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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adventures in Enlightenment: Mindfulness (final thoughts)

(the mindfulness adventure)

So that was pretty interesting experiment. I stayed pretty disciplined at it. Even though I didn't put in a lot of time, I did do it pretty much every day (both sitting meditation and random moments of "mindfulness" throughout the day). I find meditating to be one of the weirdest experiences. You don't really realize what a chatter box your brain is until you just sit there and watch it and try to get it to just shut up for a second.

It occurs to me that in a way mindfulness and meditation are a way of running your brain in a "debugger". Debuggers are certainly an interesting way to learn how a complex system works. But the funny thing about debuggers is that some problems go away while you are running the debugger and some problems only occur while you are running a debugger. In any case it's nice to have the option to run in debug mode on occasion so you can try to understand the root cause of how a certain system works. It's just not clear if the effort of getting the mindfulness/meditation debugger working is worth it in the long run. But if nothing else it is entertaining to try.

One thing I thought about a lot is why I should think mindfulness/meditation is necessarily a good thing. About the only thing good you can say unequivocally about it is that it tends to reduce stress in the practitioners. But other than that does it demonstrably improve my life in some way? Does it make one more enlightened? I certainly don't associate proficiency in meditation with success in the world. It may be that the acceptance and peace of mind of meditation actually makes you less likely to have the partial insanity required to do great things. Certainly you need focus to do great things but I'm not sure why I would think that mindfulness/meditation is a necessary or sufficient condition for this sort of thing. Do I really need any more peace/relaxation in my life? Maybe the thing I really need is to create more chaos and hunger for greatness. Meh. Sitting is easier. :)

In any case I'm going to try to stick with the minimal mindfulness plan for a while and see how it goes.

Tune in tomorrow for next month's adventure in enlightenment.

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