Why do I persist with meditation?
It has been about 20 years since I attended my first Vipassana course. The instructors require you to meditate 2 hours daily and attend one 10 day course every year. All of which I haven’t done.
I had what I call a mystical experience in the year 2006. Extraordinary experiences are not uncommon to meditators but all Buddhist meditation instructors unite in insisting that you should not get attached to these experiences. You are supposed to just let these experiences come and go while continuing with your practice. But I have grown attached to the experience I had and keep judging myself for being unable to have a repeat of the effortless ease with which I did my practice at that time.
Meditation is supposed to change you as a person, and for the better. You are supposed to be able to quit bad habits like smoking and drinking. But I am still a smoker; thankfully I have no other addictions.
In short, my mind is a shambles. It is a mess. Yet I still try to restart my meditation practice from time to time. I am starting again now.
I read somewhere that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and hope for a different result. Albert Einstein said that according to a Google search.
So, what is it that I am doing differently this time so that I can reasonably hope for a different result?
I read a blog post and have bought a book related to meditation and I am following the instructions given therein.
The book is The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness. In addition to combining modern scientific knowledge with ancient meditation techniques the book divides the journey of the aspirant into stages. This is something which is new to my practice of meditation, at least.
The importance of dividing the journey of the meditator into stages is that you are able to know which obstacles you are facing right now and what methods you must use in order to overcome them. Also once you have identified the stage that you are in at the moment, you know what you must and must not do in order to progress. You do not get confused – as I used to – by judging yourself according to the standards of a meditator who is in a higher stage of mastery.
Now you may not be interested in meditation but here is something that may interest and help you if you are interested in learning a new skill. According to the website – rationaldharma.com
What’s the best way to get good at a skill? This is the question that researcher Anders Ericsson (see his excellent book Peak for more details about his fascinating research) has devoted his career to answering.
You may be interested in picking a copy of the book – Peak – if you want to learn a new skill. I have purchased The Mind Illuminated but have not purchased Peak just yet. Look up the reviews for Peak on Amazon. Both books are written by learned people who have given the best efforts over a lifetime to come up with the insights that they present in their books.
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