Tag Archives: Meditation

Meditation and Personal Development – Mortal Enemies?

Today, as I was meditating, something occurred to me. It was: it is not only the case that meditation helps me to see the world in high definition. It is that meditation helps me accept myself as I am.

This leads to a certain tension between meditation and personal development.

Meditation is about being satisfied in the moment. Personal development is born of dissatisfaction.

Meditation is about living in the present moment. It is about understanding that the here and now is enough, and that the past and future projections in which our mind spends most of its day-to-day life are almost always the cause of our suffering.

Meditation also gives us perspective and clarity, and helps us see our excesses.

On the other hand, personal development focuses on the future. Personal development is about visualizing a better self as a goal- a better future situation for which to aim for – and devising a plan in that direction. A plan is nothing more than a succession of ever closer micro-future projections.

Furthermore, personal development often requires excesses. Sacrifices. Analyzing anyone who has achieved something sublime, we can determine that success came from focusing on one goal. The focus comes from the ability to set priorities and to follow them. Setting and following priorities requires, by definition, leaving other things behind. That is: sacrifices.

It is, of course, possible to achieve some objectives without excesses. But rarely do life’s great strides come without unusual exertion, an effort that leaves scars.

The truth is that when I meditate, when I go into a deeper meditation session, I feel less interested in my goals. It is not an apathetic disinterest; It’s more of a “things are already fine, the goal is not that important.”

This scares me a lot. As good as it is to be pleased with the present moment, I feel partial about Future Luís’ enjoyment of his present moment.

We are beings made of dichotomies. In us lives darkness and light, chaos and order. This dichotomy – between the peace of living in the present and the tension needed for a better future – is yet another imperfection of life to be accepted.

Another Benefit From Mediation

It is the ability to glimpse the wonder inherent in things.

The presence of something phenomenal is not required. In the face of pure attention, the banal becomes magical. The blinking cursor on the page, the shape of the symbols on the keyboard, the noise of the computer fan. Even the sound of typing on the keyboard.

Once again: Practicing meditation is learning to see, hear, and feel the world in high definition.

Photo by Adrienn from Pexels

The Strangeness of Paying Attention

There is an inherent strangeness in the world. Just look with enough attention.

We know what a hand is. It’s a part of our body. We know what constitutes the hand – bones, nervous tissue, muscle tissue, cartilage, etc.

And yet, make the following experience: look at your hand, in a relaxed manner, for a couple of minutes. Do not try to think about it. Just look at it. If you want to go a little further: use it to point directly to your face, to your eyes, and direct your gaze to the tip of your finger.

You do not know what this is. You do not know how it works. You do not know what this sensation is, caused by merely witnessing a part of your body.

Now try it with a pet. It’s a dog. Or a cat. Or an iguana. As in the case of the hand, classification is trivial.

But take a closer look. The movements. The detail of hairs, or skin. The wet of the nose; the pattern that covers the skin of the nose. The very strangeness of the fact of the co-habitation of this being, in harmony with you. The strangeness of its actions, of how it ”is.”

Observed with sufficient attention, setting aside the labels, the classifications… It might as well be an alien that you are observing. It’s strange in the same way an alien would be – you don’t know what it is or how it works, beyond the noun.

Is this how children see the world? I do not know. But it is a plane of experience accessible to all.

Just watch carefully.