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Meditation and GTD

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  • Meditation and GTD

    In the style of meditation I practice, as thoughts arise one is supposed to let them go while staying with the underlying feelings. In GTD, one is supposed to get thoughts off one's mine by capturing them into a trusted system. I tried meditating with a universal capture device and interrupting as necessary, but that felt wrong.

    It seems to me that the ultimate psychological aim of the two practices is compatible, but there is a tension in this particular point. Anyone have any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    David W.

  • #2
    re GTD and Meditation

    I think the point of GTD is to get enough off of your mind and put into a trusted system that you review regularly so that you can engage in higher-level practices like the meditation you mention.

    If the form of meditation you practice requires sustained focus and concentration -- then you shouldn't interrupt it with capturing your thoughts unless not doing so is keeping you from engaging in the meditation the way you intend. In that case you should capture your thought quickly and then get back to where you were before.

    You can also make a project for this meditation and clarify the primary purpose, standards, and successful outcome vision you have for it. Then you can think more reflectively and critically during your Review times rather than in the midst of your meditation.

    Hope that helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by David W. View Post
      It seems to me that the ultimate psychological aim of the two practices is compatible, but there is a tension in this particular point. Anyone have any thoughts?
      David,

      I've pondered that same questions myself. I think the solutions is to let go when meditating, and ubiquitous capture the rest of the time.

      - Don

      Comment


      • #4
        David's point is that by writing things down as they occur to you, you don't need to keep having that thought so your mind is more quiet. By having a more quiet mind you are better able to be present to whatever happens next. This is the exact same reason/goal of CERTAIN TYPES of meditation--the types of meditation that might be considered concentration exercises.

        It sounds like you are doing a different type of meditation...and since I am not clear on it, I can't comment intelligently--except to say there are many different kinds of meditation and the one you are doing does not sound like one of the typical concentrative type, nor vipassana.

        "In the style of meditation I practice, as thoughts arise one is supposed to let them go while staying with the underlying feelings"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by David W. View Post
          In the style of meditation I practice, as thoughts arise one is supposed to let them go while staying with the underlying feelings. In GTD, one is supposed to get thoughts off one's mine by capturing them into a trusted system. I tried meditating with a universal capture device and interrupting as necessary, but that felt wrong.
          It sounds like your particular variety of meditation is a non-attachment practice: observe your thoughts, but don't get trapped by them.

          If you write a thought down you have implicitly attached yourself to it, in that you've let it yank you out of your meditative state. Oops.

          The only way I can think of to reconcile the two would be to have a recorder running during your meditation session. Then all you have to do is verbalize the thought. But even that would be pushing the edges of the meditation.

          Katherine

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          • #6
            The only time this becomes an issue for me is when a truly NEW thought arises during meditation. Once recognized, I try to make a quick mental note... something like "I need to write this down after meditating" or visualize a light bulb (what a great new thought this is!), and then quickly get back to the object of my meditating focus... breathing for me. I simply trust myself to remember it afterword, and generally I do... I think.

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            • #7
              GTD and meditating are synergistic

              I find perfect synergy between GTD and meditating: specifically the mindsweep and deferred processing.

              Every student of meditation wrestles with “clearing” the mind during meditation, regardless of the technique. (Let’s not quibble over the details and goals regarding meditation practice. As far as I know, all strive to avoid dwelling on the “noise”.)

              The challenge: The more things that are on my mind, the more quickly and aggressively they surface in the initial moments of meditation.

              There are various techniques to quiet the noise, including letting the thoughts go and “trusting” that important thoughts will return. But, many people attempt to park these ideas somewhere in memory to avoid forgetting them. Obviously, this is both potentially distracting and contrary to the GTD foundation of getting things off the mind.

              I find the following two things quite helpful:
              1. Perform a mindsweep prior to meditation
              2. Give yourself permission to keep a pen and paper handy and if numerous ideas bubble up in the first few moments of a meditation session, “interrupt” the session (as if it wasn’t interrupted already : -) and perform a brief mindsweep.

              Obviously there’s no need to do this every time you meditate, just when needed.

              I would be interested in hearing if it works for you.

              Good luck!

              Comment


              • #8
                Hello everyone,

                I just joined up, and am still learning many of these GTD concepts for the first time. Had heard good things about the book and am now taking it upon myself to implement some of these things!

                I have also been getting more into meditation over the last 12 months or so, and when I came across the mindsweep description in the book it did make me think of a technique I have started to do on my own where I'll write down things that need to be done during meditation. This came to me intuitively awhile ago and I'm not yet very organized at it, but I think implementing GTD practice regularly will help me to become more so.

                I like what the previous commenter had to say about doing it BEFORE you meditate, and then during only if absolutely necessary.

                This thread caught my eye as something I could relate to right away. Thanks for the discussion I look forward to reading more.

                -Jay

                Comment


                • #9
                  My first thought was a voice-activated tape recorder, to minimize the disruption and still allow you to capture thoughts.

                  But that doesn't touch the underlying question of whether you should be capturing at all, during meditation.

                  Gardener

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                  • #10
                    In my learning the practice of contemplative prayer according to the Christian monastic tradition, my spiritual director taught me to stop, write down the thought and return to prayer, as quietly as possible. His logic was that one can write down the distraction and move back into contemplation or have the thought stand as a stumbling block to your movement inward. Therefore, we I pray, I have pen and paper close by.

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                    • #11
                      I'm on board with two things. One is, which I seem to recall David Allen saying in a recording, is that one really should try to get reasonably current before trying to be (or become) relaxed. The other is in alignment with the general idea that I understand Jon to have written about (he talks about contemplative prayer). When the mind goes deep, creative thought often spontaneously arises, and it might be a good idea to gently come out of the depth and write the good idea down.

                      I recall hearing (I think it was an audio or video recording) where John Lennon asked what he should do if he had an idea for a song while meditating, and his meditation teacher/guru told him to come gently out of meditation, write it down, then return to meditation. The Beatles wrote quite prolifically in Rishikesh, India.

                      Bob

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bob2006 View Post
                        When the mind goes deep, creative thought often spontaneously arises, and it might be a good idea to gently come out of the depth and write the good idea down.
                        Thanks, Bob. That's exactly what I was trying to say--come quietly back to the surface, deposit the thought to get it off your mind, then go back into contemplation, leaving the thought behind.

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                        • #13
                          This problem is called the "Monkey Mind" in meditative circles; a quick online search will reveal a number of articles about the problem and ways to deal with it.

                          There are a few schools of thought, mainly:
                          1. Ignore it
                          2. Follow the thought and see where it leads
                          3. Write it down for later

                          None of these are wrong; it depends on the situation. The danger of ignoring a thought is that it's unprocessed and will return, but the alternative is disruption of your current meditative activity. Thoughts often lead us down self-indulgent paths that interfere with meditation, but we often must do this to fully process the thought. Writing an idea down interrupts our meditation, but does get the idea off our mind.

                          Practice helps.

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                          • #14
                            About thought

                            .......you cannot ignore a thought! It is a part of yourself!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You mean you don't ever ignore any part of your body?

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