Meditation Is Hard.

An unorthodox approach to meditating.

Don’t let anyone tell you that meditation is easy. “All you have to do is watch your thoughts, and your mind will become quiet,” Jiddu Krishnamurty called it Choiceless Awareness. As hard as I tried, I could not quieten my mind. I was ready to give up on meditation.

Out of desperation, I took to extreme measures to quieten my mind. I started by listening to music while wearing high-fidelity headphones and cranking up the volume. Low-frequency rhythmic sounds would drown out the noise in my head. I mainly listened to drums and chants and would drop into a state of “no mind”; lost in my music. The rhythmic sound of drums and the Gregorian and Buddhist chants would stop the chattering in my mind. The longer the music went, the better I felt.

I was so drawn to this experience that it became my practice for almost a year. Every night I would put my headphones on and repeat the exercise. I became addicted to the experience. My teenage son was in a punk band during this period in my life, and I took to going to his performances and losing myself in his music. I would close my eyes and listen to his loud band. This experience, too, as strange as it sounds, would quieten my mind.

After a year of listening to loud music through headphones and going to concerts with a view to “meditating” in this unorthodox way, I felt motivated to try traditional meditation. After quieting my mind through music, I would stop the music and sit quietly in meditation. I could watch my thoughts float like wisps of clouds in the sky. Often my mind would become still and completely quiet; in these moments, I was lost to the outside world, lost in the void. It felt good.

I meditate often. I drop into meditation in the noisiest of places, such as in crowds or at a party. I became skilled at Choiceless Awareness. I can watch my thoughts. I have flipped from being a scientist to a yogi of the mind. I can now switch quickly and seamlessly between two realities-the external reality and the internal reality. It is almost as if I have a quantum brain or a dual way of being. I can connect with the world of my senses or transcend my senses and enter a different reality.

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