Sam Harris is known as one of the four horsemen - including Dennitt, Dawkins and Hitchens. They are all proponents of science and reason.
Sam Harris has a blog and this is his latest blog post:
I was interested to hear his answer to the second question regarding his experiences travelling in India in his 20's and the impact that's had on his life. He still meditates and promotes a type of meditation called Vipassana and then details the benefits he sees from practising this meditation.
I'm really interested in having a discussion on Meditation.
What are your thoughts about Meditation?
Have you ever practiced mediation?
Is it compatible with science and reason?
Could it be beneficial to our lives?
I don't have ten full days to spend on meditation, so I guess it's out of the question for me.
Meditation never seemed like much to me, however I could be wrong. Hypothetically speaking, of course, I'd say a shorter six hour introspective trip using psilocybin would be preferable.
Jesus - I'm not sure about that. I think those things have long term effects that aren't necessarily good. Meditation is a totally different experience to taking psycho tropic drugs. You could try and meditation whilst under the influence of psilocybin, but I don't think you would be able to maintain the disciplined focus and concentration required to meditate.
Psilocybin might give you an apparently life changing perception on life, but it wouldn't give you the natural high and sense of well-being of meditation. It would leave your body feeling in need of recuperation and nurturing. Whereas mediation would leave you feeling full and relaxed. psilocybin is a poison and would leave your body feeling like it has just been poisoned.
You can't align the two as being the same thing.
Hey guys, don't believe for a moment that you cannot meditate because your mind is racing. Stopping your mind from racing is one of the primary purposes *of* meditation. Meditation isn't a path to a goal, it's a path that is, in itself, the goal. If you've honestly tried, you've already succeeded. If you set yourself a goal for meditation, you are defeating its purpose.
Especially in the case of OCD, which I too suffer from, you can actually use your problem to help you along in this regard. We like counting things, right? Trust me, that can work in your favor. I'm not sure where the idea that it takes ten days to learn to meditate comes from, but I assure you that you can learn in ten minutes.
I wrote a basic instruction manual for my blog a couple of years ago. You can try it right now, if you have ten minutes free. If you can eliminate your preconceptions of achievement, I promise you that it *will* work:
Actually, no, I'm not a counter.
I've tried many times, yes. Okay, so I've succeeded at meditation ... and it had zero effect that I could see, because my brain was spinning around doing stuff the whole time. Heh, if the point of meditation is to say that you've meditated ... well, that's kind of pointless.
Also, it's very inaccurate to say that I suffer from OCD. I don't mind it in the slightest. I just inflict it on everyone around me.
The point is not to *say* you have meditated. The point is to have followed the process. You get the benefits whether or not you "succeed" at it. The process is designed to help you progress a little bit every time you try it.
The first ten times you tried to tie your own shoes, you most likely were as terrible at it as everyone else was. But you tried again and again, and eventually became very proficient at it. Why would an activity of potentially life-changing effect be any easier? Could you sit on a couch for a months, then get up and run a marathon?
Do it for five minutes every day for a month, and I guarantee you'll not only start to get the health benefits, you'll see that thought spiral start to melt away while you do it.
Think of meditation like the old Dramamine commercials: "You need it before you need it!" If you wait until you are in the middle of a panic attack to try to meditate, it will do you no good. If you practice doing it every day for a month, when that panic attack comes, you'll be able to move into the mental state that settles your heartrate easily...