November 15, 2013

Is Meditation a Method of Hacking the Mind?

The concept of biohacking is slowly becoming more well known.

Similar to computer hacking, it’s the idea that our biology is like a program, something that we can constantly tinker with and improve. There are many different forms and they involve thinking outside the box in regards to self improvement. They include things like alternative diets, alternative learning methods, and putting strange things into your body.

Biohacking also involves alternate ways of working with our minds.

I bring this up here because I think of meditation as a form of biohacking—possibly one of the oldest forms of biohacking. I tend to think of it as a form of hacking for the mind, instead of as a spiritual practice.

There are those that think that meditation brings us to some natural state of peace. I respectfully disagree with that idea.

There is list of things that meditation helps improve.

The mindfulness that we gain from meditation helps us deal with anxiety, fears, stress, selfishness, etc. These are things that have been evolutionary successful to us in the past. In the modern world, getting eaten by a tiger isn’t really a concern for me, so I don’t really need to have as much anxiety and fear as my ancestors. It simply isn’t as helpful.

So, the Buddha was a biohacker. He saw how his mind worked, how much his own mind caused him to suffer and he figured out a way to do something about it. He didn’t invent meditation. It’s a practice that has existed much longer than Buddhism.

But, he refined it. He gave it a new context and he did start working with mindfulness in new ways.

Meditation is mind hacking because it helps us to understand the world around us a little better. Sometimes we need to help ourselves put things in context.

More importantly, meditation helps us understand our own minds a lot better. It’s hard for my mind to understand my mind. It takes a hacker to do that.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Wikimedia commons.}

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