Zen, Yoga, Meditation and Trading

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by Karma Yogi, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. Was going to start a blog, but figured its better to start with a jounal on this site. I've been interested in zen, yoga, meditation, and other tools for developing (or getting rid of) the mind for a while - but it was always an intellectual interest rather than a practical (practice based) approach.
    Then I started trading and the market has a way of eventually exposing: that you have no free will, your always stuck on one thing or another, your always talking to your self, and hope for the future is pointless because there is no future - there's more but I'll add later.
  2. I have been meditating daily for over 13 years now. I lived in an intensive retreat situation for about half of those years and devoted alot of my time to the physical (yoga postures or asanas), diet, fasting, the mental (cultivating universal sentiment) and spiritual (Mantra meditation/ breath control "pranayama", chakra conception/ purification and Dhyana (non-dualistic association with inner self).

    Has it helped my trading? Yes. Although not how you might expect. Most people think that meditation basically makes you peaceful and passive and to some extent that is true, however, meditation acts as a kind of supercharger on the minds magnetic potential, attracting to you people/ideas/events that your inner self deems neccessary for you growth. It will bring you those things at a seemingly faster rate than now because meditation has a subtle effect on your brains hardwiring. Also, it magnifies your "vrittis" or propensities, anger/hatred/doubt etc.they do not magically go away. Infact they are just as they have always been - playing wth your mind, and sometimes I feel it is worse than before, especially on a bad day. You see, it is the inner self that does not want the ego to dominate and yet the ego is neccessary for a person to function in the world and trade effectively, yet the two apparently don't seem to get on at times - and thats what sometimes makes for a bumpy ride. Nevertheless - the best way to start the day I have found is to have a cool shower, do some yoga poses and meditate anywhere from 30 -90 minutes. It helps a great deal in acheiving flow state when looking at the charts after that. Also, when you recognise a mental propensity is distracting the mind during work - there is a technique to meditate DURING the working day, and that has the effect of reducing the power of negative thought, almost like magic. The mantra is ongoing 24 hours a day, the idea of non-duality is kept in mind in tandem with the days tasks and that infact is how the paradox of ego/inner self conflict is resolved.

    Having said all of that - you better have had thousands of hours of screen time, developed your edges etc. before even thinking of putting on a trade. All the meditation in the world means squat if you don't have a sound knowledge of trading concepts and application of that knowledge. I would probably take time out from trading, become profficient in meditation (it takes about a year) and then come back and build your trading persona.

  3. If anyone has some good links, it would be much appreciated.

    This topic comes up often, and while it's difficult to describe in print HOW to meditate effectively, i find most of the ideas i see (on the web, or books) are unnecesarily long winded and confusing.
  4. By U Silananda (first reference below)


    To begin your meditation, please be seated in a comfortable posture, preferably in cross-legged position, and keep the upper portion of your body erect, but not stiff or tense. One of the two kinds of cross-legged position is recommended, namely, the half lotus position or the easy posture, which some teachers call "Burmese posture". In the half lotus position one leg is put on top of the other, but in the easy posture one leg is put in front of the other, thus the pressure on either leg is minimized. If the any of the cross-legged position is still too difficult for you, you may take any sitting posture which is most comfortable for you. Because some comfort is necessary to continue the practice of meditation, you may even sit on a cushion, a chair or a bench. Though the cross-legged position is the ideal position for meditation, you have to decide for yourself in which position you can maintain your meditation best. Important in all sitting positions is that you keep the upper portion of your body erect.

    Breaths as Main Object

    Now focus your attention on the breaths; keep your mind at the tip of the nose, or at the entrance of the nostrils. When you breathe in, be mindful of the in-breath for the whole duration, or from the beginning to the end. And when you breath out, be mindful of the out-breath for the whole duration, or from the beginning to the end. In-breath and out-breath each last about four or five seconds. Be really mindful of the breaths. You may feel a sensation of the air at the tip of your nose or in your nose. Be mindful of it. And concentrate on the nature of breath, the moving nature or the supporting nature of breath, rather than the shape or form of the breath. Try to see the in-breath and out-breath as two separate things, not just one and the same breath going in and coming out. Do not let your mind follow the breath into your body or outside the body. Your mind is like a gatekeeper standing at the gate, taking note of people going in and coming out. Do not force or strain yourself. Just calmly be mindful and watch the breaths. You may make a mental note when you breathe in and when you breathe out, as "in", "out," "in", "out." Making mental notes, or labeling, is just to help you keep your mind on the object; if it interferes with your meditation, you don’t have to do it, but just be mindful of the object. What is important in this meditation is mindfulness of the object at the moment, and not the notes you make.

    If your mind can be on the breaths only, that is very good. However, mind has a tendency to wander quite often. So, if, in the course of keeping your mind on the breaths, your mind wanders or goes out and you are aware of it, do not feel guilty, or be upset; just be mindful of its going out. Or you may say to yourself, "going out, going out, going out," two or three times and then go back to the breaths.

    If you see something or someone in your thoughts, be mindful of seeing, or say to yourself, "seeing, seeing, seeing," until that object disappears from your mind; then go back to the breaths.

    If you hear somebody talking in your thoughts, be mindful of hearing or say to yourself, "hearing, hearing, hearing," and then go back to the breath.

    If you talk to someone in your thoughts, or if you talk to yourself, be mindful of talking, or say to yourself, "talking, talking, talking," and then go back to the breaths.

    If you speculate about something, be mindful of speculating; if you analyze something, be mindful of analyzing; if you make judgments, be mindful of making judgments. In Vipassana meditation, you pay just bare attention to the object, without any additions of you own, as "beautiful", "ugly", "good", "bad", etc. Or, in other words, you take the object as it is, without subjective additions of your own.

    If you remember something in the past, be mindful of the remembering, or say to yourself, "remembering, remembering, remembering" or "thinking, thinking, thinking," and then go back to the breaths. If you think of the future and make plans, be mindful of it, or say to yourself, "thinking of future, thinking of future, thinking of future,", or "planning, planning, planning," and then go back to the breath.

    If you become lazy, be mindful of your laziness, or say, "lazy, lazy, lazy." The laziness will go away after some moments, then go back to the breaths. If you feel bored, be mindful of boredom, or say to yourself, "bored, bored, bored," until boredom goes away, then go back to the breaths. If you have resistance, be mindful of it, or say to yourself, "resisting, resisting, resisting." When resistance disappears, go back to the breaths.

    If you have thoughts of attachment or greed or lust, again do not feel guilty, but be mindful of these thoughts, or say to yourself, "attachment, attachment, attachment," or "greed, greed, greed," or "lust, lust, lust," until they disappear and then go back to the breaths. If you are upset or angry for any reason, just be mindful of that anger, or in other words, make that anger the object of meditation. Concentrate on your anger, or you may say to yourself, "anger, anger, anger" or "angry, angry, angry" or "upset, upset, upset." After some moments, the anger will disappear and when it has disappeared, go back to the breaths.

    If you want to swallow your saliva, first be mindful of the intention or desire to swallow, saying to yourself, "intention, intention, intention," or "desire, desire, desire." And when you have gathered the saliva in your mouth, be mindful of the gathering, or say to yourself, "gathering, gathering, gathering." When you swallow it down, be mindful of swallowing, or say to yourself, "swallowing, swallowing, swallowing," then go back to the breaths.

    If you have an itching sensation, do not scratch it right away. Concentrate on the place of that itching and be mindful of it, saying to yourself, "itching, itching, itching." In most cases, itching will go away after some time. When it goes away, return to the breaths. Sometimes, the itching will not go away, but will even become more intense. In that case try to be with it, taking note of it and be aware of it, as long as you can. If you think you cannot bear it any longer, you may scratch. But before scratching, be mindful of the intention or desire to scratch; and when you move your hand to the place where you experience the itch, be mindful of moving. Move your hand slowly, following the movement with mindfulness. When your fingers touch the place, say "touching, touching, touching." When you scratch, say "scratching, scratching, scratching." When you take the hand back, say "taking, taking, taking" or "moving, moving, moving." When your hand touches your lap, the knee or the other hand again, be mindful of touching, or say to yourself, "touching, touching, touching." Then go back to the breaths.

    If you have painful or unpleasant feelings in the body—numbness, stiffness, or heat—focus your mind on the place of these feelings and be mindful of them. If you have pain somewhere in the body, focus on the place of that pain, and be mindful of that pain, or say to yourself, "pain, pain, pain." You will have to be very patient with painful feelings. Pain will not easily go away. You have to be patient and be mindful of it. It may go away or it may become more acute. Stay with it as long as you can. Actually pain is a very good object for meditation. It is a strong object. Your mind is pulled towards the place where there is pain. So be mindful of it and try to see it just as a sensation, an unpleasant sensation. And it is important that you do not identify pain with yourself, so do not say to yourself, "it is my pain" or "I feel pain." There is just the pain, just the sensation. If the pain becomes so intense that you think you cannot bear it any longer, you may ignore pain altogether and go back to the breaths, or you may make movements or change posture to ease pain. But when you make movements or change posture, first note the intention to change, or be mindful of the intention to change and then make movements slowly, one at a time, following each movement with mindfulness. And when you have made the changes, go back to the breaths.

    So the breaths are the home object of your meditation. Whenever there are no other objects to be mindful of, you just continue with being mindful of the breaths. If there are more prominent objects, then you take note of them, be aware of them, or be mindful of them, and then go back to the breaths. Do not use force, do not strain yourself, just calmly watch the objects, take note of them, or be mindful of them. Do not try to forcefully push distractions or emotions or feelings in the body away, just watch them and let them go by themselves.

  5. after all that time have you had any awakenings or otherwise enlightenments?....be honest!!!
  6. Thanks kiwi, that is interesting.

    Im curious though, the paragraph about pain.
    I had an absolutely crippling chronic pain problem for some time, took a year and a half roughly to really heal, and strangely enough, whether I tried to meditated or not, that paragraph describes it quite specifically.

    I didnt specifically attempt to meditate, thats just where you end up-
    when you cant breath for the pain, you never know when it will sneak up and belt you, leaving you on the floor cursing a blue streak for what seems like an eternity, limping around like a cripple.

    Maybe thats why i have trouble focusing in meditation now, experiencing such a significant mind /body disconnect in such screwed up circumstances.
  7. In my experience, meditation is useful for mundane but powerful reasons.

    If you have a short attention span or poor concentration skills, meditating calmly for prolonged periods is a form of mental exercise... like pushups for your arms or squats for your legs. It strengthens the will and enhances concentration stamina. (This is why meditation is hard.)

    Meditation is also useful for cultivating a state of disengagement. The more time you spend in meditation, the better you get at deliberate disengagement. This can come quite in handy at times.

    The ability to disengage at will is sort of like good brakes on a sports car. Just as good brakes let a Porsche go faster, disengagement lets emotions run hotter. With the control and discipline skills enhanced by meditation, you can turn up the intensity safely, knowing it can be throttled back at will when necessary.

    It's quite a liberating experience, revving up to redline and dropping down to idle in a finger snap. As one of those wise old dudes said, he who controls others is powerful--but he who controls himself is more powerful still. Meditation can help get you there.
  8. I suspect that the focus issue is mainly that your mind is not yet strong enough. The latest (Oct 06 here in aus) Psych Today has an interesting article on that.
  9. You can say that again.
    But if my mind was strong enough to deal with that, then what happened?

    Put it this way, i used to have fair focus, in meditation terms, ages ago.
    Maybe not great focus, but i could do it, and find it very benificial.

    Through this experience, i found, no meditation worked-the pain does it for you, as you gradually lose grip completely on (what passes ) as reality.
    A complete mind/body disconnect.

    If, for example, you have ever had a desperate situation, like a broken arm/leg etc, where there was nobody around to help, you might know what i mean.
    Your mind either shuts down completely,and you pass out, or it " disconnects " the limb/pain from your mental process.

    Imagine having a broken arm, for months, and months, and months-and its occasionly re -broken, just to keep you on your toes.

    What does this do to the human mind?
    I sure cant describe it, any more than i have.

    Is my mind "afraid" of focusing , due to , perhaps-too much of this kind of forced-mental -march?

    Im not in the habit of buying psychology magazines though.
    I find them a little trite, but that magazines for you.

    That was a great post though, thanx i shall lurk around some of those ideas .

    #10     Oct 13, 2006