted a bit and youâ€™re ready to start focusing on the breath â€“ see where it is that the stray thought intrudes most oftenâ€¦ is it during the in-breath? Out-breath? Or, is it during the pause after the inhalation or the exhalation? For me, I noticed that the pause after the inhalation is shorter than the pause after the exhalation and so a thought sneaks in after my out-breath most often.
If you can really focus on keeping your attention at the pause in breath you can get through it without having a thought interrupt. It is not easy to focus on 3 or 5 breaths in succession without thought dragging you away from it. It is really not easy â€“ I know this. You WILL have difficultyâ€¦ know that now and accept it, just get through it.
Practice catching the thought (seeing it) as quickly as you canâ€¦ before it takes you away into an involved thought that might last 20-30 secondsâ€¦ see if you can catch it IMMEDIATELY as it steals your concentrationâ€¦ and then re-focus on the breath at that tiny point on your nose.
You know what? Sometimes, even if you catch the thought immediately and bring your focus back to the breath, the thought will also play â€œhardballâ€ and re-take your attention away from breathing immediately too!
Itâ€™s a game that you will eventually win through patiently bringing your focus back to the breathing. Remember not to get upset or tired of the game.
7 â€“ Training the Puppy
This is what many meditation teachers call â€˜training the puppyâ€™. I call it monkey mind. If youâ€™ve ever watched monkeys, they are very aware of what is going on around them. They are constantly changing focus to see what is happening both near and far away. They are very aware of each other and whether another monkey is threatening, or playing with them â€“ or interacting with them in some manner.
Monkey mind is that same mind in those of us with ADD/ADHDâ€¦ the mind that is ultra-aware and looking around, analyzing many different things, instead of staying focused on the breath at the nostrils.
The phrase, â€œtraining the puppyâ€ refers to training your mind to focus on the small area of feeling where the breath enters and exits. When you notice your mind is watching something other than that spot â€“ you refocus, and bring your attention back to that small spot â€“ and watch some more.
So, this is the gameâ€¦
Youâ€™ll notice your attention wandering sometimes.
In fact, at first, youâ€™ll notice that you cannot concentrate on the feeling of the breath at your nostrils for more than brief seconds. This is normal â€“ and what everyone experiences, ADD or no ADD. The mind is constantly in search of mind-candy to give it more to look at â€“ to process.
The real goal of meditation is to train the puppy, to eliminate monkey mind so you can focus for a longer time on the small spot at the end of your nose.
That is it. The entire initial goal is this.
Once you can do this for minutes at a time, the process of meditation goes along by itself.
So, how do you reach this point where your focus is strong and undisturbed?
You practice this daily.
There is no need to practice this more than once per day. There is no need to practice this for more than 20-30 minutes. Iâ€™d guess that 90% of my sitting meditation sessions went no longer than 30 minutes. Maybe half of them went no more than 20 minutes.
The emphasis isnâ€™t on the length of time you sitâ€¦ there is no point in sitting for 6 hoursâ€¦ unless you have the time and can do it without any major discomfort. There is no harm in it â€“ I donâ€™t think. To be honest, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve sat longer than 3 hours at a time â€“ ever.
So, donâ€™t focus on â€œhow longâ€, just go for 20 minutes and after that point â€“ get up when you feel like it, or when you run out of time.
Usually I told myself as I sat down that Iâ€™d meditate for 20 minutes, 30, or an hour. I usually had other things to do that night â€“ so that often dictated how long I sat.
I said, â€˜that nightâ€™. I meditated at the end of the day, after dinner â€“ when my wife was watching TV. Youâ€™ll want to find a quiet place in a room that is comfortable temperature wise â€“ and where you wonâ€™t be disturbed. For some of you, your basement will work wellâ€¦ I used the spare bedroom â€“ we didnâ€™t have basements in Florida.
So, your goal for the first few weeks and probably months â€“ is to train your mind to be able to focus on the tiny spot where your breath enters and exits.
is it difficult? Youâ€™ll have to try it. Look at it as a gameâ€¦ but, itâ€™s a game you will not lose. In the end, through perseverance, you will win! You will beat the mind, and control it. You will break your mind, so to speak.
You have to look at it like â€“ there is no other option, but to break the mind and be the winner. If you give up â€“ you might as well go back to medication as treatment for your problem because medication works in most cases â€“ if you donâ€™t mind taking it. I really mind taking it. I hope you do too.
Meditation is the perfect, natural alternative to medication â€“ and you should give it your ALL to train the puppy to focus â€“ itâ€™s essential.
As you sit and watch the breath at the nostrils you might wonder if youâ€™re doing yourself any good.
You are. It isnâ€™t apparent for a while, but you are building up the strength of your focus. If I can do it â€“ you can do it. My ADD was profound. I was getting the highest scores possible on the assessments. If I can do it â€“ I believe you can do it too. Donâ€™t give up. Youâ€™ll master it, but maybe it will take months to do so. Is it worth it to have a natural treatment alternative to medication?
Of course it is!
8 â€“ More About Training the Puppy
This is, to me, the most difficult part of the process. You must be vigilant to keep bringing the focus back to your focus point at the nostrils each time you notice that the mind got pulled away by something â€“ some distraction.
Youâ€™ll notice as you sit and focus on the breath that there is little real focus at all the first few times, and maybe for a long time. Thatâ€™s OK.
Small distractions â€“ a dog barking, or a neighbor coming home and slamming the car door â€“ will pull your attention away from your focus point. It happens to everyone. There is nobody that can begin meditation and focus for a minute at a time on their first few tries â€“ even those without ADD.
Donâ€™t get upset with yourself at your inability to focus. It will take time, and you are gradually building up to being able to focus for a few seconds, then tens of seconds, then whole minutes at a time. Eventually you will go for 10 minutes and more with a very strong focus and quiet mind.
It is then that you will start to realize the benefits of meditation for your attention deficit problems.
Keep at it â€“ it gets better. It slooooowly gets better and then all the sudden youâ€™ll have some breakthrough concentration periods that give you the hope you need to continue.
If you are still having quite a bit of trouble focusing on the breath and only the breath you might try thisâ€¦
I did this for a while and it was a little bit helpful, but I soon discarded it after my concentration started coming more easily because it is a bit of extra that I think takes away from attention to the tiny part of the nose that is feeling the sensations of the breath entering and leaving the nose.
This came from a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk over 80 years old. He has many books on mindfulness, I believe the name of the book I read was â€œPresent Moment, Wonderful Momentâ€.
He had many exercises for helping one stay focused on the breathâ€¦ he had exercises for going about your day and during meditation.
One exercise was simply to say this in your mind with each inhalation:
“Breathing in, I notice the breath.”
And this with each exhalation: “Breathing out, I let go.”
He used words similar to that â€“ donâ€™t get stuck on the words, just the idea.
This can help you focus and may help you to get past the hump of not being able to focus at allâ€¦ but, I believe that thinking of a sentence each time you breath in and out takes the focus off the sensation of just the breath on your nose and also opens a doorway for other thoughts to come into your mind easily since youâ€™re using words in your thoughts and the words are from memory â€“ and you really want to quiet your memory.
I used short phrases like this for a couple weeks when I first started and they did help. But, I quickly discarded them when the mind calmed enough that I didnâ€™t need them.
Try it and see if it helps you calm your mind and relax your body as you first start sittingâ€¦
9 â€“ Thoughts
What is thought?
As you go through the steps Iâ€™ve shown you â€“ youâ€™ll see that there are many types of thought that are flying through your mind â€“ trying desperately to get your attention to follow them.
Sometimes youâ€™ll be sitting to meditate and realize 10 minutes later that you were thinking about something that happened at work, or with your partner, or kids, or anything â€“ literally.
When you notice that your attention is not concentrated on your breath at the nose, just refocus and come back to it.
Donâ€™t berate yourself for losing focus â€“ itâ€™s going to happen. It happened to me over and overâ€¦ it is natural. The mind wants to DO something, not be quiet. Your mind, as a sufferer of ADD is even more active than minds that arenâ€™t troubled. You WILL have many, MANY problems with losing concentration. Everyone doesâ€¦ and that is the gameâ€¦ how many times can you refocus back on the goal?
You need to do it until you win the game.
Thatâ€™s it. There is no other option â€“ just keep refocusing and after the session â€“ congratulate yourself on doing the best job you could.
At first you will likely feel like a loser. Really. I did. Some days were worse than othersâ€¦ but, I couldnâ€™t help but feel like my mind wasnâ€™t acting like I wanted it to. I wanted to be in control of my mind, of my thoughts, of my attention and I wanted to hold a sustained focus on my breath.
I could not.
You cannot either. At firstâ€¦ and then, youâ€™ll break through and start getting fleeting glimpses of focused concentration.
This is what youâ€™re working toward â€“ the first few seconds of focused concentration on the breath.
Once you get there â€“ you can go further. Youâ€™ve done it once. Then twiceâ€¦
If you continue to practice, you will be on your way to a life of peace in your head.
Not joking, itâ€™s really that profound.
Ok, letâ€™s talk more about thought.
Youâ€™ll notice that thought takes many forms. Pictures, sounds, questions, colors and lightsâ€¦ take a minute to close your eyes now and watch thoughts in your head. What are they?
Are they just firings of neurons causing you to remember something? Are they links between things? Are they responses to something your body experiences â€“ to sound, sight, touch, smell, taste?
A thought can be any of theseâ€¦ and combinations of these. With ADD your mind is running amuck â€“ so there may be multiple lines of thought running at the same time â€“ struggling for attention. This is how I experienced ADD. My mind seemed to always be churning out alternatives to everything I was experiencing. It was like my mind was engaged in a constant evaluation process of everything going on around me.
If I was talking to someone â€“ Iâ€™d hear a noise, and my attention would be pulled to that noise so I could figure out â€“ what was it? What does it mean? Tapping noises that are not in any pattern, were particularly bothersome for me. I had to stop the noise or I couldnâ€™tâ€™ concentrate on anything.
Paper crinklingâ€¦ a rotating fan, a whistle, a dog bark, something dropping, music turning on â€“ stations of a TV being changedâ€¦ these things immediately pulled my attention away from whatever I was doing.
ADD is a real nightmare to have, as you well know.
Today Iâ€™m not struggling with it any longer. I am able to hold my concentration levels high enough to finish 130,000 word fiction novels and more than a dozen other books and more than 30 websites.
I feel like I have a new lifeâ€¦ the 2nd half of my life will be one without ADD. Not that I donâ€™t have any problems whatsoever, but there isnâ€™t anything I want to do now â€“ that I cannot accomplish. If I can write a novel over the course of 2 months of intense concentration â€“ I feel like I can do anything at all and ADD wonâ€™t be a factor in whether I complete the project or not.
Itâ€™s an amazing feeling that I want you to feel also.
The thoughts in your mind are going to win this game for a long timeâ€¦ you must try for longer than that.
Eventually the mind slows and youâ€™ll have periods of concentration. Thatâ€™s when you KNOW youâ€™re winning the game.
Thing is, it might not happen for months.
Can you stick it out for months?
Itâ€™s the fight of your life reallyâ€¦ are you ready for the fight of your life?
Itâ€™s almost ridiculous to consider than this tiny game of focus and refocusing, has the power to change your entire life â€“ who you are, what you are capable of, and your happiness and contentment level in life.
It has all of that power, and more.
If I had known this years ago â€“ what a change I could have made with my life in my teens!
And now you know tooâ€¦ what will you do with it?
You must go head-to-head and beat your mind into submission. There is no other way that I know of â€“ unless you want to fill your body with medication you donâ€™t need.
If you look at thoughts a little bit youâ€™ll see that they start with somethingâ€¦ some sensory input to your brain from your senses is one way. A sound, a light, a movement, a smell, or something else will start your mind working about it. Youâ€™ll notice it when youâ€™re meditating. Youâ€™ll hear a dog bark. Youâ€™ll wonder â€“ why did it bark? Is there someone in the back yard? Fear creeps in. Fear starts other thoughts â€“ the thought train startsâ€¦ thoughts link with information stored in memory â€“ which triggers more thoughts. You might have a 3-minute thought that was started by something as simple as a dog bark.
Our mind was made to do thisâ€¦ it links thoughts with information stored in memory and with other thoughts that relate to it. In people without ADD they can think slowly if they choose. They can stop and evaluate each option as they think â€“ to put together coherent thoughts that turn into something meaningful.
Before meditation I couldnâ€™t do this at all.
Now, any time I choose I can pull it together and think slowly â€“ choosing the line of thought much more clearly than ever before.
I want this for you too.
So again, the game is just to refocus every time you notice that your attention has wandered away from the breath at the spot on the nose where you want to focus.
Itâ€™s free. It costs nothing but your effort and 20-30 minutes of your time each day, which really â€“ youâ€™re giving as a gift to yourself because even if your mind doesnâ€™t quiet down initially â€“ youâ€™re getting the benefit of sitting and being totally relaxed.
I find it odd that our minds never get a break unless we put them through this exercise.
Less than 1% of 1% of 1% of the population of the world consciously slows down and stops the mind using meditation. It is just something that most people never consider.
Now that youâ€™ve considered it â€“ knock it out â€“ and make it happen.
10 â€“ No Rules, No Expectations.
Youâ€™re going to take the typical western perspective that you should be getting some benefit or seeing some result immediately after you start practicing. If that is your aim â€“ youâ€™ll be disappointed.
As I said, it takes weeks and maybe months to see any big change in your ability to concentrate. You must look at each sitting session as an end to itself. It enabled you to relax after a day of â€œdoingâ€ things. Itâ€™s the one part of your day when youâ€™re doing nothing with your body â€“ just sitting. Youâ€™re learning â€“ about yourself. You have nothing to reach, attainâ€¦ there is just you sitting there learning about your mind.
Thatâ€™s quite a bit â€“ and absolutely enough.
Initially you might be able to focus on one complete breath with full mindfulness or full attention and focus.
Or, you may not.
There arenâ€™t any benchmarks to go byâ€¦ no standards that you should be living up to. No accomplishments. Just sit for a while when you feel like sitting, and eventually at some point, your mind will quiet enough that you can focus on your breathing for longer periods of time.
Again, if you can think of meditation as a reward for having gone through another busy and stress-filled day, it will be so much better for you and easier for you to continue it.
11 â€“ Donâ€™t Scratch
This is something youâ€™ll either experience anyway, or you can try it purposefully.
Try sitting outside somewhere when you meditate. On a sidewalkâ€¦ on the porchâ€¦ in a tree house? Iâ€™ve gone to many temples here in Thailand to try to find a very quiet place to meditate and itâ€™s been hard to find somewhere even in Thailand! Caves are the quietest places but there are snakes, spiders, centipedes, bats, and even dogs that think they own the cave sometimes.
This is an exercise to see how your mind worksâ€¦ to see how thought works. It is best used for problems of itchiness, though you could also use pain to focus on. Letâ€™s say you are itchy.
If you are itchy at any time while meditating try not scratching the itch. Yes, itâ€™s torture of some sort. But, it is torture that will teach you something about the arising and cessation of sensation.
I would sometimes meditate in my garage when I lived in Florida. Yes it was hot. Yes it was filled with mosquitoes in the evening. Yes, there were spiders in my garage.
I would sit up off the ground on the pad of an old Jacuzzi left there from the owners of the house before me. I would meditate there and hear a mosquito in my ear and not move away or swat at it. I would feel something crawling on me and sometimes not look to see what it was. I would feel the itch of the mosquito bite and sometimes feel the mosquito land. The mosquitoes are BIG in Florida. I cannot usually feel the small mosquitoes here in Thailand when they land, but in Florida â€“ I often felt them.
Watching pain until it just goes away is one thing â€“ there are some pains youâ€™d want to stop watching and want to start fixing after a minute or so. But, with itches they are great because there is no NEED to scratch them, to rub them. But, the feeling they produce in the mind is that something MUST be done immediately. Often times when I was concentrating on the itch â€“ Iâ€™d have little problem just watching it and not scratching itâ€¦ but, if I went back to focusing on breath and forgot just for an instant that I was watching the itch â€“not touching it â€“ sometimes I would unconsciously just scratch it!
Itâ€™s amazing how the mind can just order the body to do something as a reaction and it takes place quickly and efficiently. I used to be quite surprised that I had just scratched the itch I was trying to ignore sometimesâ€¦
If you are sitting in a hot placeâ€¦ and the sweat is running down your back, stomach, leg, arm, face, neck, etcâ€¦ it will tickle. It may tickle enough that you think youâ€™ll go insaneâ€¦ just one drop of sweat has that power. Watch the feeling. It wonâ€™t kill youâ€¦ and youâ€™ll learn more about the arising and cessation of the sensation of touch, and the effect it has on your mind, and on thoughts.
It’s funny to think about – but, probably you have never in your life not scratched an itch when it arose.
To stop yourself from scratching might be one of the most difficult mind experiments you could do to yourself. Seriously. You must try this…
To see just how strong your mind must be, to show just how in control of your own mind you need to be â€“ to stop the simple act of scratching an itch.
Itâ€™s really an amazing exercise. Do try it!
12 â€“ After Focusing on Breath
When you reach a point where you can focus on your entire breath â€“ closely for 10 breaths or more, 20 or even more â€“ then you will likely have some other experiences start.
Instead of tell you all about that, Iâ€™m going to leave it for another book which I mention at the end of this book, â€œ22 Day Meditation Courseâ€. If you want it on PDF â€“ I can send it for free. If you want it on Kindle â€“ youâ€™ll buy it through Amazon for $2.99.
There is too much to tell you about the different things that will happen once concentration is achieved. If you want to go further with meditation at this point â€“ the door is now open.
If, on the other hand â€“ you have no intention of getting up into the levels of Jhana â€“ then you can stop right here and just focus on your breath for the duration of your sitting exercises. Continue to practice meditation in this way and build your ability to focus for extended periods of time. Your concentration levels during non-meditative hours will reap the benefits of this continued practice. Donâ€™t forget to also practice mindfulness throughout your day too â€“ as both exercises help the mind learn the ability to focus.
13 â€“ Mindfulness
What is mindfulness?
I havenâ€™t talked yet about something that is maybe as important as meditation itself. Mindfulness is like awareness. If you have awareness of what youâ€™re doing right now in this moment â€“ that is mindfulness. Itâ€™s being present in this moment, not thinking about the past or the future â€“ just right here, right now.
Are you here?
Practicing mindfulness is when you are aware of the present moment throughout the day.
Meditation is difficult, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll all agree by now. To focus on the tiny spot on your nose and feel your breath on it â€“ sometimes itâ€™s almost imperceptible, right? I knowâ€¦ sometimes you cannot feel any breath on your nostrilsâ€¦ and yet your focus must remain right there â€“ not wander.
It is quite difficult. Itâ€™s doable though.
Likewise, mindfulness is not easy at first. It may take weeks and months to be able to remain in some state of mindfulness for any amount of time at all.
Itâ€™s right on par with the difficulty of focusing on the breath.
And you thought this was going to be easyâ€¦
I really believe that mindfulness is half the equation when meditating. It may come about naturally as a result of meditation, even if you donâ€™t purposefully practice it – not sure. I used the two together so I cannot say.
In fact, maybe meditation cannot be successfully done without bouts of mindfulness when not meditating. I donâ€™t know.
So, try them both. Donâ€™t leave one out â€“ they are both necessary as far as we know. When you are sitting and watching the breath you are in the present moment. You are being mindful of the present. When you stop meditating and are going through your day, your workâ€¦ try to notice the present moment at times. Catch yourself thinking about the future, the past. Bring yourself into the present.
When I was trying to be mindful I set my watch alarm to sound every 15 minutes. When it went off I was mindful. So, I was mindful 4 times per hour at minimum. Iâ€™d try to extend each time of mindfulness to reach the next alarm â€“ but rarely did. Itâ€™s that tough. After some time I noticed that I was becoming mindful much more throughout the day â€“ with or without the alarm.
You should begin to lengthen your periods of mindfulness during the day. This is easier if you are doing something mindless or repetitive â€“ like the dishes, eating, gardening, working physically, or walking. Each time you become mindful of the present â€“ see how long you can extend this state.
The goals then are to lengthen your period of mindfulness of breath while meditating and lengthening your periods of mindfulness of the present moment during the day when not meditating.
14 â€“ Meditation Experiences
At some point during your meditation you may have good concentration on your breath. It might become effortless and you might be entirely focused on your breath. It will come easily â€“ but, in your mind there is no thought about it â€“ there is very little effort required to focus on your breath â€“ it might just happen on its own.
This is a great place to be inâ€¦
This is where the real benefits to slowing your mind down are beginning.
It might take weeks or months. For many people it takes years of meditating to reach this place, that is too badâ€¦ I wish I could show everyone this simple formula for reaching the place as fast as you will if you practice just like Iâ€™ve explained. It comes in weeks or months, not years. There are many places a person can get stuck â€“ and Iâ€™ve removed all the extra fluff from this process that I can.
If you donâ€™t progress it is likely because you do not sit for 20-30 minutes per day and focus on your breath at the nostrils, and refocus as your attention wanders.
Really â€“ there is no astrophysics here, this is a very simple game to play â€“ but it is difficult to keep forcing yourself to do the same thing over and over and over.
Those that can persevere â€“ will be rewarded with amazing benefits!
There are some odd things that might go on with you after you reach this level of sustained focus.
When I first started to experience them, I thought â€“ surely I was losing my mind.
I didnâ€™t have a meditation teacher to help me, to tell me this is normal. I didnâ€™t have book knowledge about what was happening. I just went with it. I kept as a mantra â€“ â€œlet it goâ€ when a strange experience came up. This was the key to everything, to reaching all the levels of Jhana and conquering ADD.
The strange happenings that may or may not occur during meditation that are â€˜normalâ€™ and not cause for alarm, include but are not limited to:
Slow breathing â€“ 10 to 15 seconds each.
Very, very slow, shallow breathing for extended times.
Stopped breathingâ€¦ the breath may become so shallow that you believe it has stopped.
Numbness in your handsâ€¦ not feeling your handsâ€¦ but, unlike pins and needles of â€œfalling asleepâ€. If you wiggle your fingers or move your hand in this state you can feel things â€“ though the feelings are a bit mutedâ€¦ not quite as sharp.
Numbness, like above, in arms, legs, feet, chest, body.
A feeling as if there was no body.
A feeling of fatness or expanded body, head, mind, consciousness.
A feeling of greatly expanded consciousness whereby one might feel consciousness fill the room or expand bigger than the room, or even reach world-size, universe-size dimensionsâ€¦
A feeling of being at â€œoneâ€ with everything. Seeing no distinction between anything and your own consciousnessâ€¦
A feeling as if your face, skull, forehead, brain, everything responsible for concentration is focused so intensely that the shape of the parts mentioned is forming a pointâ€¦ like an arrow or like your entire face is transforming into a pointy stalactite type shape moving forward into this shapeâ€¦ it was entirely shocking to me the first time it happened, but beyond that point I had the most incredible uninterruptible concentration on whatever subject I chose.
During waking hours â€“ at anytime, not just while meditating, one may begin to feel meditative like states. Walking around, upon waking, while eatingâ€¦ one may become aware of a blissful, alive, mindful state that is accompanied by a â€œlightâ€ feeling â€“ the body is light or absentâ€¦ and the mind is just experiencing without naming in human terms, just using the stored memory about what it is experiencing.
And you thought alcohol and drugs gave you weird experiences!
I can assure you that the experiences above are nothing to worry about. I have experienced them myself and been told by the abbots of Theravada Buddhist temples here in Thailand that these are normal occurrences while meditating on the breath, and what thousands of monks at the temples are trying to experience themselves.
You sit for a whileâ€¦ your mind calms a bitâ€¦ the body calms a bitâ€¦ no major distractions are vying for your attentionâ€¦ painâ€¦ itchinessâ€¦ ticklingâ€¦ emotionsâ€¦ heavy breathingâ€¦ you are fairly calm and you begin to focus on the breathâ€¦
When the focus on the breath has become pretty consistent and you can count 1 breath in complete attentionâ€¦ and another maybe after a thought about somethingâ€¦ you are having pretty consistent moments of concentration on the breathâ€¦ maybe you can pay attention to 3 or so complete breathsâ€¦
There may arise a feeling of something in the handsâ€¦ or the feetâ€¦ or the chestâ€¦ or the stomachâ€¦ or somewhere within the bodyâ€¦
And it is impossible to describe with words but what it might feel like is like some numbness or very faint tinglingâ€¦ Iâ€™ve become very aware of what it is and when it comes I am 50% sure of what it isâ€¦ but, it is not always what I think it isâ€¦ occasionally my hands, arms, legs, feet, toesâ€¦ DO fall asleep because of lack of proper circulation and if I donâ€™t change position soon it will be very uncomfortableâ€¦ If Iâ€™m unsure about whether it is the good tingling or the â€œfalling asleepâ€ tingling I move the part that s affected â€“ just a little bit.
I move it just to see â€“ does it REALLY tingle then? If so, it is probably going to be the â€œfalling asleepâ€ tingling and I move again to check â€“ maybe rub the area with my fingers. If it is â€“ I change positions immediately for a while until circulation comes back to the area. No sense sitting through thatâ€¦ itâ€™s not going away even if you focus all your attention on it â€“ you need to move around!
If the tingling becomes lighter or stays the same â€“ or feels more like an â€œenergyâ€ or a â€œforceâ€ of some sort, I will re-focus on the breath for a while. Often times the feeling becomes strongerâ€¦ sometimes it dies awayâ€¦ no matterâ€¦ if you are attached to the idea of having the feeling â€“ it goes away, almost invariablyâ€¦ better to just let it go like everything else during meditation and continue to watch the breath.
When the feeling becomes strongerâ€¦ and it is almost like a force field feeling of some strange sortâ€¦ I will stop focusing on the breath and instead just focus on nothingâ€¦ I will just sit and feel the force but I am not really concentrating on the force. I am concentrating on nothingâ€¦ and there are usually no thoughts during this timeâ€¦ it is as if the mind has stoppedâ€¦ the â€˜forceâ€™ feeling is still there and sometimes it will be expanding to affect other parts of the bodyâ€¦ it starts to become like a numbness that growsâ€¦
For me if it starts in the hands it usually goes up the arms through the chest and into the legs and feetâ€¦ if it starts in the feet it travels upwards to legs, stomach, chest, shoulders, arms and handsâ€¦ no matter how it goesâ€¦
But, you might find yourself in a state like this sometimeâ€¦ there is no thought â€“ or little thoughtâ€¦ the body feels numbâ€¦ meaning â€“ it feels as if there is not really a bodyâ€¦ if you find your attention resting somewhere â€“ then let it goâ€¦ just sit as you areâ€¦
Once this state comesâ€¦ you may be â€œvisitedâ€ by it occasionally in the futureâ€¦ itâ€™s a sign that your meditation is progressing and you may start to experience incredible Jhana, and other states, shortlyâ€¦
The key to the meditation after this point, I believe, is to keep coming to this pointâ€¦ where there is no thoughtâ€¦ where there is no bodyâ€¦ no awareness of body or selfâ€¦ come to this point many times and just have â€œnothingâ€â€¦
It sort of goes on its own from thereâ€¦ it comes â€œtoâ€ youâ€¦ you are not reaching something â€“ it is coming TO youâ€¦ remember if you think you are pursuing somethingâ€¦ in control of thisâ€¦ if you think that you are becoming somethingâ€¦ someone greatâ€¦ if your head swellsâ€¦ your ego swellsâ€¦ it does not come to youâ€¦
The point of the meditation is to see the experiences that happen during these timesâ€¦. See them and when they fade â€“ let them goâ€¦ donâ€™t attach to them! There is nothing worth attaching to â€“ either the mind candy or the state of nothingness that youâ€™ve enteredâ€¦ not the numbnessâ€¦ not the feeling of a forceâ€¦
Every time you sit to focus on the breath â€“ that is the whole goal at that time. Donâ€™t sit with the intent to â€œget somewhereâ€ with this meditationâ€¦. Just sit and focus on the breath â€“ that is the goalâ€¦ what comes later â€“ the mind experiences â€“ are a by-product of attention to breathâ€¦ and not worth attaching to as important. Let them go as they come.
There are more experiences than those listed above. The levels of Jhana are quite something, each giving a different experience that is absolutely unique and something youâ€™ve never experienced before.
In relation to your ADD issues, when you are starting to have good enough concentration to start having these experiences â€“ you are well on your way to controlling your ADD/ADHD.
Itâ€™s just a matter of continuing. Iâ€™ll explain more in the coming chapters.
15 â€“ Jhana Levels
Jhana is a state of mindâ€¦ a few states, lumped into a group that happen successively, that Buddhists call â€˜Jhanaâ€™.
As I meditated on my own, following this program, I came to experience each of the Jhanas. Over time I came to know them as Buddha knew them before he passed over into what I guess is the last state â€“ nirvana. I am not sure that there is a last state, or whether this is it. I donâ€™t have any desire to keep meditating to go into the Jhanas again and see if I can get to the state the Buddha reached. Thereâ€™s just no desire like that inside me at all. Whether he reached it or not is really not important to me for some reason. I donâ€™t know whyâ€¦ maybe Iâ€™m a heathen at heart? LOL. No really, I just donâ€™t get it â€“ but, any desire I once had to find out â€“ is there any step, any level after Jhana 8 â€“ just went away.
Jhana may happen naturally with you if you follow what Iâ€™ve told you already. This is how it happened with me. I had no real road-map except what I distilled from what the Buddha said and did, and what S. N. Goenka said, according to William Hartâ€™s book.
Buddha didnâ€™t have any road map eitherâ€¦ he kept on with â€˜letting goâ€™ of every experience as it came â€“ and eventually got â€˜thereâ€™.
You can do this too, or at least get to the point I did where your ADD becomes a thing of the past.
Maybe youâ€™ll be interested in seeking nirvana as you get into the levels of Jhana â€“ if you happen to become enlightened, do let me know. Iâ€™ll be interested in your story!
Intentional Slow Breathing to Enter Jhana
If you find that you are very relaxed and able to watch a few breaths in complete attention and mindfulness you may want to try something. At times my breathing slowed naturally and became very shallow and slow during some parts of the meditation. So slow that I could hardly believe I was getting enough air to continue sitting there conscious. I actually felt fear about it – some anxiety that crept up as I realized that my air intake was now 1/3-1/6th what it was before… for me, this precedes my entering the Jhana states.
If it doesnâ€™t happen naturally to you, you can try, through a conscious effort to reach the same state… it may not happen every time you want it to – but I was able to do it sometimes and it enhanced my ability to focus on breathing and also facilitated the start of the Jhana states.
What I did was thisâ€¦ when I had sat at least 15-20 minutes and the body and mind were very calm I just slowed my breath intake down to be very shallow and slow.
I watched to see if the sensation of being out of breath â€“ or needing more oxygen came up. Sometimes it did and I changed back to regular breathing. No problem. Donâ€™t get upset. Donâ€™t put any expectations on your experience. Just try. If it works and youâ€™re able to continue with the shallow breath and slow breathing rate â€“ then do so. For me, this state was followed by losing feeling in my hands or feet â€“ and then, gradually â€“ all over my body.
Sometimes this would happen immediately after changing the breath, and sometimes just a few seconds or a minute after. Sometimes not â€“ sometimes I hovered between entering the state and not. When this happened and I had even one thought that Iâ€™d like to go into the state â€“ the state disappearedâ€¦ sometimes it did not return for that sessionâ€¦ other times the chance to enter the state would come again â€“ but if I â€˜wantedâ€™ the state â€“ it would go awayâ€¦ that is consistent with nearly every experience that I had during meditation. If I wanted it â€“ on whatever levelâ€¦. It would go away. If I was experiencing a different state- and was in the middle of it â€“ the midst of it â€“ and I had the slightest idea that I wanted to KEEP the state or remain in it â€“ it would usually just go away and be unreachable.
On the other handâ€¦ if you are ambivalent about the experiences â€“ as I usually was, the states and experiences seem to come one after the other.
I started to have long periods of this feeling of â€œone-nessâ€ with all that existsâ€¦ just walking around Iâ€™d be in the present moment for hours at a time and in another world so to speakâ€¦ yet fully able to respond to people and hear what others are sayingâ€¦ but there was this peaceâ€¦ this calm inside that was unlike anything Iâ€™ve ever read about or since heard about.
There was a complete absence of the old person that used to existâ€¦ there was an immense understanding of all that isâ€¦ on a level that is impossible to describeâ€¦ and yet here I am trying again to describe it. It’s almost ridiculous to try to describe the experience – I wish I could just give it to you with a secret technique or a whisper in your ear or something. Failing that, I have to keep trying to tell you that it exists – so you try. I know that some of you will get it… as I said, I wasn’t deserving of it because I did anything special or because I was anyone great.
I don’t believe in the idea that I have been reborn and reborn closer and closer to this point where I became ready to have these experiences â€“ like some Buddhists say. Maybe it’s true, but I wouldn’t have any knowledge about that… I just continue on like it isn’t true and that anyone can have these experiences. I really believe that you can have them too if you just make the effort.
OK, back to slowing down the breathing â€“
Now, please don’t think that you should be able to experience anything like this in the first few weeks of practice, but there is no law that says you cannot. I think it took me a month before I noticed my breathing was slowing down naturally and another two months before I got the bright idea to try to slow it down myself to see what happened.
I don’t know how fast you will progress… this isnâ€™t something that you should be expecting anytime soon.
16 â€“ Benefits of Meditation on ADD/ADHD
For me, it wasnâ€™t until months had passed and I realizedâ€¦
Meditation has started to wipe away my attentional deficit problems.
Today, as I said, I can focus on whatever project I have going. I can build web pages, write books, and engage in whatever thinking I have to do â€“ for hours at a time with little problem with ADD/ADHD.
Am I still bothered by stimuli around me â€“ competing for my attention?
But, there is an underlying calm or balance that has never existed before meditation. There is a rock Iâ€™m standing on that I cannot be knocked off. Iâ€™ve never described it this way before now, but itâ€™s sort of like being a Bobo-doll. You know those blow up clowns or other figures that are about 5 feet high and that have sand in the bottom? When you hit the Bobo doll with something, it bends away and then pops right back to the center.
This is like my state of mind now. It is hit with some outside stimuli â€“ and bends away for a brief instant and is back on the track from that point on â€“ not easily deflected by the same stimuli any longer. My mind is able to refocus on the task at hand and continue it to completion.
Itâ€™s an amazing feeling.
Can you imagine what life would have been like without ADD in the first place? Me neither. If you donâ€™t continue meditating until you reach a point like this â€“ youâ€™ll never know what this medicationless treatment can do for you.
The change in me has been nothing short of astounding. The last few years of peace of mind are worth millions of dollars to me. I gave you everything I know about making it happen in your own life in this short book for less than $5.00.
I think you too can reach this place â€“ it just takes winning the game present in meditation â€“ the refocusing of your mind on your breath while meditating, and on mindfulness of the present moment while doing other things throughout the day.
I really want to hear about your experience with meditation after trying this method. Your comments and questions will help me revise the book where necessary and re-word parts of it to make more sense. Maybe Iâ€™m missing a chapter that I need to write so it makes more sense for more people.
Give me your suggestions and questions â€“ and Iâ€™ll do my best to respond and help.
Good luck to you my friendâ€¦ I sincerely wish you the same peace of mind Iâ€™ve found with this simple process. A mind that is sometimes free of distractions â€“ and razor focused, and always able to refocus on the task at hand.
Here are more books Iâ€™ve written that you might find interesting:
â€œ22 Day Meditation Courseâ€
This is a much more complete course about meditating in the simple way Iâ€™ve taught you here.
â€œWhat is the Point of Life?â€
What is the point of life for you? If there isnâ€™t one, then youâ€™re just spinning your wheels â€“ but, to what end? This book helps you ponder the question.