Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Shaving and Buddhist meditation

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Robert Wright has a particularly interesting post on the practice and effects of Buddhist meditation. From the post:

. . . During the meditation retreats I’ve been on–four of them over the past 10 years–the teachers typically say you shouldn’t be “seeking” a pleasurable state, or anything else. Rather, you should just observe things. Observe your breath, your sensations, your emotions, sounds, whatever. And, as you observe these things, you’re not supposed to make value judgments. So, for example, though anxiety normally feels bad, if you encounter a wave of it while meditating, you’re supposed to examine it with as much detachment as possible, doing your best to see it as neither good nor bad but just as a fact. . .

He has much more to say, and the post as a whole is well worth reading, but as I read that it occurred to me that this kind of nonjudgemental awareness of immediate experience is exactly the state of mind engendered by shaving—and, of course, by other activities that induce flow: rock-climbing, playing music, drawing/painting, and so on—the sorts of things Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. It is not so much as a loss of a sense of self, as the self being fully active in controlling the body and being fully aware of internal and external stimuli so that there is no room for value judgments or random thoughts: one is completely absorbed in the on-going experience.

His column describes the outcomes well.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 January 2013 at 11:08 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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