My current approach:
Currently I meditate primarily to increase happiness and to a smaller extend to lower anxiety and up operating functions such as focus, “wisdom”.
- Do lovingkindness meditation (The buddha only mentions breath meditation 8 times in his teachings !!! He mentions lovingkindness over 100 times!!!)
- Stop meditating (after min 15 min) if I'm not enjoying it.
- Play with everything and do whatever I enjoy
- Talk to a meditation teacher (I don’t have a teacher but I talk to close ones about it)
I meditate semi-consistently for a decade or so. Initially, primarily to lower deep-seated anxiety in some of my parts.
I did two tests
@November 28, 2023 Currently, I did a third test and scored myself, my mom, and my friend Karolina this is how I asses the improvements: a – 1.75; b – 2.25; c – 1.5; d – 1.25;
I also went through 30days x 1hour test focused on loving kindness inspired by
Why I am doing it?
These are effects I observed. They probably start after like 2-3 weeks 10min a day.
- Low-anxiety – lowering both mild and deep-seated anxieties (anything from social anxiety, health anxiety, mild phobias, panic attacks)
- Wisdom – enhancing clarity and improving complex problem-solving (e.g. it's making me a better designer, it’s helping me with difficult decisions)
- Focus – Increasing patience and reducing the lure of immediate gratification (For example, I find myself less drawn to minor addictions like social media or casual snacking)
- Harmony – experiencing feelings of harmony, peace and acceptance (I feel more at peace; it instills a sense of correctness, grounds me in the present, and quiets the default part of homo-sapiens brain fixated on the next thing or seeking more)
How to meditate?
Take this two states of mind: being here and now and being immersed in thought.
- Close your eyes and focus on experiencing the here and now. What are the sounds? How are the sensations of your body? How does your own consciousness feel? How a cloud of sensations like emotions feels like? Focus on any input present input. There is no way of doing it wrong.
- Naturally, thoughts will come and take you away in the abstract space of no-time and no-place.
- Your task is to discover that you are consumed by thoughts and come back to here and now. Be kind to yourself. Everybody fails that. Accept that you will be failing it too and keep coming back.
(In order to feel any effects commit to 10min a day for two-three weeks)
Or just play my fav guided meditations:
My fav guided meditation
Other I like:
Framework to try meditation
How to think about meditation?
- “The advantage of meditation is not that you’re suddenly going to gain the superpower to control your internal state, it’s that you will recognize just how out of control your mind is.”
– Naval Ravikant
- “Staying for a minute without getting distracted is a heroic feat. The longer you meditate the easier it is to recognize this "torrent of discursivity" which is preventing you from staying focused.” – Sam Harris
- “You can uncover that consciousness itself has intrinsic quality of wellbeing. Simply paying attention to the experience is the antidote to the feeling of dissatisfaction. That what is aware of sadness isn’t truly sad.” – Sam Harris
- “All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inablity to sit still in a room.” – Blaise Pascal
- “Meditation as a calibration chamber to avoid instant gratification urges. If one is able to be “bored for 20 min” one is more resilient in the face of any form of addiction: food, social media, substances etc.”
- “Meditation may reduce suffering via defusing state of “cognitive fusion”. Cognitive fusion happens when individuals perceive their thoughts and emotions as objective realities. This fusion can lead to suffering, as individuals perceive thoughts as them and become trapped in their narratives.”
– via My attempt to explain Looking, insight meditation, and enlightenment in non-mysterious terms
- has an incredible tweeter feed where he talks about Dharma, Jhana and meditationNick Cammarata
- On a psychedelic like states that are accessible for very experienced meditators:
- The end goal is to have a meditative state in life
- ’s guess that meditation may help withScott Alexander:Bias correction
- ‘s approach:Naval Ravikant
I think most of the people who never meditated have this impression that they are in control of their thoughts. During meditation, you witness how hard it is to stay here and now and that thoughts come up on their own.
Most suffering occurs in anticipation, like the anxiety felt before a doctor's visit for a vaccine. It's often a projection of an imagined future state. Meditation helps bring awareness to the present, countering these projections by diffusing the mental blending of thoughts and reality, known as "cognitive fusion."
"Direct forms of suffering, like immediate physical or emotional pain, can also be mitigated through meditation. By intently focusing on the raw sensation of the pain, it transforms into a vibration, devoid of a subject. It reveals that: “That what is aware of suffering does not suffer.”
“Jhana is extatic meditative state that’s different from enlightenment. Enlightenment changes you forever. Jhana is just a state you can enter during meditation sessions, then leave when the session is over … “Best comparable I have for jhana is sex (many people compare these) bc they're surprisingly similar. Jhana killed my desire for casual sex bc it's 10-100x better … jhana made me not crave pleasure so much anymore. Cured that "addiction" via surplus. … the best analogy I have is if you're extremely thirsty you'd do anything for water but if you're barely thirsty it's kind of just nice and helpful. And you certainly wouldn't break a bone for it. Pre jhana I was always "thirsty" for feeling good, now I'm a lot less so.” – via Nick Cammarata On Jhana by Scott Alexander
“Let's talk about the hilariously insane power of attention. Attention was where evolution accidentally messed up and made us extremely overpowered. It doesn't want us being easily happy, and if it could redo it it would nerf us, but it can't.
Attention like a flashlight. For most people it's an extremely broad and dim flashlight, kind of lighting everything. It also moves around and things tug at it all day and you don't really have control and you definitely can't just drop it on something and leave it there
If you're aware of something you're giving it some attention. If your attention were fine enough, as you move it around everything else would go away completely. If you attend strongly to your breath but not your body your body is gone. You're just a nose
With practice your flashlight gets much much better. It can get so good that nothing tugs at it. You can just drop it on whatever you want and not move it for 10 minutes and nothing is tugging at you to move. It's just there and that's all you care about right now
The way to get better at this is to practice returning your attention to one thing over and over again. It shouldn't feel like a struggle. Just lightly return it back. Your breath works, or metta, which is returning to the feeling of loving-kindness. It should feel good
I've been meditating regularly since ~2013 and I started with completely wasting about 500 hours on forcing myself as hard as I could to focus on my breath. Don't be like me, "concentration meditation" is a bad word bc it sounds forceful. Let it drift back to your object
Okay fast forward a bit and you're able to control your meditation pretty well. What do you get, what's the prize?
It builds up "samadhi" and first thing you notice is more beauty and meaning in everything, like seeing with glasses after a life of bad eyes. You can just fully do something. The world becomes shockingly gorgeous, kind of like 2cb if you've done that. It's just really nice …
Now that you have a strong flashlight, you can decide what you want to feel by attending to it.
It turns out if you attend fully to something, even if its small, it's all you feel, and you feel it extremely potently
So once you've build up enough samadhi you can feel whatever you want. Just find a tiny bit of it in your awareness, a tiny dot of joy near your hand, or smile a little to create a microburst of happiness. Then attend to it 100%
Your everything, your entire awareness of the universe will become happy. There's no more you, no more world, nothing. Just happy. This happy makes the tiny happy spot a bit stronger, making it easier to attend to, making it a bit stronger, etc until it explodes.”
Lastly on some of the effects of these states:
“a lot of days now I'm playing with piti and sukha while I do other things just adjusting to them to what I feel like, what my body needs right now and trying to think about how I can support it.”
“If you would spend 18 hours a day meditating for a month. At the end of the month you will be noticing this white noise, this torrent of discursivity that is preventing you from staying on breath for a minute. And staying for a minute without getting distracted is a heroic feat. If you could pay attention to anything without being lost in thought for a minute at a time there would be neurophysiological correlates that are very drug like. There is immense pleasure that people get from being concentrated. There is bliss, rapture. Feeling of expansiveness in the mind, where your body disappears and consciousness feel like a vast void. And a only thing that appears might be the thing you were paying attention to. And even that might disappear and there is nothing but pure consciousness – an extraordinarily pleasurable psychedelic like experience. If you were actually concentrated as you imagine your self to be that would be very accessible to you.” – Sam Harris in conversation with Adam Grant (1:02:08)
I’m trying to turn off my monkey mind. I think, when we’re born as children, we’re pretty blank slates. We’re living very much in the moment. We’re essentially just reacting to our environment through our instincts. We’re living in, what I would call the “real world.” When puberty comes along, that’s the onset of desire, it’s the first time you really, really want something and you start long-range planning for it. Because of that, you start thinking a lot and start building an identity and an ego to go and get what you want.
This is all normal and healthy. It’s part of being the human animal. I think at some point it gets out of control and then we are constantly talking to ourselves in our head. We’re playing little movies in our heads, walking down the street, but no one’s actually there. Of course, if we started voicing this thought in your head that you’re always having, you’d be a madman and they’d lock you up.
The reality is if you walk down the street and there are a thousand people in the street, I think all thousand are talking to themselves in their head at any given point. They’re constantly judging everything that they see. They’re playing back movies of things that happened to them yesterday. They’re living in fantasy worlds of what’s going to happen tomorrow. They’re just pulled out of base reality.
That could be good when you’re doing long-range planning. It can be good when you’re solving problems. It’s good for the survival and replication machines that we are. I think it’s actually very bad for your happiness. In my mind, the mind should be a servant and a tool, not a master. It’s not something that should be controlling me and driving me 24/7.
I’ve taken on this idea that I want to break the habit of uncontrolled thinking, which is hard. If I say to you, “Don’t think of a pink elephant”, I just put a pink elephant in your head. It’s an almost impossible problem. It’s more something that has to be guided by feel, than guided by actual thinking or thought process. I’m deliberately cultivating experiences, states of mind, locations, activities, that will help me get out of my mind.
All of society does that to some extent. In some sense, the people chasing thrills in action sports or flow states or orgasm or any of these states that people really strive to get to, a lot of these are basically just trying to get out of your own head. They’re trying to get away from that voice in your head and this overdeveloped sense of self. At the very least, I do not want my sense of self to continue to develop and become stronger as I get older. I want it to be weaker and more muted so that I can live much more in present every day and accept nature and the world for what it is and appreciate it very much as a child would.
– Naval Ravikant on Shane Parrish Podcast (start 20:51) Link
If you want to get out of a trapped prior, is … A final possibility is other practices and lifestyle changes that cause the brain to increase the weight of experience relative to priors. Meditation probably does this; see the discussion in the van der Bergh post for more detail.
“What it really is, is the art of doing nothing. All you do for meditation is sit down, close your eyes. Whatever happens, happens. If you think – think. If you don't think – don't think. Don't put effort into it. Don't put effort against it ... Every meditation technique is leading you to the same thing which is witnessing. And concentration is a technique to steal your mind enough so you can then drop the object of concentration. So you could also just try going straight to the endgame ... Happiness comes from peace. Peace comes from indifference. Indifference is the ultimate super power – this works in negotiation, relationships, and business opportunities. The place that I want to end up the most is just peace. Peace to me is happiness at rest ... The way we think we get peace is resolving all the external problems. There are unlimited external problems. The only way to actually get piece is on the inside – by giving up this idea of problems.” – via Naval Ravikant on Joe Rogan's Show Listen on YouTube 1:19:50
Best counter-argument: Listen to Adam Grant talking why he doesn't meditate on Sam Harris's Podcast (link to 50:30)
Waking Up Course meditation course by Sam Harriss (paid)
When we grow up – there is all the stuff happening to you and your life. And some of it you're processing, some of it your absorbing and some of it you don't. You don't have time so it gets buried in you. It's all these preferences, judgments, unresolved situations and issues. And is like an email inbox. Just piling up. Email after email after email that's not answered, going back 10, 20, 30, 40 years. And then when you sit down to meditate those emails are coming back at you. Hey, what about this issue? What about that issue? Did you solve this? Do you think about that?
And that gets scary. People don't want to do that. I can't clear my mind. I better get up and not do this. But really what's happening it's self therapy. Instead of paying a therapist to listen to you, you are listening to yourself. And you have to sit there as these emails go one by one until you get to the magical inbox zero. And then comes the day when the only things you are thinking about are the things that happened yesterday because you processed everything else. Not necessarily resolved it but at least listened to yourself ...
The problem with what I'm talking about is you will have to listen to you in mind for a long time. It's not gonna work if you don't do at least an hour a day and preferably at least 60 days before you can work through a lot of issues so it'll be hell for a while. But when you come out on the other side, it's great.
When the chatter comes it is in the background, it's dimmer, it's smaller. You heard it before. You seen the patterns. It's more recent. It's something you need to resolve anyway, and you will get moment of actual silence ...
When you're really meditating you're not there. There are no thoughts. There are no experiences. There's nothing ... Every psychedelic state that people encounter using so-called plant medicines can be arrived at just through pure meditation.
Joe Rogan: You've hit some transcendent psychedelic states?
Yes. I have had trippy visuals. I've had the kind of lights and colors. I had so-called downloads. I've had realizations. I've had the bliss.
Joe Rogan: But not every time?
No, it's rare and I would say that's also like an experience that you can start craving, which will then actually take you out of meditation ...
The place that I want to end up the most is just peace. Peace to me is happiness at rest. And happiness is a piece in motion. ... The way we think we get peace is resolving all the external problems. There are unlimited external problems. The only way to actually get piece is on the inside – by giving up this idea of problems.
- Lowers anxiety. Brings higher control i.e. when extreme emotions would control me. Teaches patience. Enhances navigating through complex problems, decisions (i.e. it's making me a better designer)
- Teaches acceptance, of how it is here and now. Tones down the part of my mind consumed by project thinking, the illusion that fulfillment and achievement are somewhere further.
It reduces various types of anxieties including both mild and deep-seated anxieties.
It fosters a sense of a wise-self. It might actually enhance wisdom (as opposed to just feeling wise). This one is a little uncertain. I've noticed improvement in clarity when trying to understand a complex ideas and an enhanced ability to solve complex problems.
Peace and focus
Meditation cultivates calm attitude, peace, patience, and the feeling of correctness. It increases resilience against instant gratifications. It also helps in moderating the part of my mind always unfulfilled, focused on what next or where is more.
- Meditation may or may not increase gray matter in brain link
If we have many agents inside meditation is a place for recalibration of inside waves, to listen what’s happening inside, seeing what floats up, giving space so different agents needs feelings have time to reveal
- You let yourself to unravel. Important things bubble up.