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Multiple meditation techniques exist, and these techniques have different perspectives on what meditation is and they all expect different results from meditation.
The problem is that the different skills you gain from these techniques, while sometimes conflicting, are all useful and desirable in their own unique way. The approaches that these different techniques show you are also all useful and desirable in their own unique way.
While we'd all like to possess the ability to let go and reach an effortless state of consciousness that exists beyond waking and sleeping, we'd also like to possess the ability to concentrate and focus at a higher level of consciousness. One method asks that you let go completely and use absolutely no effort whatsoever and let the mind clear itself to ascend (or descend) to a place free from negativity, desire, stress. The other method asks that you take complete control and make an effort to discipline the mind so that it can focus on thoughts with more power and more depth than ever before--without distraction or wandering.
There are more techniques than the two I've described, with other intentions and methods. People seem to choose one school of thought and stick with that.
I feel that as you progress in one area, your abilities in other areas will atrophy, or it will be more difficult to develop those abilities. My thinking is that meditation is a habit and different types of meditation are different habits that can conflict with each other. It's similar to acquiring the habit of smoking while also acquiring the habit of being straight edge.
Can anyone provide some insight on this? Can it be done? Is it possible to master (or at least come close to it) both being able to completely let go of everything to achieve effortless consciousness, and being able to completely focus and concentrate on certain thoughts with as much mental effort as possible? I've read that techniques that use mental force will hinder your progress with techniques that use no force at all... so it's either that you learn how to be a master of concentration or a master of thoughtlessness, but I'd like to experience both.
I want to be able to slip in and out of different modes of consciousness for different areas of life. Some of my mental goals at the moment are:
* Developing complex visualization skills, being able to retain detailed images for as long as possible. * Achieving deeper concentration and increasing memory. * Silencing the mind and being able to exist within the Now. * Exploring the self at a higher level. * Relaxation.
Meditation is far more difficult than I thought. It is not easy and many people give up early on from the frustration.
Completely possible. Think of it like playing several different instruments or focusing on one. You may improve faster if you focus on just one, but this does not make it impossible to learn more than one up to a high level.
Also, just like different musical instruments all just lead to 'music', all paths of meditation/yoga/mindfulness/etc lead to the same state anyways.
The most important thing imo, is to not focus on any particular goal when meditating. Instead just allow your mind to flow and ebb naturally- observe that. With time, these goals that we want out of meditation will happen and come about- but in my experience consciously seeking only leads me to getting further lost.
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