As an atheist and skeptic, I enjoy thinking, reflecting, pondering.   The idea to deliberately stop thinking appears ludicrous to me.   

Over the years, I have read many definitions of what meditation is supposed to be, but behind many big words it seem essentially to be just an attempt to stop thinking.  Personally I am puzzled, how not thinking can attract anybody.  

Yet so many people claim, that meditation is beneficial for them.   They obviously feel something they call spirituality and it seems that by meditation they can enhance it.  It is elusive to me, just as the idea of somebody claiming to be spiritual but not religious is beyond my comprehension. Feeling interconnected with some cosmical power is as alien to me as is the belief in a deity.   
Sometimes I am wondering, if some spirituality module is lacking in my brain.   Or rather, that I am free of it.   I do not miss spirituality, whatever it may be, but I am puzzled, why it is of so much importance to so many people.   The belief in a deity and in the power of rituals like praying can be explained by extrinsic influences.   But this elusive spirituality seems to be intrinsic.  

Do other atheists experience something like spirituality?   Are there others, who are as void of it as I am?  

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But it cannot work for people like me, who get bored by such exercises.


But that is part of the whole point of it, it takes years, not 10 minutes.  Personally, a part of me I hates sitting meditation; the boredom, the tediousness of it, sometimes the physical pain, seeing the chaos and entertainment that my mind thrives on instead of clarity of thought.  What I can not deny is the physical and mental benefits that have and do happen to me by practicing.  it's like a heavy-set person who has been sedentary for years begins to exercise, the first session, the second, the third and so on are going to be painful, but if they keep with it, then they will get in better shape

What kind of scientist will do an experiment and at the first sign of a negative (in this case, boredom) and give up the experiment?  I once heard a meditation teacher describe proper meditation as one of the easiest techniques to follow, but one of the hardest things our minds will do.  So instead of repeating yourself, that it didn't work for you, just admit that  you don't want to really try.  

Because 10 minutes, a half-hour, or even a hour will not be a fair trial.  It took me hours of sitting there, practicing the technique before any result happened, and the funny thing was, I didn't think it had done a thing, it was my family and friends that noticed changes in my thinking and my attitude and every now and then, I would get a reminder, why don't you go do another meditation weekend, when they thought I was getting chaotic again.

My OP was caused by my interest, why meditation is attractive and beneficial for others.    I did not ask for the projection, that it should be beneficial for me.   

People are different, they have different needs.  

It is obvious, that people are motivated to pay the price of getting bored by some exercises, when they expect the reward of fulfilling a need.  It is also obvious, that meditation is a beneficial method of homeostation for those people, who feel some kind of mental or emotional dishomeostasis.

But those people without this dishomeostasis just are not motivated to get bored, when they experience it as nothing but displeasure, when there is reward to earn.    

The effort to learn and gain knowledge is based upon curiosity and a need to know more, it is an intellectual effort.  This cannot be compared with the futile efforts to restore homeostasis, when there is no dishomeostasis.    It cannot be compared with the emotional effort to suffer something unpleasant like boredom.   

Following this logic, every person is interested for example in the benefits of radiation on cancer should should gain personal experience of radiation?   

I accept, that meditation is beneficial for those people, who feel a need for it.   The claim, that meditation can be beneficial for every person, independent of feeling a need, appears to me a claim as unfounded as is the existence of a god.  

Maruli, your OP was at least two things to me:

1) Meditation is trying to stop thoughts.

Hopefully this misunderstanding has been corrected?

2) A general mass of woo woo sounding terms undefined but characterized as something to do with or connected to meditation/'spirituality', ask 6 different people what 'spirituality' means to them and you will likely get 6 different answers.

What do you mean now by 'homeostation' and 'dishomeostasis'? Here you are again working from a faulty premise i believe, or at least some personal understanding of what is happening with people with your own special terminology.

I.M.O it would help if you would either clarify your terms as you use them, or perhaps stick to terms that have common usage and significance.

In my replies to you  I have not presumed to expect you to feel the same way as myself or anyone else about the subject of meditation, but merely to try to help clear up what I feel are profound misunderstandings of it. To this end I feel we are not yet even talking about the same thing, the endeavor is to try and get us on the same page as to what we are actually talking about!

I honestly feel you are reacting to comments from your own special interpretation of meditation and not from having really understood or practised with right understanding. This is not me saying anything bad about you, but it is a plea to you to try and agree to at least even be looking at the same map before discussing the territory.

Best wishes, Nick


I try an analogy.   When I was a child, I never had a headache.   I was puzzled, what it was that other people took aspirines for.   By taking an aspirine without a headache, I would have experienced not benefits, and it would not have taught me the meaning of a headache.  

In my puzzled question, meditation is like the aspirine.   I could not experience benefits without having a headache, without the need for it.

By dishomeostasis I mean to feel the urge to some specific behavior to fulfill a need, for example the headache.   Homeostation is the behavior to restore the homeostasis of not feeling any need.   Taking the aspirine is an example.   

I was and am accepting all information about how others experience meditation as beneficial.   But I do not accept the unfounded claim, that it would be beneficial for me, it I would only do, what is beneficial for others.     

 Of course you should not do it if you have no interest, but that disqualifies you from claiming it would not benefit you as you haven't done it. No trying to 'follow your breath' a few times does not really count as trying it in this instance.

What if the illness was only noticeable with its cessation?

I used to dislike jogging whilst understanding that some people found it beneficial, that didn't make me think that I wouldn't benefit from it though. I felt I was pretty fit until I tried to run round the block!

Just saying ;)



but that disqualifies you from claiming it would not benefit you as you haven't done it.
This is the same reasoning as with the claim of religious people, that praying is beneficial.   It is their claim, it is their job to proof any claim.   It is no my job to proof the absence of the benefits of praying for myself.

When someone makes the claim, that meditation is either beneficial for everybody or for persons other than himself, the job to prove it is his.    I do not claim the absence of benefits for me.  I reject the claim, that it has benefits for me.   That is not the same. 

My point is that I have no need, that could be fulfilled with meditation.   The question, if in the case of a need, meditation would then be beneficial for me or not, cannot be answered.  

It is the same with prayer.  The question, if prayer can be beneficial due to the placebo effect, can only be answered, if the person has a need that serves as an urge to pray.    



"This is the same reasoning as with the claim of religious people, that praying is beneficial."

Not even remotely the same, false equivalence.

There are studies that show the benefit of prayer, the claim of religious people is that  this is so because of other claims that they make, such as a personal god who answers their prayer is why it is beneficial.

Meditation is an experiment, no claims of 'supernatural' providence need be invoked.

Also you are making a claim, you're claiming a negative result without even doing the experiment.

I have not claimed meditation would be beneficial to you. It might cause you psychosis for all I know.

"My point is that I have no need, that could be fulfilled with meditation.   The question, if in the case of a need, meditation would then be beneficial for me or not, cannot be answered."

See here you are claiming in effect to know why people meditate and that you know that you don't have that need...and that you know meditation fulfills this need. What is this knowledge based on? What is this need?

I accept every statement, that anybody here has made about himself.

But NOBODY is rationally able to make any claim about me.  

NOBODY is able to judge, if I personally have or lack a need to meditate.   

NOBODY is able to judge, if meditation could have ANY effect upon me or not.   

I appreciate all the answers I got, which were limited to people talking about their personal experience.   

I prefer to stop at this point instead of deal with projections upon my person. 


I agree that meditation isn't something that is good for everyone at all times... and I disagree that we should push though pain and annoyance in meditation for the end result.  I grew up in a meditation centre in a cult - and was asked to meditate for long periods as a child aged between 5 and adulthood.  I did have some interesting experiences in group meditations and I did loose the feeling in my legs at times.  Everyone commented and encouraged me to sit still and be silent, but I didn't tell anyone of my pain, because it wasn't talked about.  What a load of crap!  Totally missed the point there.  Meditation should be a voluntary thing that is a good experience, and if we do it laying down and fall asleep, well that's fine too - I was given the message as a child that it was wrong to fall asleep when meditating and that the aim was to stay still and be silent and calm, regardless of pain or distraction.


I realise that adults are better at looking after their own needs and will move or get up and walk around.  So I'll stick with, meditation has some useful techniques, that can be used if people find them useful and want to do them.


I suspect also, that it might be a bit of a placebo effect also - in that if we distract our mind and trick ourselves into believing that it will give us well being, then in fact this is the out come....  it works for me - and it would be interest to see the science on it - either way - do what you will in life - and if these techniques float your boat - great!




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