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It's primarily a question of attachment. Those who are "best" at meditating have the capacity to observe without getting caught up in the thought stream.

I think it boils down to karma, some people come into this life completely ready to take the inward journey; others, not so ready, need to break a mountain of karmic rocks before the mind begins to truly settle.

Having sat a number of retreats when I was younger (as in over a hundred days across various traditions) it's pretty clear that I was in the breaking rocks phase. Of course, I'm still in the breaking rocks phase (or even regressed to pre-breaking rocks) as I gave up formal meditation practice several years ago.

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