We have described meditation as an exercise that helps you develop “life skills” for your mind. Here we will look at life skill #2: sensitizing yourself to the subtleties (of experience):
- what these subtleties are,
- how meditation sensitizes you to them,
- the dangers of letting them go unnoticed,
- and the benefits of identifying them.
You can also see our Facebook Livestream outlining these concepts below:
Meditation turns your attention inwards
Regardless of the meditation technique you choose, meditation is an act of turning your attention inwards. That’s because meditation typically involves:
- sitting in a quiet place,
- limiting distractions,
- reducing input from your sense organs (closing those peepers, for example)
- a plain old intention to turn inwards.
As a result, meditation is a first-class ticket to the show that is Your Inner Workings. The cast of characters are very subtle ones indeed:
- body sensations.
They may be subtle, but they’re all objects
We refer to each of these aforementioned “characters” as objects. We call them “objects” because, well, they can be objectified. You, the subject, perceive thoughts, emotions, feelings, and body sensations that arise within your awareness. For our purposes, anything that you (the subject) can perceive or observe is an object.
Honing those internal eagle eyes
When you start to meditate, it’s like being a young cinephile, watching this show called Your Inner Workings.
The more times you attend the show, the more you pick up on the subtleties (ie, the objects within your awareness).
The more you pick up on these subtle objects, the more you understand their nature, qualities, transiency, and behavior.
The pitfalls of letting subtle objects go unnoticed
Subtle objects tend to feel so close or built into the fabric of your being, that you forget that they are objects at all. They are taken for granted and mistakenly conceived of as your identity–or worse, the TRUTH! (Hence Byron Katie’s warning: “Don’t believe everything you think.”)
When subtle objects like your thoughts, beliefs and emotions are left “unseen”, unquestioned and unexamined, you can be in for a bumpy ride. People go whole lifetimes allowing old patterns of thoughts and emotions shape how they interpret their lives. If your interpretation is warped by emotion or a belief, the result is seeing things unclearly. Since interpretation is the crux of experience, your experience of life can be negatively affected when you aren’t seeing things clearly.
The benefit of sensitizing yourself to experiential subtleties
Nobody likes unpleasant experience. But if “unpleasantness” is a matter of your interpretation, then you have a degree of control. You don’t have control if your interpretations are on autopilot, dictated by old patterns of thoughts, beliefs and emotions that you are incapable of cognizing (and therefore examining and questioning).
Meditation helps solve this problem. Freeing yourself from warped interpretation of experience (which often leads to suffering and emotional upset) means understanding the elements that are influencing your interpretation. As a quiet, inward-looking exercise, meditation increases your capacity to identify and understand subtle objects, these powerful “influencers” of your interpretation of things, and therefore the foundational building blocks of your experience!
That’s pretty powerful stuff.
So many benefits to having a meditation practice
Explore our videos-articles covering several other benefits below.
More vacation time with a meditation practice
Develop more mental clarity to advance your truth-seeking and deep-thinking
Strip the problematic-ness from your problems
Judge less, discern more (and how that makes you happier)
Generate positive feelings (and spread them) with loving-kindness meditation
Make negative feelings more manageable with this simple technique
Train your mind to be more focused (making you happier and more productive)
Develop life’s #1 most useful attitude with meditation: that of acceptance (and why practicing acceptance does NOT make you a doormat)
Questions or comments about meditation or your meditation practice?
We’d love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below.