Anybody else meditate? Have you ever had strange "visions" (subconscious thoughts surface) while meditating?  I meditate on a daily basis and find it very useful for stress - especially in ways that other activities just can't quite root out.  I just wanted to know if anyone else out there does it.

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I do. It's not on a daily basis. More like once or twice a week. I mostly do it for introspection and stress relief. I haven't had any thoughts surface that I'd say were strong enough to be called "visions," but I have found that I can create a near orgasmic feeling at will (most of the time)... which is awesome. Needless to say, I feel pretty happy after that.

I try to do it twice a day - twenty minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the evening (so so desired).  Most of the time I get the evening one in and not the morning one, and During those times I've actually exceeded 40 minutes - the longest being two hours.  When that happens, I automatically think "What the hell?"  It's obvious at that point my subconscious is really trying to work something out - especially if I have had a rough day.

Occasionally, I get "visions."  Basically cryptic messages that my subconsciousness is trying to get me to recognize regarding a certain experience I have had, or a conscious thought I may have produced earlier but didn't quite fully understand (though granted, I don't understand the subconscious visualization either most of the time).  It is definitely not dreaming in the sense of sleep because I am fully aware of what is going on in the room around me, though I lose track of time.  It can be a little freaky, but I definitely feel more refreshed and at peace afterward.

When I first started, I confessed "Why the hell haven't I done this before?"  But then, with my upbringing, the church frowned on such things and all out of their own ignorance.

Interesting. Maybe it has to do the length of time then? I can hardly make it past 20 minutes. Although, my best meditation comes from running. I've been clearing my mind and focusing on breathing for years doing that because I'm slightly asthmatic. I sometimes "detach" from myself and it's like watching a movie with a surround screen. I start to wonder why the camera keeps bouncing. It's weird to lose that sense of self and literally feel displaced from what's happening to you.

"Occasionally, I get "visions."  Basically cryptic messages that my subconsciousness is trying to get me to recognize regarding a certain experience I have had," -

I would suggest that these are because of the stress you've been under.  Quite possibly it's a coping mechanism of an over-strained mind.  Recently I read that one of the main functions of consciousness is to construct stories or explanations of the world so that it makes sense to us so that we can function.  Maybe your brain/mind is having to work extra-hard at the moment to construct its meanings - hence the freaky dream-like images.  I put it to you, each of these has a relevant meaning.  Just listen to them, like you're intended to.  Once you get back to full strength, they will probably disappear. 

I entirely agree.  Although, I do find some of the "visions" inspirational, so the subconscious is more than welcome to keep sending the good ones my way once I am back in the mix.

Maybe some of them are pretty random

Maybe...

Do you have any tips on meditation? I've tried with minimal (some) success, most of what I've gotten from research has proven more or less disappointing overall.

Focus on breathing in slowly, pause, then breathe out and pause.  No matter what - especially more so in the beginning your mind will wander into thoughts that may distract you.  Just acknowledge the thought and then let it go to focus on your breathing.  A dimly lit room with candles helps soften the atmosphere for meditation, as well as quiet.  Also find a comfortable position to sit, stand, or lie down in.  I prefer lying down on my back, hands at either my side or gently lying on my stomach.  Loose fitting clothing helps too.

One major thing I use as well is meditation music.  Meditation music is used to aid in relaxation and focus, and it really helps as a guide.  I have tried silent meditation, but prefer instrumental aid.  There are a host MP3 files you browse through on in iTunes to find what you think would fit you.  There are also apps for smart phones that provide the same thing.  I have one on my android called Meditation moment.  It has settings for 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 2 hours.  I don't typically use this one though because I prefer what I have from iTunes.

Thanks, I think the biggest thing I can take away from this is "Just acknowledge the thought and then let it go to focus on your breathing." At start, my breathing in this fashion seems to be shaky and my mind jumpy, and this seems to not only be effective in "regulating" my breath but surprisingly (for how simple it is) clearing my mind.

Also I found this: http://8tracks.com/explore/meditation/popular    which I know has an android app etc.

Great!  Just remember: focus on your breathing, and above all, don't get discouraged! 

The more you focus on your breathing - slowing it down, taking deep breaths (from the belly and not the chest), and concentrating on the rhythm the more your mind will quiet.

Oh, and there have been plenty of times when I started where my mind jumped everywhere and in frustration I gave up for the evening because my mind wouldn't be quiet.  Yet, every day I was right back at it and it got easier and easier.  It is now a critical part of my daily routine.

"From the belly, not the chest" was the reason the breathing was a little shaky-- assuming that probably takes a while to get used to as well.

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