So I've been reading this book on the scientifically proven effects of meditation by Daniel Goleman. And there are a few really interesting things that I've learned. The first is that there's a kind of meditation called "Loving Kindness Meditation" and that this has very immediate effects if you start to practice it - more immediate than the now very famous and popular "mindfulness meditation."
The second is that there are some kinds of meditation that have been shown to improve test scores in high school students - I think I read this right - by up to 30 per cent? That's interesting, right?
The third thing is that guys who sit in a cave and do this every day for years on end - super meditators - have very different brains than ours. And part of the way that their brain is different is the bit that thinks about themselves is much reduced.
One final thought. I read about one of these super meditators and they were saying that one of the things that a super meditator has done, probably more than once is that he (or she, some of them are she's) has gone on a 3 year retreat. Actually, it's three years, three months and three days. And that it's thought that these retreats have a different and more powerful effect than all the hours that are put in. And I'm a working stiff, with a day job and I was thinking - that's ridiculous, there's no way that I could take that kind of time off for a meditative retreat. And then I remembered. The two and a half years that I'd described myself as "self unemployed". I'm not going to push the similarity too far, but essentially, for two and a half years, I got up every morning and I went to have coffee and I read and thought. And at the end of that time I had a different career.