The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Settling on the objective

In an excellent post, Ed Batista describes his approach to mindfulness and meditation.

What he also does, is describe things as they are. He demystifies it by highlighting common assumptions about mindfulness and meditation.

Among the assumptions is also the confusion between what the practice is achieving and what it is for.

The practice is there to get used to the technique.

Practicing can give a benefit in the moment, however, especially at the beginning, the benefit will not come through the practice itself. It will come from the satisfaction of having followed up on the choice to be consistent and practice regularly.

As Ed describes, meditating can feel stressful. It doesn’t matter. Sitting down matters.

Experiencing oneself in the practice can take quite a while until a sense of ease sets in. It is independent of the ease of the experience, as the ease that is being learned is the one of applying the technique and making it a habit. Applying the technique itself often doesn’t discharge us from the sense of failing, as applying the technique is the very reaction to having been distracted.

Whenever the sense of failure steps in, it’s due to choosing the wrong goal for the practice. Take for example someone who is meditating to “clear the mind”, whenever a distraction appears it is also a moment of failure or one of experiencing an imperfection in one’s attention management. A more useful goal is to set out to seek to notice distractions and let them go. Once doing so becomes possible and a habit, it can be applied to many situations outside of meditation itself.

That’s how meditation transforms our ability to manage our attention. Possibly also to slow down reactions and find oneself experiencing more calm. And as the practice becomes sustained, meditation can also lead to an experience of calm within the mediation. Sometimes.

The same applies to any process that is there to enable performance and staying on task.


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