I did not do that well with the "focused intention" meditation on day 3. If I had something in mind, I thought about it, so I went back to not thinking about anything, just breathing. Still, I couldn't settle in and was restless. I gave up after 15 minutes. I'm not too worried about that; any meditation is better than no meditation, right?
The binaural beats meditation I did on the fourth day went a lot better, even though I found out later that I did it wrong. I was still restless, but the music helped me keep my mind clear and stay put. I am trying to look at my restlessness as something I need to work through, not something that needs to be responded to.
I'd never heard of binaural beats before, so I did some research. Turns out you're supposed to listen through headphones! That would have been a good thing for the article I am using to mention.
Without the headphones, it is just relaxing music. With the headphones, it plays a different sound in each ear, and those sounds create a binaural beat in the space. Or, more scholarly sounding, according to Wikipedia, "The brain produces a phenomenon resulting in low-frequency pulsations in the amplitude and sound localization of a perceived sound when two tones at slightly different frequencies are presented separately, one to each of a subject's ears, using stereo headphones."
Binaural beats are good for mediation and relaxation. They're also said to be able to produce a state similar to that of different drugs, such as psilocybin mushrooms, and to aid in lucid dreaming. I tried lucid dreaming when I was younger, but through other means. I didn't have very good results. Now, I'm not as interested in the idea of controlling my dreams.
If you're waiting to hear whether I've tried magic mushrooms, I can't tell you because my mom reads my blog. Not that she cares, but she might feel compelled to tell my dad, and the holidays are coming up, and next thing you know I could be discussing my personal drug use with twenty family members at a dinner table. No thanks! Please pass the salt.
There are also some interesting references in the Wikipedia article to medical studies showing that subjects who have had strokes or have Parkinson's disease can't hear the beats. The human brain is an interesting thing...
I plan to try binaural beats again on the last day of this week, the right way.
Week Nine: Mental Health - Meditation