Open Thread

Open Thread #5

The Open Thread is a forum for readers of my blog. It is an opportunity to leave comments and start discussions that do not fit under an existing post or which would derail ongoing debates.

A new Open Thread will be posted whenever it seems suitable. There is no fixed time interval and no set number of posts.

Every Open Thread is easily accessible via the “Open Thread” category on this blog.

6 thoughts on “Open Thread #5

  1. Hello Aaron,

    I wanted to thank you for putting out a no BS guide to meditation. Trying different Soto groups in my area in order to get the proper technique down was very off-putting to me. Unfortunately, I laid-off meditation all together for almost six months after that.

    Your book played a vital role in bringing me back to daily meditation. However, I am still very skeptical about the effects of long-term meditation. I just finished a book called The Buddha Pill about adverse effects of meditation (mostly inside the context of religion/ guru-worshiping). This is, of course, something no one is interested in. But the book also just addresses possible negative effects of meditation in a non-spiritual context.

    So, my question is if you experienced any adverse effects of long-term mediation? And if so what would they be? What do serious mediators need to be aware of? It is worth noticing, that I follow your advice and will only meditate alone at home and do not seek any group practices ever again.

    PS: Under this link, you can find some excerpts of “The Buddha Pill” if you search for it.

    1. Thank you for your thought-out comment, and thank you for buying my book.

      Negative long-term effects of meditation depend pretty much on your perspective. The biggest change is that it will make you emotionally rather detached. (A fun consequence is that you can reach a point where you learn to ‘observe’ emotions in your mind and, almost like thoughts during meditation, you can learn to drop them.) As a consequence, some people may think you are aloof. For instance, I would be very surprised if a master meditator got caught up in some irrational, fleeting emotions, unlike the vast majority of people. Now imagine you interacted with such people regularly. You would feel alienated from them, and your ability to stay composed would make them wonder what is wrong with you. Then again, I consider the company of common people rather undesirable, so the supposed negative of extensive meditative practice is a distinct positive to me.

      1. Aaron,
        I believe you’ve stated that you no longer meditate as long as you used to . Despite this,do you feel you’ve retained all the benefits you’ve achieved from having done serious meditation in the past?

        BTW,I also bought your book in the past,but unfortunately was bombarded with numerous life problems(and caused me to be depressed)during early attempts and so I ended up stopping. Now that I’m in a better place,I’m taking up meditation again. I just started today with a 10 minute session earlier. (was planning to start with 15 right away but my meditation timer app has 10 minutes as the default and so I decided to go with that.) Definitely challenging,but I can do it.

        Another thing I’m curious to know about though,but do you write a diary/journal? Along with starting meditation,I’m also starting to write a journal as a way to both introspect on myself and my life,but to also keep track of the consistency of my meditation routines.

      2. I discuss this in my book. It’s due to effectiveness as I can enter a deep meditative state very quickly nowadays, whereas this may take someone who is less experienced easily half an hour, if not a lot more. Thus, as you gain more experience, you will retain the benefits of meditation with less practice.

        Ten minutes is a good goal to have. You may want to start with five minutes and ramp up, if it’s too challenging.

        I used to write a journal in my teens for two or three years. In my later adolescence, I wrote a pick-up journal, which ended up as Sleazy Stories (there are more books forthcoming). I think if you seriously pursue any goal, then keeping a journal is very helpful. These days, I tend to record brief bullet points when I work towards a goal, which helps me monitor my progress.

  2. Hey Aaron

    This is some interesting documentary by SRF on Unschooling/Homeschooling.
    I picked a relevant moment about career women.

    It’s partly in Swiss German, but I assume you do understand a bit of Bavarian, so that should help.
    NB that in Switzerland homeschooling is regulated on a cantonal level.

    1. I’ll look into this. I think I mentioned this before: homeschooling is no option in Germany, and next to impossible to get approved in Sweden. However, in Singapore that is not an issue at all. I have been looking into local Montessori kindergartens here in Sweden, which I consider preferable. So far, I have not found a good solution to primary and secondary education. There are expensive private schools for the well-off, which aren’t as obscenely expensive as their equivalents in Germany or Switzerland, but they are generally pretty weak academically. Some have outcomes that are downright mediocre, which goes to show that even the elites have fully embraced the leftist lack of standards.

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