Why meditate?


Information is Beautiful is a website founded by David McCandless that attempts to convey factual, evidence based information in graphic forms that bring clarity and understanding to the information.

There are graphics on a wide range of topics from what a trillion dollars looks like (note the combined wealth of the 1%…..wow) to what are the actual effective uses of medical cannabis.

The infographic that I found interesting was on the effects of a regular meditation and mindfulness practice.
The full page shows quite a lot more information and you can see it here.



Importantly there is another arm to this infographic. Perhaps not included here as it resides outside, or perhaps inside the data. A reason other than devloping better concentration or decreasing stress or becoming more empathetic (although all those things are all cool side effects). It is an antidote to our separation.

Zen teacher Josh Bartok calls it freefall.

In the freefall of shikantaza [meditation], we may try to grab on to some form of certainty or some technique to stop our fall, like Wile E. Coyote grabbing onto a branch as he falls off a cliff – and then that branch breaks.

In shikantaza we simply see this impulse to grab, without enacting the story of grabbing, or buying into the story of needing to stop our fall, of needing to apply an antidote to some experience.

Practicing in freefall this Way is practicing being comfortable with not knowing, comfortable with uncertainty, comfortable with discomfort, comfortable with doubt or even a raging mind.

But make no mistake; this kind of comfortable isn’t some limited state of mind and not some other state of mind. Such limited comfort as that is unreliable.

Sitting in this freefall expresses vast not-knowing-beyond-knowing, of this single dimensionless point that is all things, the one bright pearl of the universe. We might call this endarkenment of the universe beyond all seeing — and this endarkenment is a synonym for enlightenment.

Sitting amid endarkenment is not limited to any form of experience, any set of circumstances arising, but can meet all that arises continuously and seamlessly.


And just in case you are interested the full reference sheet from which the data to make the infographic was extrapolated is supplied here.

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