Mar 02, 2018

Harari on meditation

James Altucher had a great question for Yuval Harari (Sapiens, Homo Deus) at the end of their conversation (around minute 52:00):

Altucher: Given all the thought and energy you've put into this, how have these thoughts & discoveries changed your own life? How do you try to make your current life better, given the knowledge you have and are sharing with people?

Harari: I sit for meditation two hours every day –

Altucher: I noticed your acknowledgements to S.N. Goenka...

Harari: Exactly. I do vipassana meditation. I start and finish every work day with one hour of meditation. And I go every year to sit a long meditation retreat, of 30 to 60 days.

For me, it gives me balance and peace and calmness. And really the ability to find myself in this ever-changing and hectic world.

Altucher: So it's almost like you separate yourself from all of the stories. The stories are the things that are constantly running through all of our heads. But when you sit in meditation, you're kinda putting a little distant between the stories and who biologically you are.

Harari: The whole idea of meditation is – forget about all the stories in your mind. Just observe reality as it is. What is actually happening right here, right now?

And you start with very simple things. Like you observe the breathe coming in & out of your nostrils. Or you observe the sensations in your body – oh, there is heat; there is sweat; there is some movement here. And this is reality.

Over the last century ... people have been giving more & more importance to these stories. These imaginary stories. And they have been losing the ability to tell the difference between fiction and reality.

For me, meditation is one of the best ways to regain this ability to really tell the difference – what is real, and what is a fictional story in my mind?