Stress Hack: Meditation — You’re likely doing it wrong.
Jasky Singh
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I was so extraordinarily saddened to read this. What’s written is a fine description of Samadhi meditation, which we should all start with: because we first have to exercise the muscle of our attention until it is strong enough to take us on the amazing — but very gradual — journey of Vipassana (insight) meditation. Apart from the fact that you’re (probably) sitting, the latter is a vastly different, and eventually immensely rewarding experience. It’s the difference between pushing a large bus down the street and race car driving. Not to know the difference — not to know that Vipassana (race car driving) even exists and just to have spent all your time pushing that transit bus down the street and then, nothing… because you’ve decided that automobiles in general just suck… Whoa!

Not that exercise is bad for you, of course, but… you have done the hardest work; you have pried open the great door… and then you didn’t go inside! You didn’t even start along the great road!

Of course that’s not your fault, your ignorance is others’ crappy teaching, or maybe just a rotten assumption on your part (in which case yeah, that is your presumptuous Western fault.) The vast majority of meditation traditions, certainly including nearly all Buddhist traditions and lineages start with a few years of Samadhi to make Vipassana possible; that or they don’t explicitly teach the difference but surround you with people who’ve been mediating Vipassana-style for decades so you do tend to recognize the feeling and pick it up. Which is a great method if you’ve got a lot of near-saints right at hand.

All that having been said, for those reading this who haven’t done their few years of preliminary Samadhi meditation yet: you can’t skip that part so please don’t try; do your years of Samadhi. As for the author, you should have been gently guided towards Vipassana some years ago. Or kicked there. Sorry ‘bout that.

Vipassana isn’t a bed of roses. You sip your emotional pain and gain enormous understanding, and more. But if you quit it — and you might, I have at least once — you won’t quit because it’s not doing anything. You’ll quit because you’ve had a true insight about yourself that you didn’t like at all.

PS: Boredom is of two kinds. 1) nothing is happening 2) unconscious fear of insights about to bubble up if you have too much time to yourself, or keep meditating. Persistence cures the latter but not the former.

PPS: Admittedly there are a few unusual strains of Hindu esotericism — of which TM is part — that prioritize Samadhi-only meditation and the attainment of bliss; but as just one contrasting example, Zen Buddhism reels back in horror from bliss as a goal of meditation, calling this the “caves of Satan”: in other words a Roach Motel — because it’s too easy to check in and then never leave. As a religion or meditation lineage, TM is very unusual. It’s a curious fossil of British Imperialism, a branch of a curious latter-day strain of Hinduism that was explicitly designed to counter the attractions of newly-imported British Christianity (as opposed to more ancient Indian Christianity) a couple of centuries ago. TM just ignores the possibility of Vipassana.