Was surfing Wikipedia yesterday, and found that Science! says that among non-drug treatments for anxiety studied (a meta-analysis), they generally showed efficacy of similar magnitude, with one exception: Transcendental Meditation (TM) had outsized efficacy in reducing anxiety. (Wikipedia: Anxiolytic) Comparisons included Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and EEG Biofeedback. I scanned the TM article and it appears to be a pretty ordinary sort of mantra meditation. In this case, TM recommends sticking to a particular mantra, focusing attention on it silently in sitting meditation for 20 minutes, 2x per day. And not revealing your mantra to anyone.
In TM, you would be assigned a (ancient Sanskrit?) mantra by a teacher. But with the principles of “By the book is only one way; what way works for you today?”, rejection of any ‘totalizing systems’, personalization of treatments/practices, etc, you can make your own mantra, no teachers required.
As it happens, I came up with (received from the ether?) a mantra for myself during/after an Experience last fall, though haven’t much used it. I meditate fairly regularly, so gave it a shot for about 15 minutes this morning, and was pleased with the results/experience by comparison with my usual unfocused/unstructured attempts at mindfulness meditation (etc).
A few pointers. 20 minutes may seem like a pretty tall order, and indeed, when I first attempted meditation seriously (alone without instruction, except one book) (August 2007) it took many tries before I could even sit reasonably still. I was still in a lot of (well masked) mental disorder from the events of 2004 then, though (long story; college logic courses circa 2006 helped a lot; the intro could easily be made a core course for high school sophomores).
Pointers continued. Even 2 minutes of ‘meditation’ however you construct it is more helpful than none we believe. But T Thorn Coyle says that 20 minutes can actually be easier than 10 because, ~”the parts of you that think they will die if they sit still one more moment tend to calm down after that [10 min?] and other, deeper, parts begin to operate more clearly”~ (tildes for paraphrase from memory).
Set a timer, or you will not normally sit very long. Stick it out until the timer. If you fall off the wagon, (about once a week for me recently), it is totally okay to start at 10, 12, or even 5 minutes to get rebooted into the routine.
For a variety of reasons, I would suggest choosing a nonsense word for a mantra. In the spirit of the exercise, I’ll not reprint mine here, but it has five syllables and is not clearly drawn from any other exact words. Using words whose meanings you already know can 1) keep the verbalizing circuits of the brain tightly engaged, hampering the purpose of this type of meditation, and 2) constrain the mind into tracks associatively related to that particular word(s) impeding one’s reception of necessary and/or unexpected insights in other domains of life, or the settling in of mental quiet in general.
Often what we want or fixate on is not the same as what would most benefit us on any particular day. They may be complementary, at odds, or unrelated, but do, of mathematical necessity, tend to be not-the-same-things.
By the way, you can still download my ebook, Synaptic Syntactic: of unbounded phases and entangled echoes for free from Noisetrade.com. I will have a PDF added that soonish (had some lightning issues with the old machine, and got busy with other things), but the .mobi and .epub ebook file types can be read by a plethora of free programs on any device from cellphone to macbook. Printing from ebook may be a more rare feature, but I imagine it exists if you look. I have also created a shortlink for it for easy recall, so please share! https://v.gd/synapticebookfree
The first-regular-job-in-awhile, Starbucks barista, is going well so far, and looks to be that I’m set in a much more stable groove jobwise, than in years past.
Also, real interesting article, Politico: Anti-Trump Independents are Starting to Organize ; I’ve also made a shortlink for that for easy recall: https://v.gd/antitrumpindies