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The Tinkered Mind
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February 19th, 2020
When offered the suggestion of taking up meditation, many people respond that they can’t do it, or could never do it because they think too much.
Any practitioner of mindfulness exercise with some experience will likely see this sentiment as a bit cute.
And not in a disparaging or condescending way. But more in line with a delightful irony.
For a simple reason: Anyone who is aware of the deluge of thoughts that inundates their waking experience is indeed already being mindful, if only to a limited degree.
The claim that this deluge of thoughts can never be tamed is akin to the person who goes to the gym, does a heavy workout and then experiences a soreness that keeps them away from the gym for weeks. They try to go to the gym again and experience the same soreness, as opposed to someone who stays consistent with their workout and eventually undergoes the fundamental shift in experience when their body acclimates and really starts building muscle.
As with everything, there’s a barrier to entry. There aren’t any infants that stand up and go running on the first try. We have to fail and fall a few times before we get the hang of it.
There is a similar barrier to entry here with meditation, and those who are aware of their constant thought, but seem to have given into a helplessness over the experience are in some sense constantly coming right up to this barrier and then turning away without pushing through.
The person who claims to have a calm mind with no training is someone to be far more wary of. Such a person is likely so intoxicated by their mellifluous inner monologue that they’ve ceased to realize just how much is going on.
But those who say they think too much?
They’ve already made progress on the path to a more mindful experience.