Just chill the fuck out

Meditation is so in right now.

Say you’re really really into it.

There you are, sitting on your cushion twice a day, 30 minutes or 45 minutes or maybe an hour per session. Maybe you go to a weekend retreat every quarter and a 10 day retreat every year. Maybe you do more.

There you are, sitting on your cushion with a sore back, falling asleep, fantasizing about that really hot person across the room, trying to get that stupid Coldplay song out of your head.

There you are, sitting still, relaxed but strong, balanced and clear, in your body with the barest flicker of thoughts like small silver fish in the depths of a still pond.

Every now and then, you may even get a peak experience of some sort.

Assuming you’re not there chasing after those peak experiences (drugs are cheaper and more effective after all), should a grown-up person really be doing this?

Or have you bought a sales-pitch?

What are you really getting out of it that a 30 minute spa and a 15 minute massage won’t give you? Or a 30 minute run and a 10 minute hot shower?

7 thoughts on “Just chill the fuck out

  1. One thing I get is improved self-discipline – which helps in all areas of life, and is kind of like a muscle; it strengthens through correct practice. With a nice side-effect is an improved ability to concentrate. And if I get enlightenment thrown in, then so much the better 🙂

    I agree with you that it’s important to regularly question why we do what we do…

    1. Yeah – better focus is certainly something I get. Certainly my device addiction becomes less of a bother when I’ve meditated more. There’s a fine line between multi-tasking and page-faulting.

      1. Ah, so you were playing devil’s advocate after all 🙂

        I hadn’t made that connection between reduced addiction on devices (device addiction – I like that phrase!), that’s a real positive.

        And yep – I find that I can take multi-tasking to the point where all my time to taken up in context-switching, whereas for many tasks staying focused on just one thing is generally more productive.

  2. > should a grown-up person really be doing this?

    yes if he wants the results

    > Or have you bought a sales-pitch?

    no you didn’t. check out the endless modern science research, or even better the thousand years accumulated experience in meditative traditions, or even better give it an honest try, it works

    (meditation can be hard in the beginning so honest try here means consistent effort)

    > What are you really getting out of it that a 30 minute spa and a 15 minute massage won’t give you? Or a 30 minute run and a 10 minute hot shower?

    peace, humility, heart opening, wisdom, clarity, insight, health …. the list goes on and on

  3. Mikus, Dave,

    I’m interested in the over-selling of meditation.

    Given that there’s research indicating that office-workers are actually shortening their lifespans by sitting too much, adding another hour (or two if you are very hardcore) per day on one’s ass is not a small thing.

    Barry Magid in his book “Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide” talks about the curative fantasies that meditators bring to the cushion. I find that term “curative fantasy” particularly resonant.

    I’ve got a few more posts in me about this topic.

    1. what do you mean over selling ?

      meditation delivers. it is time best spent.

      and on another note, you only view meditation as a means to an end and then ask is what you get worth while the effort ? while the simple answer is ‘yes, bigtime’, a deeper answer is that it’s the wrong question/assumption. meditation is not like brushing your teeth or working out, it is a way of life, it becomes who you are, you become it

      of course if you have unrealistic expectations to become buddha in a week you’ll be disappointed, that’s nobody’s fault but yours and is not over-selling.

      and of course there’s lot’s of new age crap promising unreasonable results, and some total suckers buy that, still it’s really not over-selling, just crap and lies, and even then usually it’s about selling some kind of ‘device’ to make you get the benefits _without_ actually sitting)

      anyways … 🙂

    2. Speaking as one of those office-workers, I can confirm that the problem isn’t with the extra hour of sitting through meditation, it’s just that we just too many hours of sedentary work 🙂 I’m fairly sure the monks etc over the ages who developed meditation had many difficulties to deal with, however a sedentary lifestyle wasn’t one of them!

      And I agree with you that we (I’m talking generally here) all bring baggage to any activity we do, and so people all come to meditation with expectations, for better or worse. Executives wanting to improve their performance through focus and stress control; IT people who want to do it because Steve Jobs was Buddhist etc etc.

      I’d like to think however that meditation, unlike many activities, has a built-in way of allowing these expectations (I like that notion of curative fantasies too!) to dry up and fall away all by themselves…

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