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The best things in life come without hacks, and meditation is one of them. Here’s why.
It seems like part of the tech world, and probably overly generalised, but most of the Bay Area is obsessed with life hacking. Recently, I’ve started hearing this construct of ‘brain hacking’, only to realise it was code for meditation — at this point I can only imagine that Buddha himself would be rolling in his grave if he heard some of the constructs of modern day ‘mindfulness’.
A search with a result, but maybe not a question…
At a recent dinner, I found myself holding court to a fine selection of entrepreneurs and young professionals in one of the most dynamic, pacy, and potentially spirited cities in the world – San Francisco – only to find that the conversation wasn’t about new technology, a new start-up, or about a recent funding announcement, but overtly focused on a deeper search. Fortunately, no one thought they were hacking themselves (thank heaven).
The theme, ever since the start of the year, has become more and more prevalent and I found my experience of doing the Vipassana seemed to have hit home for a lot of people who were looking for answers, without necessarily defining the question they had in their minds. The intensity of the curiosity has definitely shaped a lot of my non start-up tech discussions with people of late, and I found myself repeating key themes. Hence, I thought, why not write it down for others, to maybe have a non-hacker’s overview of meditation?
Two things we MUST realise
These 2 points are potentially counter-intuitive, but understanding these is the basis for understanding the ‘question’, and how meditation fits so well into the ‘answer’.
But, for a second, let’s step back and see the issues this causes. As we plug our holes by relationships and the like, we increase the dependence on the plug, and thereby the fear of it being dislodged; we move from a state of wanting the plug to not wanting to lose the plug, and our behaviour changes to protective rather than additive – the opposite end of the spectrum. If we simply realised that we have holes and that they are part of our dynamic, then we’d step into relationships with a still mind, and not with a racing one.
The same could be applied to money — when hungry for it, we focus on earning; and when we have it — we are nervous of losing it.
The trouble starts in the subconscious
Here are some high level things that Buddha’s wisdom has developed — a key insight into any mindful meditation.
And don’t just read this and intellectualise it. Sit cross-legged for 1 hour, and see what it feels like. You will get white pain in your thighs but don’t open them. Just observe the sensation and breathe, and watch the pain disappear and eventually pulsate, becoming lighter every time, till it eventually fades away.
Not about hacking
Hopefully, you see why this is not hacking – it’s so much grander and bigger. It questions the notion of the self and ego. Even Einstein said that the notion of self doesn’t exist as we are, it’s only borrowed material from the earth that has a set half-life.
I’m not a preacher. I have many of my own issues, but this technique helps me get sanity after 10 years of almost pure insanity. More importantly, it’s given me control over my reactions, so that life is a little more peaceful :)
And that’s a wrap. If you want to learn more about my 10 days of Vipassana, check this out.
*life hacking – a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one's time and daily activities in a more efficient way.
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