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Vipassana Meditation Helps Yuval Noah Harari Write His Books

How watching our breath can help us accomplish titanic works

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Picture from Wikipedia

Yuval Noah Harari is the author of New York Time bestsellers, “Homo Sapiens,” “Homo Deus,” and “20 Lessons from the Twentieth First Century.” His books are translated into more than 50 languages all over the world and are game changers for a lot of people who read them. His books change the way people think and look at the world.

All three books are thick and filled with interesting break-through ideas and details. They cover almost every aspect of human beings since the beginning of time up to the twentieth first century. Yuval Noah Harari covers human history from the stone age to the age of algorithm. The books make a big impact on the way readers think. Almost everyone, including me, is impressed by what he wrote in the books.

Yuval Noah Harari is a Professor of history at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received a Ph. D. from Oxford University. The books, especially “Homo Sapiens,” originates from a compilation of his class lectures.

Most of us wonder how one human being can produce books like the ones Yuval Noah Harari did. In one interview among many he gave, he mentioned without Vipassana meditation he wouldn’t be able to write these books. He said practicing Vipassana gives him concentration, clarity and focus. It is a kind of mind necessary for any creative endeavour causing an impact among people.

Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

Yuval meditates two hours a day, one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. So far, he has been practicing Vipassana for over twenty years. Each year he takes a two-month meditation retreat at one of S. N. Narayan Goenka Meditation Centers. Goenka or Sataya Narayan Goenka, commonly known as S. N. Goenka, a famous Indian Vipassana Guru who was born and trained his meditation technique from U Bakhin in Burma is his Vipassana teacher. No doubt about Goenka’s influence on him seen from his dedication of one of his books to this meditation master because he thinks without Vipassana he wouldn't be able to write those titanic trios.

Most important, besides giving him focus, according to him, Vipassana makes him see reality as it is. In “Homo sapiens,” he said what makes homo sapiens rule the world over all animals is Homo sapiens have what other animals lack; that is, fiction, storytelling and imagination. Many animals have languages of their own which they use to communicate with one another, but they lack imagination. They aren’t capable of creating make-beliefs like homo sapiens.

Why fiction is one important element that helps Homo sapiens rule the world? The answer is fiction helps Homo sapiens work in a collective manner. You have to believe collectively in what you create out of thin air, be it nation, religion, financial system etc.

It might surprise us when we read what’s mentioned above. How can anyone say that our nation, our religion, our money are only make-beliefs. Something we revere and hold up to is not objective but subjective. To Yuval anything seems to be subjective and open to interpretation. there is no objective final answer. One thing you believe all your life might collapse or morphe into something unexpected.

So, Vipassana meditation, besides helping him to have an incredible focus, helps him to see things just the way they are. There is no fiction or make-belief. He said in one interview how can we talk about economic syatem and other important things if we don’t understand ourselves and our reality.

Funny, how sitting still just watching our breath for hours can help us see things better. But it’s true for clarity is a result of Vipassana practice. Those who read Yuval’s works see that in his books his argument is logical and well-organized. It is very easy to follow his train of thoughts how complicated it is.

Those who watch him in the interview clips see how poised he is, and his answer is sharp. Of course, he possesses a big, smart brain, but it is a brain that is well-organised and clear as a result of Vipassana meditation.

Though we might not be able to produce titanic works like Yuval Noah Harari, practicing Vipassana certainly improve the clarity of our mind and the quality of our brain. Though Yuval Noah Harari said that Vipassana might not be the all-solution to the world’s problems, it certainly gives us a clear mind necessary for creating any constructive endeavours.

So, let’s begin watching our breath everyday.

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Malinee Kaewnetr

Malinee Kaewnetr

Reader. Writer.Translator. Movie buff. Lifelong learner.

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