Louis Arge
Published on

Meditation is research, not exercise

Many people see meditation as a kind of exercise for the mind. I think a better view is scientific research. You run experiments & try to learn how the mind works.

If you study chemistry, at times, you really just have to practice working a pipette, or read a textbook. Most of your undergrad is this, and a lot of your early meditation will be like this. But pretty soon, you're going to start wanting to do research. You're gonna think up experiments, run them, and sometimes you'll get a result you can publish.

You can also choose to use your discoveries in chemistry to do chemical engineering. You might join a startup & help them optimize the yield of some chemical process. Similarly, the more research you do on your own mind, the more knowledge you'll have to engineer a high "hedonic yield" in yourself - i.e. feel good.

Sharing knowledge is much harder in mind-science than in the natural sciences, because we can't put mental moves into words well. This also means there is so much low-hanging fruit to (re)discover, and if you like to feel smart & original, meditation is a great hobby.

Something weird that meditators say, is that enlightenment is sudden & irreversible. If meditation was like weight lifting, you wouldn't expect your gains to be irreversible. But in science, discoveries tend to stick around after being made.