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I meditate ten minutes a day. It does absolutely nothing for me.





When you start meditating, 10 mins a day is bullshit. You need 30 mins before you can get the hang of it. When you start out, go to a retreat if you can afford the time and money and sit there for 3 days and watch your mind. If you can't do this (I myself couldn't do this btw), then start with minimum 1 hour everyday first thing in the morning. At the 2 month mark you will see changes. After that you can bring the time down based on how much you can commit, still not less than 30 mins IMO. But give this a try with min 1 hour. It is life changing simple thing to not be able to give it at least a shot. I tried it for 10 years on and off before it finally clicked.

I can roughly offer supporting anecdotal evidence for this. I went years meditating 10-15 min increments without achieving much at all. It was only when I switched to doing 45-60 min every single day for about 3-4 months that some crazy and life-changing breakthroughs started happening.

Crazy and life-changing breakthroughs?

Elimination of my social anxiety, near-constant mindfulness throughout the day, profound and lasting experiences of joy, some weird purging of like every negative emotion I've ever internalized, significant memory enhancements, etc. It was definitely not all sunshine and rainbows going through that process, especially since it caught me so off guard (I only got into meditation to have a bit more focus and discipline, and I even thought I was pretty practiced as a meditator before I started getting really diligent about it, but boy was I wrong.) ...but on balance, I'd overwhelmingly say it was worth it.

Sane and life-changing breakthroughs.

I did do some longer sessions (30-60m) in the beginning, which may have helped it to "click", but -- YMMV -- for me, ~10m is the threshold where it can suffice for the day. Increasingly in recent months I'm able to effectively meditate while doing other things, and it's more a deliberate letting go and and complete immersion in the present than a focus of attention on breathing... but starting my day w zazen is essential.

I can confirm that 10 min is not enough.

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.


Maybe you'd feel way worse if you didn't do it.

In "Mind Illuminated" it is suggested to start with 15 minutes and add 5 after each week. This book has been recommended here several times before, helped at least one person that meditated for years to advance further. Written by a neuroscientist that teaches meditation for decades.

Could I ask why you continue to do it?

"research says / better safe than sorry" - kind of like running, not eating sugar, doing n-back training, etc

But if you're just doing it to do it, especially with something like meditation, does it actually have value? No sugar certainly, but meditation is really just there for the emotional effects.

Doing things just because research says you should do it, or because you're better safe than sorry, is simply punting the decision and the cognitive understanding to an authority. You shouldn't be surprised when none of these things "work" -- do you even understand why they should?

This is a nonsensical statement. I cannot confirm accepted research in a time efficient manner. What I can do to make my life better is read, and trust authoritative research, after confirming the authority.

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.


The sugar thing will work whether he believes it or not.

Belief is your word, not mine. If you don't jump in front of the train, you have avoided that hazard. But if you understand why your parent told you not to jump in front of the train, you might also be able to independently figure out why you shouldn't jump in front of a speeding car.

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.


Still, not jumping in front of the train will 'work' regardless of whether you understand why. And it's a lot more useful than remaining agnostic about train-jumping until you understand the physical principles involved.

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?


What if jumping in front of a train ("trainspotting") worked regardless of whether you understood why?

> 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.


> What if jumping in front of a train ("trainspotting") worked regardless of whether you understood why?

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.


Sure, and that's inductive generalization and it's useful, but even just using empirical evidence is sufficient for a lot of things. You don't have to understand the causative relation. In fact, much of medicine is this way. Doing X causes adverse effect Y, doing P causes beneficial effect Q.

So

> 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.


> 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?


That’s the magic of form. You don’t need deep understanding, you only need rules. It’ll be fine.

So you need a rule set, you need to take it seriously, you need to pick the right ones (and not accidentally pick the wrong ones or omit the right ones), and if you make a mistake, you can seriously physically injure yourself. Sounds like deep understanding to me; could you be taking it for granted because you've come to a point of mastery such it feels facile?

I'm flattered, naturally :)

But in my case I just paid a guy to tell me what to do until it became automatic habit.



throw1234651234 is simply stating their experience in earnest. I don't think downvotes are necessary here. Does their views on meditation threaten your own? Then go back to your cushions, meditate more.

> simply stating their experience in earnest

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".


A more charitable interpretation is that they believe this kind of 'null anecdote' is useful: usually people who experience major effects (positive or negative) are much more likely to share their experiences, and that skews the body of anecdotal evidence.

(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 somewhat agree with your point, but I think it's pretty important that they said "It does absolutely nothing for me" - calling this as a '"doesn't work" criticism' is dishonest.

Go through my profile - I have been posting on this topic for a while, including in this thread. I recently read "Altered Traits", as a result of threads like these. Unfortunately, instead of the promised research, it was tripe that culminated in "I started taking medication for my high blood pressure because meditation doesn't work."

I am extremely interested in the subject, but I am also interested in concrete results.


How do you know it does absolutely nothing for you?

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.


Too much irony.

Yes, meditation should deliver noticeable results. If it doesn't then you are doing it wrong.


Or alternatively, meditation doesn't really do much and people are benefiting from the placebo effect.

Yeah, there's people that see no difference from eating vegetables, or, when taking drugs "they don't affect me".

Pretty sure many of those people simply aren't good at feeling themselves.


Ever thought that you may be doing it wrong? This is often my first tool to turn to when something isn't as others describe. But once again, you may be right and it may not work for you. There is nothing in this world that fits everybody, we have some variations in what we respond to

Don't think there is anything to it past "focus on one thing / focus on breath."

I’m fairly sure there is more to it from a technique perspective. Works like the Visuddhimagga and the Vimuttimagga explain the whole “focus on one thing / focus on breath” thing in extraordinary detail, and I consider these basically a forgotten technology. I have found these micro-steps to be really helpful in learning to meditate more deeply but are almost entirely ignored in the Western explanations and meditation apps.

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.


Others who have explained mindfulness of breathing in a modern way are Bhante Gunaratana, Bhikku Analayo, Culadasa, Larry Rosenberg, Bhikku Buddhadasa (though his take is unconventional), Michael Taft, etc.

But as you have said there are many more techniques. I've heard the breath called a relatively difficult meditation object for beginners.


All I heard is a bunch of obscure references and name dropping. If there was a clear technique, one would be able to outline it like outlining the steps to deadlifting correctly.

There are many techniques that work. They can all be clearly outlined as well, but that is more work than I'm willing to undertake here. The names I dropped (as you kindly put it) have done all that work and compiled their efforts into well thought out, well written, well edited and well reviewed books. There are a lot of nuances and individual variations on problems that come up and how to get past them that all these books address.

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.


To many, there are life changing effects, from being generally more aware to being more calm or sleeping better. Clearly, if for you it doesn't do any of that, you're one of those who cannot benefit from meditation. But you may never know if you're inadvertently not doing it right. So many times in my life I thought I was doing something right only to discover much much later that somehow I was doing it the wrong way.

If you think it’s easy to focus on one thing, you haven’t tried meditation.



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