Think Meditation Is Torture?


If you’re unlucky enough to become an Iranian dissident, maybe you know about white torture. Also known as sensory deprivation, it’s really a nasty piece of content.

You don’t need to cause pain to get rid of someone. All you need are blacked out goggles, noise cancelling headphones and time. Lots of time.

The mental faculties are excellent at extrapolating meaning from snippets of knowledge. A few dimples on bright red flesh making you think “strawberry”. Two dots and also a curve appear like a happy face. A brief odour conjures memories, emotions and actions.

But when there is absolutely no data to locate meaning in…

Well, that component of you is active. It still attempts the meaning in data that is not there.

Your brain craves novelty, interaction and stimulus. Strip that away this is like turning the mind against itself.

You do not get used to it. Time only causes it to become worse.

I wouldn’t wish it during my worst enemy, assuming I had one.

I would recommend becoming a meditation technique though.

In small doses, sensory deprivation is usually a valuable tool for probing your psyche. It’s calming being away from all of that noise and distraction. What can make it pleasant, rather than torture, is perhaps you can walk from it. Stimulation and deprivation inside a continual cycle.

You can experience this by renting a flotation tank with an hour or so. You float in the saline solution, without sound and zip to see. It’s incredibly centering.

If you need to try it yourself, you just need an eye mask, headphones and several white noise. YouTube has an abundance of tracks.

Set aside a long time, closure the world and walk into.

What this definitely does is interesting. I mentioned your brain’s instinct would be to extract meaning from small signals. I also mentioned that keeps happening, even though during sensory deprivation.

The experience is the same as dreaming. Random images flash before your vision. Your brain does the most beneficial it can in doing what few signals arrive. Is that a squirrel or maybe a fireplace? What colour is… bicycle?

But once it has an image, it discards it and tries something different.

I was surprised at how quick and intense these hallucinations were. I think it only took a couple of minutes before it immersed me completely. Then again, it is difficult to measure period in this state.

This may be one of the easiest meditation techniques, but I don’t recommend it for novices. After all, you’re messing around with fire here. It’s safe enough for many people – that being said, discovering how to control your experience helps.

I realise why people use white noise to fall asleep though. Once I started dreaming, it absolutely was hard to stay awake.

There a large number of meditation techniques, philosophies and approaches on the market.


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