I love thinking. I’ve also spent years trying to do it less.
Seasoned meditators often advise against progress.
They’re right too – at their skill level. That’s wrong for beginners though. Beginners need to put in time and make mistakes. This requires motivation. Motivation comes from a reason.
There’s deep things to say about meditation, but this post has none of that. For experienced meditators, it’s a little wrong too.
Instead, it’s the reason to get started – the ‘why’.
The mind interacts with sense data from the world. It reconfigures this sense data into symbols and simulations. It’s comprised of interoception and emotions.
For now though, I’m going to focus on the voice in your head. Picture this monologue as a little man on your shoulder. He’s talking most of the time. Sometimes he’s insightful, sometimes he’s useful. But mostly it’s rambling, repeating himself over and over. Judging you. Fixating on the negative.
Our default (at least in the modern world?) is to be entranced by the little prick. To believe everything he says. Just like air, he’s around so often we forget he’s there.
Meditation allows us to notice there’s a little man on our shoulder. When he’s saying useful or insightful things we can tune in. When he’s drunk, we can ignore him.
In other words, we can triage thoughts. Engaging the useful thoughts and ignore useless ones.
I used to think good decision making meant telling yourself better stories. It’s true, but there’s another option. By noticing there’s a little man on you shoulder, you can choose to act despite what he says.
Meditation helps you be a more skilful thinker.
I’ve got more to say about meditation, but that’s for later.
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