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I’m a pathetic meditator and about as far from enlightenment as anybody in this world, but with enough focus even I have been able to confirm this to be true.
And this is pretty close to the frequency of brain waves, which seems like a pretty interesting coincidence. The point is that if you really, really examine your phenomenological experience, you realize all sorts of surprising things.
Become so good at concentrating that you can attain various jhanas – but then, instead of focusing on infinite bliss or whatever other cool things you can do with your new talent, look at a wall or listen to the breeze or just try to understand the experience of existing in time.
This is vipassana (“insight”, “wisdom”) meditation. It’s a deep focus on the tiniest details of your mental experience, details so fleeting and subtle that without a samatha-trained mind you’ll miss them entirely.
So here’s a tip: if you are finding it hard to concentrate because your mind is filled with guilt, judgment, envy or some other hard and difficult thought pattern, also work on the first training, kindness. That leaves concentration (samatha) and wisdom (vipassana).
Here is a detailed analysis of what is wrong with these and related perspectives…
…followed by a detailed analysis of what’s wrong with this position, which he compared to “let[ting] a blind and partially paralyzed untrained stroke victim perform open-heart surgery on your child based on the notion that they are already an accomplished surgeon but just have to realize it”.
I always wanted to meditate more, but never really got around to it. The demands of a medical career are incompatible with such a time-consuming practice.
Enter Daniel Ingram MD, an emergency physician who claims to have achieved enlightenment just after graduating medical school.