Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Really nice read. Honest, detailed, introspective.

I once did a 10-day silent meditation retreat (Vipassana) that has some similarities to the author's journey. The lack of communication and interaction was even more extreme than just cutting off technology. I found myself bored quite often. But the focused meditation practice helped me find a new state of mental focus that was remarkable. I don't practice meditation anymore so I don't see this benefit daily but I at least know what my mind is capable of.


As someone who struggles with basic meditation, but believe in it for the long haul, I'm curious why you stopped meditate after seeing such insight? Do you have ambition or hope to take it up again? Or do you feel that you don't need to?

Not the poster that you're replying to, but my story is similar. I did my first 10-day Vipassana retreat while on an extended vacation.

Every word GP said feels like it describes my first experience. I had some pretty profound realizations while there and expected that it would be pretty life altering. However I took no care in how I re-entered life and the combination of immediately going back to using phone/computer and traveling around in a third-world country was almost more than I could handle. I felt like I was going crazy adapting back to a stressful world from one where my mind was so calm. I did try to continue meditating, but I found I had nowhere near the concentration I needed to get value from the practice.

But I resolved to try again, so I attended another 10-day retreat trying to apply lessons learned from my first attempt. The second time, I planned in advance to slowly re-integrate myself into my normal life. I booked a hotel room for a few days after the retreat to lock myself away and start adding back distractions one at a time. This worked better and I was able to keep up my meditation routine (1hr in the mornings, 1hr in the evenings) for 2 months after that. But I found that 2hrs/day mediation is pretty qualitatively different from the kind you get at the retreats (more than 8hrs /day). I still think daily meditation is valuable, but given its lesser impact and the distractions and stresses of everyday life, I just sort of fell out of practice and haven't restarted.

I am hopeful to do more retreats and do better at integrating meditation practice into my everyday life. But, suffice it to say, my first two attempts at that didn't succeed in a way that lasted more than the two months following my second retreat.

Do you have any meditation practice whatsoever? Did you find value in meditating for shorter periods (less time commitment) like 10-20 minutes a day and notice any benefit?

There's lots of shorter meditation apps offering similar times and tout a whole host of benefits.

Sorry for my delayed response. curun1r's reply is also pretty good but my two-cents:

I wanted to see how focused my mind could get so that's why I did Vipassana. The improvement was noticeable but I'm not such a scatter-brain normally that the benefit is worth 2 hrs/day investment.

There are other benefits beyond focus, such as calmness of mind, and likely a higher happiness baseline from realizing you need little to be at peace. I'm fortunate to not have mental health issues and an amazing family so again the benefits to me were not as profound.

I do hope to take it up again, but likely after retirement, or (heaven forbid) there's a dramatic event in my life that increases the value of this technique.

I had a boss once who attended a 10-day silent retreat. He spent about 2-3 hours a day texting and emailing me. I chalked this up to him adhering to the letter of the law but not the spirit.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact