There's a fair amount of peer-reviewed research on the benefits of mindfulness meditation, and it doesn't seem all that unlikely that exercising your brain in different ways really can help your brain function differently.
How might someone conduct a blinded placebo controlled trial of a suicide prevention campaign, or of parental advice to help reduce risk of cot death, for example?
They wouldn't. They'd roll up their sleeves and get deeply involved in the messy, unpredictable world of human emotion and social interaction.
And that's good and appropriate, and there are effective and responsible methods for doing it.
Just because we can point to something and say "aha, that's subjective" doesn't mean we need to eliminate it. In fact, the more we try to eliminate it, the harder it becomes to translate evidence from the lab to the real world.
Objectivity world be nice, but it's vanishingly rare.
I think that OP meant to ask "is it possible your perception has changed with age/experience, rather than with your methods?"
So i should choose carefully.
I have also noticed that whatever defaults i left childhood with are ridiculously hard to change.
1: Cells have two ultimate fates: they either fail to resist cancer or, if they succeed, eventually die of doing it, sort of wear-and-tear, i.e. "ageing" as we call it. Lookup telomeres and cancer. Therein lies the recent hype/hope of increasing human life expectancy by a lot, perhaps orders of magnitude.
Being able to control the "pause" was a crucial part of it, and the little bit of info I gleamed from it was helpful for me.
it's very interesting, because i always find that i'm instead almost always holding my breath for some reason. not sure if that has anything to do with doing these exercises or not, but im always taking deep breaths randomly because i dont realize that im sort of out of air
> "Having a control pause of less than 25 seconds is poor and 25 seconds to 35 seconds means there is room for improvement. The goal is to reach a comfortable breath hold time of 40 seconds. The average control pause of students attending our clinics is around 15 seconds."
5 seconds feels like a long time, 15 seconds is as far as I could go first couple of tries, 20-25 seconds my upper body/throat gets twitchy trying to reopen, then I pushed it to 30 seconds a couple of times, and just now 40 seconds.
I'm suspicious that something I can go from "poor" and "average" to the goal(?) in about 10 tries can be so serious - unless you're supposed to be able to do that between every breath?
I also did meditation on and off for years, without much benefit. Then I went to a 10-day silent meditation course (the free Goenka one). On the third day it clicked. Now meditation is extremely useful for me. My life has improved a lot since then. I meditate about 4-5 one-hour sessions per month.
Furthermore, I can observe personalized effects over long time spans - e.g. change in physical condition after lifting or getting enough sleep for x amount of time.
That is the exact same approach to meditation, what is your qualm?
Furthermore, I am yet to hear someone explain these depths in meditation that everyone seems to allude too. As far as I know it's "sit still, focus on one thing or push away all thoughts." Or chant a mantra, if you want to pay for Transcendental Meditation lessons which come up with a personalized mantra that makes zero sense at all.
Can you see what I'm getting at here?
EDIT: Sorry. Originally said "what I'm driving at here". It's been a long week and I'm subconsciously making bad puns.
Agreed that genuine understanding is more useful, of course -- but correctly choosing which authorities to believe (and with what level of confidence) is often a necessary second-best. How many things do any of us truly understand in full detail?
> How many things do any of us truly understand in full detail?
Can you visualize the mechanism? You either do or you don't. Maybe the visualization is misleading. Maybe it's not. But if you're at least doing the motions there, you're revising the mechanism rather than reinventing the wheel from scratch.
Not sure if I understand you here (I don't get the 'trainspotting' reference), but: in a world where not jumping in front of trains was fatal, parents would instruct their kids to jump in front of trains, and the ones who took their advice would survive.
In a world where it didn't matter so much either way, who knows, maybe some parents would needlessly forbid their children from jumping in front of trains. So the kids who didn't blindly follow their parents' advice might benefit from their curiosity. But if they made a habit of ignoring their parents' advice until they fully understood the reasoning behind it, they would do a bunch of other stupidly dangerous things and probably die.
> Can you visualize the mechanism? You either do or you don't. Maybe the visualization is misleading. Maybe it's not. But if you're at least doing the motions there, you're revising the mechanism rather than reinventing the wheel from scratch.
I think there's a big gap between having some kind of mental model, and having a sufficiently detailed, accurate, robust mental model to make independent judgments in important contexts. Sure, a rough high-level understanding can be useful as a preliminary bullshit detector, pinging for things that should be taken with great scepticism pending further investigation; but unless you understand a topic in full detail, you're always at risk of making 'logical' deductions that fail because of unknown (to you) unknowns.
> You shouldn't be surprised when none of these things "work" -- do you even understand why they should?
Understanding is not required for many things. And in fact, the thing does work!
As an example, I do not actually understand why lifting makes me stronger. Why do muscles respond to increased resistance with more strength? Certainly my ankle ligaments didn't respond to injury with more strength. Well, I don't care and it doesn't matter. It will still work.
Maybe you'll get lucky. Or maybe, you'll wish you took the time to understand should you blow a disc in your spine. Is it possible that that you'd learn a bit more about the difference between bodyweight exercises and more than bodyweight exercises, and the requisite amount of care to do the two sustainably long term without incurring risks of debilitating injury?
But in my case I just paid a guy to tell me what to do until it became automatic habit.
If they were doing that, they could use a normal username. Signing up with a throwaway to post a one-line "doesn't work" criticism about something many people feel strongly about is much more akin to "trolling" than "sharing in earnest".
(As for the account, who knows -- maybe they correctly anticipated downvotes, but believed the comment was nevertheless worth making -- but it is several months old.)
I am extremely interested in the subject, but I am also interested in concrete results.
At the very least, those 10 minutes you're spending meditating are 10 minutes not spent doing something else. Whatever that something else is, would very likely have a different effect. So if anything, meditating is affecting you by displacing something else that would leave its own mark.
In some ways, I think "doing absolutely nothing" is the point of meditation, perhaps you're just not appreciating it yet.
Yes, meditation should deliver noticeable results. If it doesn't then you are doing it wrong.
Pretty sure many of those people simply aren't good at feeling themselves.
That said, the traditional texts are still hard to parse. I’ve considered writing a manual-to-the-manual of sorts that explains the same concepts but in a modern way. I should mention that Leigh Brasington has some really awesome content out there (videos, books, and articles). I am not a master meditator, but if that sort of a thing exists, Leigh is.
But as you have said there are many more techniques. I've heard the breath called a relatively difficult meditation object for beginners.
But you have to make the effort of reading the books (or finding a competent teacher) and then practicing the techniques hard enough and long enough for a fair appraisal. 10 minutes a day of instructions from Headspace is predictably useless. You can write it off at that if you like, but it would be like pumping a dumbbell for two reps a day and concluding that weightlifting is useless as exercise.
Oh, and I also don't do running or any other sort of exercise regularly. Felt awesome most of the time, and still do. Especially after eating ice cream.