Meditation and Rationality


Today, let’s examine one of the three claims I made in my last article: Reality is an interconnected whole.


It is a fact of quantum mechanics that the outside world is not separate from our minds. Do you ever wonder how your subtle thoughts, actions, and moods affect the bigger picture? The Huffington Post has an interesting article about how individual inputs such as Internet trends or investor moods affect the social atmosphere. Is it possible to bring all of that uncertainty under control?


The rational, problem-solving mind often believes so. It thinks it has all the solutions. It believes it can analyze all the component parts of a problem in order to bring them under control. As a result, we can start to overanalyze things, zone out, or become unable to focus on what matters. The voice in our heads starts to race forward with questions about what will happen if we are not good enough or do not measure up. It’s an anxiety machine that can result in social withdrawal or other less-than-optimal behaviors.


It becomes necessary to stand back from your thinking and focus on the here and now. A Psychology Today article quotes Ph. D.s Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein as saying that mindfulness is “being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, without filters or the lens of judgment.” In other words, mindfulness increases our awareness and helps take us out of being in our heads. Multiple techniques facilitate meditation, but awareness is essentially all it is. Becoming able to do it, takes time and practice.


Typically, we think of pure unfiltered awareness as not being divided into component parts. However, if we can achieve better objectivity by developing awareness of the present moment, it can facilitate rational judgment. When we achieve awareness, we have the opportunity to evaluate how our views and intentions cause difficulties for ourselves and others and make changes to achieve harmonious living.


Too often, our rational, problem-solving mind seeks to escape from feelings and avoids feeling them fully. In that case, being able to tap into the whole can relieve the negative effects of over-analysis described above. Keep in mind that in order to achieve wholeness one must look at those things they are pushing away, including rational analysis. Meditation and rational judgment can complement each other.


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