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It's true that part of the attraction of meditation for a lot of Westerners is that it seems "exotic" and "different". However, I would strongly disagree with you that such an attraction to exoticism is a reason for completely disregarding meditation.

After all, many things that are common in Western societies (some of which you might actually value quite highly) are considered exotic in non-Western societies, and might be valued for their exoticism. Usually, these are material goods such as cars, houses, clothes, food -- but not always -- Western music is also quite a hot cultural commodity. Do you avoid listening to Western music because it might be considered exotic in some other culture?

Something else to take in to consideration is that meditation is highly valued in many non-Western cultures. Even in non-Western cultures, meditation is rarely considered "worthless" to the same extent as common fruits and berries would be in South Africa. Common, maybe. Worthless? It would really depend on the person, but many in non-Western cultures value meditation quite highly (more so than most Westerners would value it, I'd wager).

Finally, I think that many strongly negative views of practices that are strongly valued in other cultures usually are rooted in xenophobia and deep ignorance. Some people don't know and don't want to know about such practices simply because they seem strange or different. I find that really sad.

Oh, I'm not negative of meditation because it originated in another culture. I'm negative of it because it seems like a mystical practice that's only more popular than Christian prayer in the US because it originated from an "exotic" culture. Christian prayer is certainly popular in the US, even to the point where it could be said to be "highly valued," but I would never try to use prayer to make myself more productive in the way people tell me to use meditation.

Meditation is pitched as a tool, and I (try to) evaluate tools based on their objective properties and effects, not based on their exoticism or wow-factor. This applies equally to meditation as it does to, say, dynamic typing.

I'll give you a practical example. What specific emotions do you feel when you take a moment to consider the following two lists of five words extracted from your comment?

1) mystical, Christian, exotic, prayer, pitched

2) productive, evaluate, tools, objective, applies

Answer the question (privately if you like) and you just "meditated".

Meditation is self-observation, nothing more, nothing less. If you want to learn more about how the specific "tedks" configuration of neurons works, that's what meditation (a.k.a. self-reflection, self-observation) promises, as opposed to science which by definition cannot do this. I'm pretty sure that many of the things you consider valuable already do count as meditation (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5331514 ), it's just that nobody labelled them as such or built a formal discipline around them. That might be part of why meditation seems like such BS to you.

The stuff about sitting there with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing isn't really necessary (I don't really do this anymore), all that's meant to do is help you slow your brain down so you can look at it, kind of like using a debugger. You can get kind of high from that and while fun it can be a hindrance in all sorts of other ways.

All the spiritual stuff you see is perhaps best described as a metaphor for the kinds of things people experience, since they don't have better words for it. Ultimately there isn't a particular belief system tied to meditation, kind of like there isn't a particular belief system tied to the act of debugging a program (although people do like to get into holy wars).

Finally, there's this joke that says all Buddhists are either meditating or feeling guilty about not meditating. So if someone is telling you that you "should" meditate they are quite possibly projecting some of their own guilt about their own spiritual practice onto you. Of course had they been practicing meditation by being "mindful" in the conversation with you (this is just code for "paying attention to their own thoughts and feelings while not sitting in silence somewhere"), they would see that this is what their feelings were doing and they'd probably choose not to pressure you like that.

Anyway, hope this helps.

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