My meditation session was early in the morning. I have switched up my morning routine a little bit. I am getting up at 7, getting a glass of water, doing my 10 minute stretching exercise, and then doing half an hour of simple breathing meditation.
This is only the second time I have managed to make it through the half an hour. The thing that made the difference was reading a book where the main character was admiring a guy who was meditating.
The observer tried to copy the meditator, but after only a few minutes would get uncomfortable. This is also what happens to me.
However, since I have been realizing the power and even joy in forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do, I decided that this little hindrance would no longer stop me.
I sat down and after five minutes ignored the back pain, after 15 minutes ignored that my foot fell asleep, and after 20 minutes ignored that my ankles felt like they were about to break.
The incredible thing was that the pain did in fact go away. By the end, I was rewarded with a stellar meditation session.
It also helped that at my Bible study last week another guy was talking about meditation and said that from just focusing on breathing through the nose he eventually achieved a deep feeling of peace.
I realized that I never just focus on the breath. I always think I should be thinking something. The moment of insight came to me that possibly not thinking is a form of surrender.
The Bible says to deny yourself, and Buddhism says to reject your ego. This is an impossible task. In fact Christians and Buddhists also admit this. There is no formula to stop being self conscious. The harder you try the more self conscious you become.
But, what if you don’t try?
It seemed to work. The feeling is impossible to explain, but you will know it when you feel it and it lasts for a long time.
I did a lot of fine writing for the whole afternoon. I stayed at the library for 7 hours and worked hard for at least 6 of those hours. Normally maintaining that kind of focus with absolutely no dopamine stimulants, not even a bite to eat or a sip of water, would be impossible.
Somehow though I was able to realize a great deal of pleasure from what I was doing.
The research on if meditation increases dopamine is scant. There are tons of articles that claim that meditation naturally increases dopamine, but they don’t have any research to back them up.
I did find one really interesting article tying dopamine to Buddism though. It is not very scientific but it does make the same induction about daydreaming that I made during my last fast.
The connection between meditation and dopamine comes from the fact that daydreaming and planning can feel good. This means that every time you fantasize about a perfect day or accomplishing all your plans, you get a dopamine boost.
The problem is that this is an incredibly easy boost for your brain and so it can be incredibly addictive. That is why we spend so much time day dreaming.
I also think that dopamine is related to your level of consciousness. When you are stimulated, you are more aware. Since meditation also increases awareness, I am led to believe that it may increase dopamine.
More on if Meditation Increases Dopamine
- This article has a number of good points about meditation and will make you want to get started right away. It is not very scientific, but makes a great point about meditation reducing stress, and stress is scientifically proven to reduce dopamine.
- Here is an actual scientific article claiming that a specific type of meditation (Yoga Nidra) increases dopamine by 65%. This type of meditation is said to reduce desire, which makes sense because it is low dopamine that causes high desire.
- If you suffer from depression, than there is a good chance you have low dopamine. There is proof that meditation is a super effective treatment for depression.
3 Thing To-Do List
- Stay at the Library from 10:30 -5
- Join Webinar that I missed yesterday
- Spend 3 hours writing conclusion