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Monday, January 2, 2017

Atheist's Guide to Meditation

Sam Harris in 2016    (Photo by Christopher Michel)
Well-known atheist Sam Harris has taken up meditation.  Within a Huffington Post blog titled “How to Meditate,” Harris even preaches what he practices.

Because his target audience consists mainly of secularists, Harris strips meditation down to its bare essentials.  Devoid of doctrines and theologies, his step-by-step instructions seem simple, but are far from easy.

Step one:  Breathe in.  Step two:  Breathe out.  Step three:  Notice each inhalation and exhalation.  Step four:  Notice your mind wandering.  Step five:  Gently bring it back to the breathing.  Step six:  Notice other “objects of consciousness – sights, sounds, sensations, emotions, and even thoughts themselves.”  Step seven:  Refocus on either the breath or these objects when the mind again wanders.

But will all this be meaningful without the karmic implications?  Harris points out some known benefits.  Such practice has been shown to “modulate pain, mitigate anxiety and depression, improve cognitive function, and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions… related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self awareness.”

It sure is sounding like a piece of cake.  But only if you chew each morsel at least 50 times.    


Copyright January 2, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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