Jump to content

Why I meditate (and why you should too)


Recommended Posts

If I said "Whatever your current level of endurance, strength, resting heart rate, or ability to push yourself past the point that your body is screaming for you to stop, proper exercise will make it better", you wouldn't disagree, presumably.

 

So what is so fundamentally unbelievable about this to you?

 

The comparison of physical fitness and the mind is not sound in my view. Physical abilities can be tested and measured reliably and the effects of exercise can be observed. There is no comparable evidence that shows that meditation brings improvement in cognitive ability. From what I have gleaned from wikipedia it appears that there is observable evidence for certain effects on visual perception and the nervous system, though whether these effects can be appraised qualitatively is questionable. The majority of evidence is from subjective experience, notoriously unreliable and difficult to measure. One of the big problems is with finding test subjects who are not already somewhat aware of what meditation or mindfulness is and who have no expectations of it. There are moderate benefits for people with certain medical conditions. None of this convinces me of why I should tie my legs in a knot and say "om" for an hour a day. (Yes, I know this is not obligatory).

 

I would also have to disagree that physical fitness can be improved indefinitely. A peak level is eventually reached beyond which no improvement is possible. Maybe that's why meditation didn't work on me ;D

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 78
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I don't do meditation, nor do I intend to. But I do enjoy the benefits of being away from it all, in 'oneness' (as you describe it) with my surroundings. And I do notice benefits, similar to those you

Tell us more of these profound insights that you are privy to. You have convinced me more that meditation is something for people to brag and preen about rather than something worthwhile. I have taken

There aren't many topics dear to my heart, but this is one of them. Meditation. It's in the press a lot these days, primarily mindfulness meditation, and that is for a few reasons: 1) Some of the wo

 

 

 

What a load of fucking claptrap.

 

By the way - are you going to man up and tell the US Marine Corp they are making their soldiers do a load of fucking claptrap?

 

Given that the British Services at one time advocated painting coal white , cleaning curbstones (with a toothbrush) and cutting grass with nail scissors I'm not convinced by your argument , having always thought (meditated if you prefer) that military intelligence was a contradiction in terms.

 

There would be little point in "manning up" and telling them as they are obliged to obey orders without question.

 

That said if you feel you derive benefit from "meditating"good luck

 

 

I thought you weren't going to read the OP. So are you just here to troll?

 

The soldiers follow the orders, of course - but someone gives those orders. Obviously I was talking about them. Despite your amusing examples, drawing a terrible analogy between meditating and painting coal white doesn't magic away any of the scientific evidence, I'm afraid.

 

So it's not just me that knows I benefit from meditating - the scientists know I am too. For instance, it really IS one of the most effective treatments available for depression. That is real life, hard statistics from peer reviewed research, not wishful thinking.

 

No I'm not here just to troll.

 

Do not presume that anyone who does not share your opinions is trolling , to do so indicates to some that you are as thick as a "workhouse butty" and just a tad arrogant.

 

I haven't read your initial post.

 

I did not draw an analogy between painting coal white and meditating, you now have.

 

Your argument was that anyone who disagrees with you should "man up" and tell the US marine corp sounded a bit like "My dad is bigger than your dad" .

 

I just get a bit bored with folk telling me to do anything because they think it would be good for me , I'm quite happy with my life thanks without meditating/ being brainwashed,having a life/career coach,having my chackras(?) massaged , joining any cult but if you need any of the above to make your life good and worthwhile crack on.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The comparison of physical fitness and the mind is not sound in my view. Physical abilities can be tested and measured reliably and the effects of exercise can be observed. There is no comparable evidence that shows that meditation brings improvement in cognitive ability. From what I have gleaned from wikipedia it appears that there is observable evidence for certain effects on visual perception and the nervous system, though whether these effects can be appraised qualitatively is questionable. The majority of evidence is from subjective experience, notoriously unreliable and difficult to measure. One of the big problems is with finding test subjects who are not already somewhat aware of what meditation or mindfulness is and who have no expectations of it. There are moderate benefits for people with certain medical conditions. None of this convinces me of why I should tie my legs in a knot and say "om" for an hour a day. (Yes, I know this is not obligatory).

 

I would also have to disagree that physical fitness can be improved indefinitely. A peak level is eventually reached beyond which no improvement is possible. Maybe that's why meditation didn't work on me ;D

You keep coming back to the point we agree on that researching meditation is not as easy as researching physical exercise. Probably time to move on. It is what it is - neither of us can wave a magic wand to make it easier to research, that is a characteristic of the human mind and we can't change that. The fact that every one of us lives our lives in an internal subjective world that is basically totally inaccessible to anyone else does obviously raise some really huge barriers to research in to the phenomenon of consciousness and internal experiences.

 

Of course you COULD investigate it within the confines of your own mind.... you always have that option.

 

You're right to say there is a upper limit to physical fitness. No doubt there is to the human mind too - traditionally this is called enlightenment especially e.g. in Buddhism.

 

Your point about finding it hard to find subjects who have no idea about meditation is a red herring. You are suggesting what - that any self report by anyone who has even heard of meditation is automatically suspect? If that general principle is true, huge swathes of psychological research are utterly useless, not just meditation. I don't follow you at all here.

 

Anyway, let me put an idea to you:

 

Let's say meditation really DOES work (for arguments sake), and that it really IS very hard to research objectively, to show the impact it is having without relying to a large extent on first person subjective self reports.

 

If you make that assumption - isn't what we are seeing exactly what you'd expect? An emerging and strengthening evidence base, with some claims (like depression) actually already very well established, and others (like "it makes concentration stronger") there is a really struggle to work out even how to test this in a way that would provide a true test of the claim?

 

To me, the current state of research is absolutely consistent with investigating a mental exercise that does have a wide variety of benefits, where almost all of which are very hard to design good research trials to test to a rigorous modern standard.

 

So I would take your "but the evidence is a bit shit" challenge and turn it around to "but it's a MILLION times stronger than for things that definitely don't work, like homeopathy, and given the fact that proper research has been going for barely 20 years, and the real research difficulties in any area involving subjective human experience, the research corpus is broadly where we'd expect it to be if there really IS something to meditation after all".

Edited by Ceaseless Change
Link to post
Share on other sites

No I'm not here just to troll.

 

Do not presume that anyone who does not share your opinions is trolling , to do so indicates to some that you are as thick as a "workhouse butty" and just a tad arrogant.

It was your announcement that you weren't going to get involved, only to get involved, that I was referring to. Also the lack of anything constructive to say. So maybe you shouldn't presume that the fact that you don't share my opinions had anything to do with it. It didn't.

 

I did not draw an analogy between painting coal white and meditating, you now have.

You made the reference to the military's history of making people do crazy things like painting coal white as an analogous basis for dismissing their adoption of meditation. It's nonsense, for the simple reason that you could use it for anything, revealing how empty it is. "But the military painted coal white once, so why should we pay any attention when they start saying guns are useful for them to have?". Oh dear.

 

Your argument was that anyone who disagrees with you should "man up" and tell the US marine corp sounded a bit like "My dad is bigger than your dad" .

No, my argument was that the US Marine Corp are as we speak sending soldiers that have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of training on meditation courses.... and you seem to not have a clue why, beyond a rather desperate "this must be another crazy episode like the coal painting" gambit.

 

I just get a bit bored with folk telling me to do anything because they think it would be good for me , I'm quite happy with my life thanks without meditating/ being brainwashed,having a life/career coach,having my chackras(?) massaged , joining any cult but if you need any of the above to make your life good and worthwhile crack on.

Fine, so jog on. If this whole subject is meaningless to you, I invite you to post somewhere else and get out of the way of those people who are trying to have a constructive conversation on the thread topic. Sticking around to cause trouble on a topic that you have no interest in is called, you guessed it, TROLLING.

Edited by Ceaseless Change
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not arguing that there aren't benefits to meditation, I'm saying that some of the claims you and others are making for its benefits are overblown. Some benefits, such as in people with depression or anxiety issues, are apparently well founded. It is not too surprising that learning to ignore worries is going to help with these things.

 

It's these vague claims of profound insights and enlightenment that I'm most suspicious of.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not arguing that there aren't benefits to meditation, I'm saying that some of the claims you and others are making for its benefits are overblown. Some benefits, such as in people with depression or anxiety issues, are apparently well founded. It is not too surprising that learning to ignore worries is going to help with these things.

 

It's these vague claims of profound insights and enlightenment that I'm most suspicious of.

Fair enough although if you had simply said "not independently verified" I might be more inclined to agree. "Overblown" requires you to know for a fact that these claims are false, which you don't.

 

Of course that word "independent" is the crux of the research problem when looking at things that are only ever experienced subjectively by a single individual.

 

You're right to be skeptical though. The Buddha is recorded as saying many many times that "you should not take my word for it. Don't take anyone's word for it. Verify it for yourself."

 

Out of interest which claims that I've made do you find the most unbelievable?

Edited by Ceaseless Change
Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair enough although if you had simply said "not independently verified" I might be more inclined to agree. "Overblown" requires you to know for a fact that these claims are false, which you don't.

 

It only requires sufficient knowledge of the available evidence to be reasonably sure that these claims are false, exaggerated, or "overblown" if the evidence does not support them.

Anyway, just to make my position clear, I am not denying that for some there are potential benefits to be gained from mediation, and I am not certainly denying outright the validity of evidence based on subjective experience, but due to the nature of this evidence we need to be extremely wary of any claims made based on it. The study of meditation in particular is clouded by preconception and centuries of association with spirituality. It looks like we agree on this.

 

Overall, I'm not convinced that there are great benefits for me. If I were a stressed or anxious person with poor concentration and memory and lack of awareness I would be tempted to give it a go. If I were a smug vegan looking for new reasons to convince myself I'm better than everyone else I might bleat about it on tumblr or something. Maybe some of my antipathy is down to a revulsion of the smugness which often goes with people who claim to have unlocked something which just makes them so much smarter and clued up than everyone else. I've had my share of.. insightful experiences about perception, consciousness, and the concept of self, and I've done some reading in that area. I'm alright with my consciousness as it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not arguing that there aren't benefits to meditation, I'm saying that some of the claims you and others are making for its benefits are overblown. Some benefits, such as in people with depression or anxiety issues, are apparently well founded. It is not too surprising that learning to ignore worries is going to help with these things.

 

It's these vague claims of profound insights and enlightenment that I'm most suspicious of.

(joking) A three by two length of wood directed at the back of the neck might have similar effects and although they might be seeing stars, I'm not sure that they'll see enlightenment? :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

No I'm not here just to troll.

 

Do not presume that anyone who does not share your opinions is trolling , to do so indicates to some that you are as thick as a "workhouse butty" and just a tad arrogant.

It was your announcement that you weren't going to get involved, only to get involved, that I was referring to. Also the lack of anything constructive to say. So maybe you shouldn't presume that the fact that you don't share my opinions had anything to do with it. It didn't.

 

I did not draw an analogy between painting coal white and meditating, you now have.

You made the reference to the military's history of making people do crazy things like painting coal white as an analogous basis for dismissing their adoption of meditation. It's nonsense, for the simple reason that you could use it for anything, revealing how empty it is. "But the military painted coal white once, so why should we pay any attention when they start saying guns are useful for them to have?". Oh dear.

 

Your argument was that anyone who disagrees with you should "man up" and tell the US marine corp sounded a bit like "My dad is bigger than your dad" .

No, my argument was that the US Marine Corp are as we speak sending soldiers that have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of training on meditation courses.... and you seem to not have a clue why, beyond a rather desperate "this must be another crazy episode like the coal painting" gambit.

 

I just get a bit bored with folk telling me to do anything because they think it would be good for me , I'm quite happy with my life thanks without meditating/ being brainwashed,having a life/career coach,having my chackras(?) massaged , joining any cult but if you need any of the above to make your life good and worthwhile crack on.

Fine, so jog on. If this whole subject is meaningless to you, I invite you to post somewhere else and get out of the way of those people who are trying to have a constructive conversation on the thread topic. Sticking around to cause trouble on a topic that you have no interest in is called, you guessed it, TROLLING.

 

LOL why not set up your own site then you would be entitled to stipulate who posts.

 

you quoted me as saying "this must be another crazy episode like the coal painting" when I didn't but it's an interesting hypothesis.

 

I am obliged by your invitation and your opinion that those who hold contrary views to your own are "causing trouble" .

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am obliged by your invitation and your opinion that those who hold contrary views to your own are "causing trouble" .

Ah but that is my point. You don't have any discernible views on the thread subject of meditation, contrary or otherwise. That is why you are a troll.

 

If you had a contrary view that you expressed constructively, like Vulgarian, I wouldn't have a problem with you at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall, I'm not convinced that there are great benefits for me.

 

I'm alright with my consciousness as it is.

I've never met anyone who was convinced by it without having actually tried it properly to be honest. So your position doesn't surprise me at all.

 

As for being happy as you are, you're a lucky person indeed. Although, you don't know what you don't know - if you had some experience of meditation and what is possible with it, you might well feel differently - you might recognise that "happy as I am" is settling for a lot less than you are capable of.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...