These days I try to do some meditation every day; some seated meditation, some standing meditation. Most days I spend about half an hour on this; occasionally it’ll be an hour a day or even a little more.

And, honestly, there were (are!) times when my reaction when thinking about this was: what on earth am I doing? I’m only awake for 16 hours a day; why would I want to spend a noticeable chunk of that doing nothing?

I wouldn’t have the same reaction if I were, say, going to a gym and working out. (At least I don’t think I would, it’s not like I ever actually go to a gym.) I guess part of that is that, in this hypothetical gym scenario, I’m actually moving, and even moving in ways that cause pain (though standing meditation can be pretty painful too!); and society has stories readily available saying how working out will improve your life, whereas stories around the benefits of meditation are less well entrenched.

I certainly wouldn’t have the same reaction if I were working at a job, or helping cook dinner, or walking Widget. Which makes sense: those are all situations where I’m doing something that helps somebody else, with fairly concrete effects. (Sometimes the effects at work are more concrete than other times, but there’s always a paycheck to mark the agreement that my presence is useful.)

I probably wouldn’t have the same reaction if I were, say, playing a game. I’m not doing anything grand for the universe there, but at least I’m giving myself some pleasure? And I’ll get a blog post out of it; or at least I will if I’m playing a new game, as opposed to playing yet another level of a puzzle game that I’ve known how to do well at for ages…


If I really didn’t think I would get anything out of meditation, I wouldn’t do it, of course. At the least, it’s (usually!) interesting to observe, and sometime actively pleasant. And I hope that it’ll eventually have bigger effects on my mind and/or body; I don’t know that for sure, but I’m curious enough to take a flyer? So it is like going to the gym, or learning Japanese, or something: hopefully it’ll lead somewhere, but who really knows.

Still, it’s kind of weird to spend time doing nothing. But maybe that itself is something that I should lean into, to not feel like I always need to fill space. To get better at enjoying just walking somewhere, instead of always be looking at my phone and/or listening to a podcast…

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