As an atheist and skeptic, I enjoy thinking, reflecting, pondering.   The idea to deliberately stop thinking appears ludicrous to me.   

Over the years, I have read many definitions of what meditation is supposed to be, but behind many big words it seem essentially to be just an attempt to stop thinking.  Personally I am puzzled, how not thinking can attract anybody.  

Yet so many people claim, that meditation is beneficial for them.   They obviously feel something they call spirituality and it seems that by meditation they can enhance it.  It is elusive to me, just as the idea of somebody claiming to be spiritual but not religious is beyond my comprehension. Feeling interconnected with some cosmical power is as alien to me as is the belief in a deity.   
Sometimes I am wondering, if some spirituality module is lacking in my brain.   Or rather, that I am free of it.   I do not miss spirituality, whatever it may be, but I am puzzled, why it is of so much importance to so many people.   The belief in a deity and in the power of rituals like praying can be explained by extrinsic influences.   But this elusive spirituality seems to be intrinsic.  

Do other atheists experience something like spirituality?   Are there others, who are as void of it as I am?  

Tags: meditation, spirituality

Views: 902

Replies to This Discussion

Yes, I have corrected my prejudice, that meditation equals woo-woo.    The experience itself obviously is not woo-woo, only people thus predisposed interpret it as woo-woo.  

Personally, my favorite technique is Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation.   It has a special appeal for rational people, because it is an active sequence of tensing and relaxing, where every step is a conscious decision.    

Yes, the Jacobson technique was used in the classes I attended for years. Now I smoke  Moroccan hash and go swimming. I go into a dream in the weightlessness of the water where I seem cut-off from the hassles of the outside world. My breathing is deep and relaxed and I feel good. My thinking slows right down. It's nice to be a whale.

Spiritual Atheism ? We emanate from the earth and to the earth we return. Here's an explanation I like from a recognisable young woman.

I consider her definition of spirituality as woo-woo.

My woo-woo meter is glowing red and the alarm bells are r-i-n-g-i-n-g.

W-a-a-a-a-y too complicated.

You feel happy. That's good. But that's all it is; a momentary feeling of happiness. Now ... move on.



But, we each have our predispositions, whether or not we understand why. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing of natural selection, and somebody in the future will observe which has survived.


I see projection as one of the big problems, why people have problems with each other.  I do not mean projection in the limited sense of seeing the own faults only in others.   I mean projection as the tendency to always think, that others are like oneself.    The more people are average, the more they fall into this trap of norm-centrism.  

Being different helps to avoid projecting.   I accept to be different.

This discussion has corrected my previous prejudice of connecting meditation with woo-woo.   But it is like with your tomatoes and cucumbers.   Meditation is beneficial only for some people, they discover it and they do it.   There is no need in my brain for it, I am fine without it.    Attempts to explain something to me based upon the projection, that I should be wired to experience what they experience leads nowhere except to me being suspected to be a troll.   




note that I made no suggestion whatsoever for what YOU should do.

That is, what I appreciated.   I liked your metaphor of the tomatoes and cucumbers.  


I can't keep up with the order of this tread....


Anyhow - 


Meditation Techniques:


Focusing on the breath coming out of the nose onto the top lip

Holding your hand with a finger on each eye and calming the eyes by stroking forwards

Curling the tongue back to touch the back of the throat


I usually only meditate if I'm feeling lonely at night or can't sleep - and I use it to get to sleep, calm myself from anxiety or feel more light and happy - I use the top one - I find the others hard work.

But it cannot work for people like me, who get bored by such exercises.


But that is part of the whole point of it, it takes years, not 10 minutes.  Personally, a part of me I hates sitting meditation; the boredom, the tediousness of it, sometimes the physical pain, seeing the chaos and entertainment that my mind thrives on instead of clarity of thought.  What I can not deny is the physical and mental benefits that have and do happen to me by practicing.  it's like a heavy-set person who has been sedentary for years begins to exercise, the first session, the second, the third and so on are going to be painful, but if they keep with it, then they will get in better shape

What kind of scientist will do an experiment and at the first sign of a negative (in this case, boredom) and give up the experiment?  I once heard a meditation teacher describe proper meditation as one of the easiest techniques to follow, but one of the hardest things our minds will do.  So instead of repeating yourself, that it didn't work for you, just admit that  you don't want to really try.  

Because 10 minutes, a half-hour, or even a hour will not be a fair trial.  It took me hours of sitting there, practicing the technique before any result happened, and the funny thing was, I didn't think it had done a thing, it was my family and friends that noticed changes in my thinking and my attitude and every now and then, I would get a reminder, why don't you go do another meditation weekend, when they thought I was getting chaotic again.

My OP was caused by my interest, why meditation is attractive and beneficial for others.    I did not ask for the projection, that it should be beneficial for me.   

People are different, they have different needs.  

It is obvious, that people are motivated to pay the price of getting bored by some exercises, when they expect the reward of fulfilling a need.  It is also obvious, that meditation is a beneficial method of homeostation for those people, who feel some kind of mental or emotional dishomeostasis.

But those people without this dishomeostasis just are not motivated to get bored, when they experience it as nothing but displeasure, when there is reward to earn.    


 ... calls it the arrogance of ignorance.   
Such philistines devalue and discard other people's cognitive production not by learned judgment, they devalue, what they themselves are either too dumb to understand, or what they are too lazy to invest effort in to first understand, before they judge.


The pattern of devaluing, what cannot be reached, is known since millennia.   But I see a trend, that the willingness to earn anything with a lot of effort, is dwindling.   Choosing only, what is easy to get and devaluing everything else seems to be a growing general tendency.


My emphasis.



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