A Different High – Tom Carroll and Meditation

Gra Murdoch
Talking Heads

The first instalment of A Different High – Ray Collins and Jiu Jitsu – provoked a spirited comments section where we wrestled (see what we did there?) with the pros and cons of a pursuit where injury appears inevitable.

For this iteration of A Different High, TC yaks with us on the blower about the role meditation’s come to play in his life.

Just a note, the purpose of this column isn’t to ‘compare’ pursuits against each other, or size them up as substitutes for surfing, rather to explore different things surfers do when they’re not surfing, and how such pursuits might enhance a surfer’s life.

Tom Carroll. 59, meditating for 14 years

I came to meditation through recovery from addiction, and my head was a mess – you don’t come out of that sort of stuff in a nice serene state. 

Though it was suggested and talked about in the treatment centre as a great tool for recovery, it took a while for me to come to it. At that time my head was so busy I couldn’t pay attention to anything or anyone, so it felt really hard to start. 

So, there was a person hosting a meditation group in the treatment centre, it was a five-minute practice, just sitting in a chair, in a circle, (not sitting on the ground in lotus position or any of that), just five minutes of sitting still, eyes closed, noticing your breath, counting the exhalations. That was my first experience, in one of those classes.  

I’ll never forget thinking, “fuck, there’s NO WAY I can sit still for five minutes!” My gluey mind was so caught up in addiction, and so attached to the thoughts I was having, I could barely sit with myself at all, but somehow I knew it was what I needed.

I’d see it in it in some of the older crew, cleaner members, some with over twenty years of sobriety, who were practising meditation – they had a real calmness about them, and I was like, “I want THAT!”  

So for me, I guess I had to be in that dire situation to wake up to the possibility that meditation could offer me anything… But really, you don’t need to reach the state I was in to come around to it. 

And so, the five minutes started, and I was off and away.

Tom sitting still and "opening up the space beyond that constant dialogue of thinking" (Mary Graham)

I was instructed that – despite the ADHD or whatever I might have had – to do whatever it took to stop and sit, and that the regular practice of putting myself aside, and just noticing my breath and my thoughts would, over time, be beneficial to the rest of my day. 

It takes effort to get into a rhythm of doing it every day, even just five minutes. It’s amazing how the mind can try to convince you there’s other things to do instead. 

And it seemed brutal at the time, because I couldn’t sit, but I got past that in about two months.

Lo and behold, within a few months, I started feeling the sense of getting some space between my thoughts – and between my first thought and action – which was hugely important for me, because I was compulsive and, well, just disastrous really! 

I started to feel the difference, and other people saw it, so they were confirming it as well. It was like, ‘fuck this is actually working!’ – it was very cool.

It’s no instant thing, it really does take time. (That said, after meditation, I always feel nice and settled, so there is kind of an ‘instant’ effect at work.) 

But meditation isn’t so much about that sense of relief, it’s more about how your mind operates and reacts for the rest of the day – how it is, Right Now.

There’s 1000 different styles and ways to meditate, but what it basically is, is allowing us to be the witness to our thoughts.

It’s sitting and opening up the space beyond that constant dialogue of thinking in our minds.  

Like, there’s something in me, something pulled back, that’s aware that I’m talking to you right now. Something detached from my thoughts and actions, that goes to the core of who I am. This is consciousness. 

And an awareness of that consciousness, an ability to understand it, even in our limited way, gives us a method to not get so caught up in the dramas playing out in our minds. 

It’s a beautiful place to become aware of, and allow to be aware, because that’s who we really are, it all manifests from there. We THINK we are our thoughts… but what’s actually thinking that? It’s kinda trippy but that’s why we meditate, to not be so vested in every thought that comes along – and then we impose that illusion on the world. 

Fact is we actually have no control over the thoughts that come into our mind, but we CAN control how we react and respond to those thoughts, by being able to observe them. It’s best described by a term used to the point of cliché these days – mindfulness. 

It feels to me like there’s an urgent calling to be a witnesser of our thoughts. To be able to pull back and witness gives us the choice to place a space between our first thought and action. There’s real freedom in that –  there’s NO freedom in constant thought – “I’m just thinking too much… I can’t stop… Aaarrrgh!” 

And that freedom we gain – by being able to step back from ourselves – translates into a super important transformation, allows us to REALLY engage with where we want to go in our lives… which might be frothing over something we really love doing. Whether it’s art or music or dancing or surfing or training or whatever. 

Mindfulness is generally perceived as something soft and mellow, but it actually sharpens purpose, potency and froth. 

Whatever we need to increase that level of froth… Mindful Frothness! Ha!

The meditation I practice is the Vedic technique. I’d been meditating for about a decade, and my practice felt like it was starting to wane, (despite the fact I knew it was very important to me), when someone came into my life four years ago and showed me the Vedic technique.  

The Vedic technique involves using a mantra – a repeated word-sound vibration that has inward orientation, which is the opposite, neutralising direction to the outward orientation of our thoughts. This kind of ‘charms the mind’, to go to that transcendental source. Transcendental meaning ‘to go beyond’ – beyond the thinking mind. 

For me it’s twenty minutes, twice a day. Every now and then I’ll miss a session but I’m devoted to it. That’s been playing out for the last four years.

Recently I’ve started teaching meditation (since last October) and it’s been an amazing thing to share, as I keep learning myself.

There to share - Tom hosts guided early-morning meditations on Instagram

The biggest requirement for meditation to be effective is – now this is a word that turns people off because it’s got so many connotations to it – but it’s about discipline.

It’s a discipline that turns into a devotion –  because it’s such a positive thing to put into our life, that after a while you think, “I’m definitely gonna get my meditation in before anything!” That’s devotion.

You get to see clearly, “this is how I function WITH meditation, and that’s is how I function WITHOUT meditation” – and for me at least, it isn’t as nice an experience of life. 

There’s a few understandable misconceptions around meditation. The first one’s, “What’s it doing for me, just sitting down, breathing and doing nothing?” We’re all so busy, and many of us get by absolutely fine without meditation in their life, so it’s hard to see where it might enrich their experience. 

But I think no matter who we are, many of us have anxieties in our lives that we can’t quite shake off, they might be small and subtle, but they’re there. And they might drive us in a certain direction, or disconnect us from other parts of ourselves we’d love to give expression to. So meditation’s not just a way to help get a life back on track, it’s also a way to optimise even the most well-adjusted existence. In a way that can keep going as long as you want it to.

Another classic misconception is a lot of people write themselves off and say, “I’m a shithouse meditator, I can’t stop thinking, I can’t sit still,” and so they give it away before giving it a chance to gain traction. 

The fact is everyone wrestles with themselves at the start. This is where guidance comes in, and I think that’s why having a group meditation experience, and personalised instruction, can help people gain a foothold. 

Surfing and meditation go beautifully together I reckon. 

People often say, “surfing is my meditation” and it does have a meditative affect, because our mind is filled with something all-encompassing, so we get relief from the constant barrage of ourselves, our thinking. This is why surfing’s such a lifeline to so many people. 

Almost without us understanding why, or being able to articulate it, surfing’s kind of an incidental meditation.

It’s funny, you hear it expressed in the sometimes cosmic language used: “Gotta be in The Now… I got in the barrel, man… the whole thing slows down… I’m tripping out!” We’re so connected to the moment. It’s similar to meditation, which is available to us any time, anywhere. 

By its nature, meditation takes us further down the path. We create a discipline around it that becomes a devotion with enough time, and being the witnesser gives us the beautiful distance from our constant thinking that allows us to really be, and look after, ourselves.

I’d recommend meditation to anyone, from those experiencing anxiety, or are overstressed, to those who are seeking more creativity, coherence, adaptability. There’s so many benefits that come out of what you’re prepared to put in.

// TOM CARROLL (as shared with GRA MURDOCH)

• Through the month of February, Tom will be hosting ten-minute breath-based ‘Stage One’ meditations, three mornings a week (Tues/Turs/Sat) at 5:50am on IG Live @thomasvictorcarroll. Tom’s sessions are bookended by some classic, warm-hearted and often whimsical TC musings. Check it out, and tell Tom Swellnet sent ya.

• If you’ve got a question for Tom about Meditation, post it in the comments here and if we get a coupla we’ll have a follow up yarn with TC.

• Also recommended by the interviewer is the ‘Waking Up’ guided meditation app hosted by neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris.

Comments

juegasiempre's picture
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juegasiempre Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 10:56am

+1 for meditation from me. I don't do it as a daily practise but as needed over the years. I'd also recommend doing the Wim Hof method as it has a direct carry over to surfing and although there's a world of difference between saturating the fuck out of your body with oxygen and then not breathing for 2-3 minutes and holding your breath when you're getting driven down to the bottom of the ocean by a 6ft wave and your heart is beating like a bongo drum, it really has personally jacked up my confidence in the surf.

If you don't know where to start with meditation, I'm reading a book at the moment called 'The power of now' by Ekhart Tolle. It will make you a better partner, parent, sibling and human if nothing else. The cool thing is if you think it's all bullshit, give it a try and see how your life changes. Don't take my word for it.

Also, as I age it's cool to see Tom Carroll bang out pullups and shred in the surf, like how Tony Hawk is way cooler now than ever before. If you write an article of how he pulls bulk cones, I might have to rip all the JJF posters off my wall and put up some of TC!

I'd also recommend high dose Ketamine, high dose mushrooms or Ayahuasca for drugs to sort out a troublesome ego. But probably start with the meditation first!

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 12:13pm

Hmmm...
PON to me just seemed like pure marketing and NLP - complete rip-off / a cheap version of Buddhist teachings and practices.
Meditation is a lifelong practice, and the funniest thing is, one is not trying to achieve anything, non-selfish. It's all about the practice, the "Middle Path". Drugs = not a middle path.

juegasiempre's picture
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juegasiempre Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 12:45pm

Pretty much agree except for the drugs. There's ego inflating drugs (Cocaine, Alcohol, Meth, GHB) and ego destroying drugs like the ones I listed. They're pretty much on the opposite ends of the spectrum and can't be wrapped up together.

I consider surfing ego inflating as well, on the level of Cocaine. Both are addictive, both never give you satisfaction except in the temporary sense, no matter how good the coke/wave is, it's forgotten instantly and you want MORE and you take MORE until it's all gone, both will have you burning your fellow human for another hit.

When will it ever be enough for Slater/Fanning/Parko and co? How many set waves/barrels is enough in one life? How many world championships? Do you see them sacrificing their spot in the lineup to let Joe Blogs on their outside take the wave? Or even us as average surfers? On a personal level, it's a dog-eat-dog world in the lineup and fucked if I'm going to give away MY wave.

So, it's important to balance that out, ideally with meditation and helping out, but certain drugs can get you there faster. Especially if you have a fucked up ego (addiction, destructive behaviour, et al). Ayahusca and other drugs can get addicts straight with only one experience, conventional medicine/therapy can only dream of that efficacy. Can you get to the same place with meditation? Absolutely, but try getting someone in that headspace to meditate as a daily discipline!

I consider even being on this forum and posting my opinion too egotistical even though I tell myself I give my experience/opinion to help others. As those hippies say, 'We can always be kinder'. All the best....Time to get back to work :(

Ape Anonymous's picture
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Ape Anonymous Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 1:16pm

Best description of "ego" I ever heard from Monastics was 'the thing that pulls memories down from the stream of consciousnesses and into perception'. But at the same time, 'The Way that can be spoken of is not the Eternal Way' - I Ching.

Totally agree with the surfing drug. friend of mine recently went to hospital for a burst appendix. They loaded him up on opiates. He describe it as "less intense than an 8 foot wave on a 6'6" ", subsequently has spent the past 9 months trying to ween-off of the surf addiction after the realisation that the adrenaline rush is literally addictive, and not a middle way, not healthy in the long term.

As surfers, how do we have a healthy transition from addiction, and into old age, whilst still retaining fitness?

juegasiempre's picture
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juegasiempre Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 9:34am

As surfers, how do we have a healthy transition from addiction, and into old age, whilst still retaining fitness?

That's a surfing Koan, isn't it? I don't know but I'll give you my take. I believe it comes down to two things, place where you surf and intent. I live on the GC now and no matter where I surf, I don't live up to my ideals of who I want to be as a surfer. It's a war zone and if you show weakness, you'll be decimated. I make an effort to be cheery and say G'day and sometimes, people look at me like I've abused them but then realise I'm just being friendly, so is their shock. If I float around in a Zen like state, I'm going to get eaten alive by the other surfers and go home frustrated. I've been saving all my money my whole life and I plan on living abroad in the near future once COVID is over and I'll be searching for big, long period, low wind mainland beachies in a couple of Latin American countries and once I find a cool spot, I'm planting my arse there. I'm lucky to have the support of my partner as she's a Latina. No cameras, minimal people and just me vs the ocean for the mental and physical challenges.

We've also got a son on the way and I'll be pushing him into the aforementioned big beachies, not so he becomes a rad surfer. Because everything you want is on the other side of fear and the ocean can be a scary place. Ditto with skateboarding. I'll also be showing him Mason Ho, Clay Marzo and (old) Rob Machado on how a surfer should be and how they should act. As surfers I believe we must always humble ourselves because unchecked, surfers can be arseholes. Meditation is a great way to do that.

If my future plays out like that, I'll be giving back to the local communities however I can to turn my gratitude into action because I'm only in this situation because I was born in Australia, the lucky country.

That's my take. I could be way off the mark.

toncie's picture
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toncie Wednesday, 10 Feb 2021 at 3:28pm

Switch to SUPs ?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 12:21pm

Your body is already at 99% oxygen

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 2:37pm

What do you mean by that? Are you coming from a philosophical or a biochemistry angle?

udo's picture
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udo Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 2:52pm

Re the Wim Hof method 1st post and Saturating your body with oxygen

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 2:52pm

Ah yes, cheers, I'll check that out.

yeti's picture
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yeti Monday, 8 Feb 2021 at 9:24am

If like me you couldn't stand The Power of Now BS then try Sam Harris "Waking Up", which has a much more scientific approach to the subject.
His app with guided meditations (same name) also did it for me.

Gra Murdoch's picture
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Gra Murdoch Monday, 8 Feb 2021 at 10:42am

Agreed Yeti. I'm also a fan of Sam Harris's approach.

Baron von Spatula's picture
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Baron von Spatula Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 11:42am

... navy, grey and teal are popular hues with Tom.

sacash's picture
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sacash Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 11:52am

better than the meth

Ape Anonymous's picture
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Ape Anonymous Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 12:07pm

Recommendations from a Buddhist mediator: First go for "How to Meditate" by Kathleen McDonald - a nun. Then once you can sit full lotus for an hour you'll need serious guidance from an experienced "advisor".

Careful who you choose as a guide, try not to attach to any conclusions found during meditation.

owgoodaquads's picture
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owgoodaquads Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 10:00am

Agreed, and like the saying, if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him (or at least run the other way)

philosurphizingkerching's picture
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philosurphizing... Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 12:27pm

timothy-leary

Basil's picture
Basil's picture
Basil Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 2:18pm

"Your future is right ahead of you, your past is exploding behind you....."

Best quote ever!

lawncigar's picture
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lawncigar Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 2:49pm

that's not so bad coming from a person who gave people massive doses of LSD and then locked them in a room ... "just to see what would happen..."

Patrick's picture
Patrick's picture
Patrick Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 1:26pm

As it is.

Patrick0710's picture
Patrick0710's picture
Patrick0710 Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 1:54pm

Trying to control the mind is like to raising your hand to try and stop a cyclone. So they say.

But yeah, nah, to Power of Now. Had to put it down cause I felt like ET was trying to con me..

nevertuold's picture
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nevertuold Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 2:02pm

I found Kriya yoga and tibetan breath work along with some sauna/cold water therapy amazing for my mental health along with a few DMT hits from time to time (mushrooms saved my life). Trying to get back onto the "good path" atm after falling off again. Life itself is like riding a wave or the eb and flo of the tide. We all fall down the hardest part is picking ourselves up again and with non judgement.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 2:28pm

Thanks to Tom and Gra.

Interesting and definitely makes me curious. Tom sounds like an articulate, considered fella.

I’ve experienced brief moments of the above described when anxiety / emotion has threatened to overwhelm and focus on breath brings on inner calm but have never pursued it outside of acute need or as a daily maintenance . I gave it a go and it’s quite difficult. Will persevere.

Again, cheers.

san Guine's picture
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san Guine Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 2:36pm

Thanks Gra and Tom for a different kind of high, fantastic topic.

I would highly recommend Mindfulness, proven efficacy, nil religious connotations.

Also best book I've read in ages "Breath" by James Nesbitt, it totally changed the way I thought about breathing and the way I breathe.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48890486-breath

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 3:46pm

This is worth a watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZtJmBPDf8I
and the one where he meets Nestor

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 8:45pm

Yes concur re Nester book, have read and ties in nicely with book I mentioned in other post.
He has quite a good interview with Joe Rogan on his podcast...
Explains book in an hour n half....

Agitator's picture
Agitator's picture
Agitator Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 3:36pm

The Real Meaning of Meditation....for those who may be interested in the truth.

From an interview with Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler)

QUESTION: People often talk about meditation. Can you please explain what it is all about?

JAGAD GURU: Usually when we think of meditation, we think of someone sitting quietly with his eyes closed and not having anything on his mind at all. Others talk about meditat¬ing on a dot or some object. But in fact, this is not really what meditation is. Meditation is the placement or the focusing of a person's consciousness - his mind, his heart, his entire being - on the Supreme Person or on the Absolute Truth. According to the yogis and ancient scriptures, meditation specifically means having your mind focused on the Supreme. Meditation is not your mind focusing on anything. This may be concentration - concentrating on a tennis ball or a form of a woman. But that is not meditation. Meditation means the object of your attention or consciousness is the Supreme Absolute Truth

https://www.jagadguruchrisbutler.org/interviews/the-real-meaning-of-medi...

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 6:47pm

Psychobabble like that makes me want to run a mile from meditation, at least the sort that you're putting forward.

theinsider's picture
theinsider's picture
theinsider Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 6:46am

In the Yoga Sutras of Patajalini - which is generally regarded as the definitive guide to yogic meditation, the state of meditation is called dhyana, or effortless concentration upon the sense object. There are a number of stages preceding this, yama, niymana, (behavioural observations) asana (posture), pranayama (energy control through breath) pratyahara (sense withdrawl) & dharana ( effortful concentration) - and only one after this, which is Samadhi, or bliss.

In this tradition, based upon the philosophical system of samkyha, there is a concerted effort to keep God out of the picture, so meditation could indeed be upon a tennis ball - as long as the concentration is sustained and effortless, a tennis ball will do just fine.

Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa is a teacher in the ISKON tradition, (Hare Krishnas) which is an isolationist stream of Bhakti Yoga, which is 100% God focussed and probably not the best source of definitive authoritative on meditation yoga tradition - although I'm sure they have some good ideas too.

It's probably important to understand that different traditions present differing ideas on defines meditation and the paths to realise this experience, although they are seemingly mostly united under the idea that meditation is a practice of settling the mind and emotions.

steve mcallon's picture
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steve mcallon Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 3:49pm

Sit quietly...dive into your consciousness.....which is also everyones consciousness.....and ride the waves of bliss..bliss consiousness.

blitz's picture
blitz's picture
blitz Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 4:10pm

Is it me or is tom looking decidedly like the farmer from the shaun the sheep show with those cool specs on...- .https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/707417053957825701/

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 6:30pm

Wim Hof then some quiet meditation has been great for me.
Find the breathing gets me quicker into a meditative state.
Have had some quite trippy experiences, similar to mild mushroom trip whilst meditating. Rare but interesting, and have not done any schrooms for 10plus years and only a handful of times.
Great book by Robert Wright, 'Why Buddhism is True' which delves into some of the science behind meditation.
☮️

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 6:18pm

So much to ponder, so many questions I have that for now, will remain unanswered.

I really like the cat.

Cats are cool.

theolderIgetthebetterIwas's picture
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theolderIgetthe... Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 6:49pm

isn't ketamine actually horse tranquilizer?

heavy gear
not something I'd be recommending

I'll be sticking to a semi regular mindfulness strategy when things get hectic - it's worth getting up earlier on a busy day to do it - you will eventually find that you can access that calm later in the day under pressure

after doing "Mindful in May" a few times I have a range of good 'mindfullnesses' on my phone...

am yet to conquer public speaking tho

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 7:21pm

Also used as an anaesthetic, had it when i had an operation had the whole K-hole trip, its all i could think about for weeks after just a very inspiring experience.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 7:17pm

I wish i could be bothered with meditation and Yoga, both very good for the body and mind, but i just can't be bothered, just the thought bores me crazy.

sunhil's picture
sunhil's picture
sunhil Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 9:04am

Well done indo you have found the best place to start. Just get curious why the thought of it bores you crazy. Some people reject it without ever realising why.

Michael Bourne's picture
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Michael Bourne Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 7:47pm

blowindo is a yoga exponent when he was lecturing on it... well... that's what he said... and now he's got no range of motion and completely fucked knees...

Anyway you should follow instructions properly, and shouldn't be 'comparing' yogerin' to meditatin'... just sayin'...

GuySmiley's picture
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GuySmiley Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 7:48pm

I've irregularly meditated for well over 20 years. I studied an Indian version at an Ashram involving a mantra for some months as a non residential student. I've also attended weekly classes run by Buddhist monks for years which focused on breath awareness with guided images for both the in and out breaths.

My yoga teacher of 15+ years also runs weekly dedicated meditation classes focusing on breath awareness. He also incorporates shavasana pose at the start and end of each of his seperate yoga classes. His yoga classes are very slow and always following and focusing on the breath and ultimately they are meditation ..... that's right a physical yoga class can be meditation. You don't need to sit nor do you have to have your eyes closed to meditate. From what I've read and experienced the mysticism attached to meditation is equally true and false. For most of us meditation can mean mindfulness but it can equally be a very complex matter for the devoted student requiring the correct guidance / teacher.

Try the Plum Village app (free) if you are interested.

PCS PeterPan's picture
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PCS PeterPan Friday, 5 Feb 2021 at 11:03pm

Just spent the last three days digging . My back is screaming , hands trashed with blisters ,my neck is f_-king wrecked . Job done !
Sitting down on the lawn now , looking at this story . Just sitting and not digging feels incredible . I won't need to meditate , but thanks for the story and tips gang .

Optimist's picture
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Optimist Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 5:34am

Gratitude for creation is a nice thing...I like the lyrics from this old Moody Blues song...
"The Balance"
After he had journeyed,
And his feet were sore,
And he was tired,
He came upon an orange grove
And he rested
And he lay in the cool,
And while he rested, he took to himself an orange and tasted it,
And it was good.
And he felt the earth to his spine,
And he asked, and he saw the tree above him, and the stars,
And the veins in the leaf,
And the light, and the balance.
And he saw magnificent perfection,
Whereon he thought of himself in balance,
And he knew he was.

Just open your eyes,
And realize, the way it's always been.
Just open your mind
And you will find
The way it's always been.
Just open your heart
And that's a start.

And he thought of those he angered,
For he was not a violent man,
And he thought of those he hurt
For he was not a cruel man
And he thought of those he frightened
For he was not an evil man,
And he understood.
He understood himself.

Upon this he saw that when he was of anger or knew hurt or felt fear,
It was because he was not understanding,
And he learned, compassion.

And with his eye of compassion.
He saw his enemies like unto himself,
And he learned love.
Then, he was answered.

Just open your eyes,
And realize, the way it's always been.
Just open your mind
And you will find
The way it's always been.
Just open your heart
And that's a start.

theinsider's picture
theinsider's picture
theinsider Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 6:50am

Great to see TC - keep on keeping it real! - Your book, The Wave Within inspired me to start practicing yoga when I was 21, still got that going on, and taking some deep dives into the possibilities of sobriety and meditation and well. Thanks for the inspiration mate, you are a light that burns bright for many.

dinnerdish's picture
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dinnerdish Wednesday, 10 Feb 2021 at 10:49pm

Meditation.... it's not what you think

atha's picture
atha's picture
atha Saturday, 13 Feb 2021 at 11:29am

:)

ndjen's picture
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ndjen Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 1:16pm

There is a lot of new science emerging around the banned entheogens such as psilocybin (mushies), MDMA, LSD, Ketamine, Mescaline, DMT etc. Opiods are a destructive, addictive dead zone. Only useful for dulling physical pain and bringing transient pleasure.

Research at Imperial College London and John Hopkins Medical School in the US over at least a decade has shown massive, lasting gains in people with untreatable depression. The Johns Hopkins work has shown dramatic reduction in death anxiety in the terminally ill and reduced need for pain meds.

Imperial College have scanned the brains of participants during the experience and shown that there is changed activity in those pathways associated with time perception.

Then there is the work with PTSD using MDMA.

Collectively this research suggests that these substances can bring about dramatic, long term shifts in mood and life focus. Whether this is the result of alterations in neural connections in unclear. I have personally seen people with extreme, curl up in a ball and suck my thumb, type depression recover in 3 doses of electroshock. Not for everyone and quite unreliable, but it happens. This would suggest that chemical or electrical alterations to deep, resistant thought circuitry underlies the gains exhibited by the entheogens.

Many of course will dispute this since they had a shit load of drugs as a 17 year old moron (weren't we all?) and all they had was a lightshow or a bad trip. It would appear that these drugs work best when the habitual thought pathways are deeply dysfunctional and that they do a kind of reset that brings us to closer to how we start out in life.

I am sure that meditation is a wonderful health practice and that over many years similar gains can be made. However the evidence suggests that drug and meditation naive people are improved far more quickly using substances that have a long history of safe application in many cultures. They are non-toxic and nonaddictive. You would have to eat a wheelbarrow load of mushies to get even close to the lethal level.

Personally I believe that one of the greatest tragedies of the first world is the banning of substances that have far more to offer than antidepressants and other approved treatments.

While we have a long debate about euthanasia, we ignore the fact that many suicidal people - even those with intractable pain- would not choose that option if their emotional pain- which also drives physical pain- could be alleviated.

We all die and many of us could both live and die better if we took off the medieval blinkers we have placed on science and removed big pharma from every aspect of health.

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andy-mac Sunday, 7 Feb 2021 at 5:52am

Excellent post.

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lawncigar Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 2:57pm

the Zen Buddhist philosophy that "Everyday life is the path" is the one (for me) - dig yr surrounds, meditate on anything, natural or otherwise .. give it a moment ..

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Robo Saturday, 6 Feb 2021 at 9:37pm

Come in spinners

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views from the ... Sunday, 7 Feb 2021 at 9:29am

Spot on Ndjen!
It makes such sense if we accept that our brains (thoughts) are simply just a mix of chemical and electrical interactions and impulses.
For example; I have a couple of mates living with clinical depression and whom without the addition of chemicals via their "meds" would cease to function.
If you met them there is no way you would know they are on daily drug therapy and there is no way meditation alone could resolve their problems.

I really like how TC articulates himself and the fact he loves cats.
Thanks for the article TC and Gra.

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Supafreak Sunday, 7 Feb 2021 at 10:26am

I was getting treatment for depression and sat in on a group where we layed on the floor and closed our eyes and visualised what the speaker took us through . We pictured ourselves as a eagle standing on a extremely high cliff looking down on the world below , then with confidence we fell forward and glided through the clouds lifting up and down , circling and banking our turns . This went on for about 10 minutes. At the end when I opened my eyes I felt unbelievable and my spirits were definitely lifted . I’ve always had problems stilling my mind and tend to have to many thoughts going on lol

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philosurphizing... Sunday, 7 Feb 2021 at 11:21am

Swami Satyanandas Yoga Nidra is a good guided meditation.
Good to do after asanas.

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philosurphizing... Sunday, 7 Feb 2021 at 11:38am

lawnciggy wrote
that's not so bad coming from a person who gave people massive doses of LSD and then locked them in a room ... "just to see what would happen..."

Not sure where you heard this.

But the early experiments he did with fellow Harvard professors Richard Alpert aka Ram Dass and Ralph Meitzer were very scientific giving half the volunteers psilocybin and the other half a placebo.
Good friday experiment.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsh_Chapel_Experiment
He and his colleagues also worked with people in prison giving them psilocybin.
Concord Prison Experiment.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concord_Prison_Experiment

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ndjen Monday, 8 Feb 2021 at 10:43am

I think anyone attempting to do good science with entheogens is caught in a trap when asked if they have used them. Say yes and you get dismissed as a hippy and say no and you don't know what you're talking about. Most neither confirm nor deny.

Personalities like Leary, Allport and McKenna appeared to me to still be on an ego ride even when their drug intake should have smashed their ego to bits.

I also see this in people like Eckhart Tolle- a deeply humble man for the most part- but after Oprah helped him sell a ton of books the last one became yet another "The age of mass consciousness is just around the corner".

Somehow when these teachers get a lot of attention the age of aquarius is only 5 minutes away. I mean it has to be because everyone is talking about them and to them. Or so it appears.

For me, meditation is a healthy practice right up there with exercise, not eating too much takeaway and finding some meaning in your work. For real transformation and breakthrough I don't think the entheogens can be beaten. The difficulty is- as always- integrating these experiences into your everyday life.

When you have conversations with interdimensional entities that seem as real as typing on this computer- then it is difficult to get concerned about the grass getting a bit long.

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lomah Sunday, 7 Feb 2021 at 8:04pm

Has the meditation stopped TC dropping in?

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SI Monday, 8 Feb 2021 at 12:11pm

Haha Loma, awesome comment. Love your work!! Having said that I believe Tom is now on a good path, or at least a way better one than he was. Respect!

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troppo dichotomy Monday, 8 Feb 2021 at 10:37am

Turn on.Tune out.Drop in.