📚 Is Meditation Worth It?

First Published: 2024-05-06

I've always wanted to write a piece on meditation, but could never think of a coherent message worth communicating. This has now changed.

I don't meditate regularly.
I had short phases in my late teens and early twenties, but didn't see the true benefits, for those aren't advertised. And frankly, even if they were, they would be a hard sell. Meditation usually gets sold as some sort of spiritual stress relief to hippies and some anti-adhd performance enhancer to ambitious types like myself.
It's not that undertones of contemplation and introspection get fully swept under the rug, but they aren't elaborated upon to the extent necessary to be perceived as sufficiently valuable by those on the proverbial "other side".

But why even care? Empirically, I have seen evidence to suggest that wisdom (making good decisions) is more valuable in modern/western society than raw intelligence (speed of learning), given a healthy baseline of both. And to gain this wisdom, there are few better shortcuts than to take everything into account and view your situation in an extremely holistic way. Becoming aware. This includes the ability to put a good distance between yourself and your feelings or your thoughts. It also includes the ability to observe and observe carefully yourself and your reactions to outside influence.

Put another way, your awareness has a dramatic effect on your wisdom, and with meditation increasing your awareness like few other things, it is by proxy a great way to "level up" your wisdom.

While in the beginning there are no substitutes to meditation, it should not go unmentioned that once you have gained some experience with it, you'll learn to enter a state of mindfulness in increasingly less rigid practice, such as on a walk or when waiting.

Don't meditate to gain 5% more grey matter in your prefrontal cortex or to be able to study for half an hour more. If those are your reasons you're not ready, just as I'm not, and that is fine. Perhaps try out meditation just to be acquainted with the practice and discard it when you realise it's no silver bullet (yet).

Once we reach a point where we're free to make choices with impact, once wisdom reaps higher rewards than usual, or it's deficiency puts us at great risk, it will be obvious to us. Likewise, reaching a stage of personal development where it gets tough to make headway by other means will be hard to miss.

An alternative approach, one that never quite resonated with me, is to free yourself from the inside. This is usually the route taken by the spiritual types, and you're better of consulting with them if you're interested.

So that's it. That's why I meditate and why I don't.

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