Intelligence, Comprehension, and Meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Post Reply
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:46 am

Intelligence, Comprehension, and Meditation

Post by Ashitaka21 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:19 pm

Hey there,

I wrote about this issue many months ago, but I wanted to share it on the forum again to see if there are any new and interesting opinions on the matter.

I have been meditating for a year now (vipassana) and have been having an issue in regards to thinking, or utilizing my intelligence. Over the course of the year, I have realized that I can only really think clearly when I apply pressure to my head, induce stress if you will, which is the catalyst for my brain to think. This stress/anxiety facilitates my thinking power tremendously - I can concentrate, solve problems, and be very creative. The problem is, I understand that applying this pressure to my head is not healthy, and could be detrimental in many ways. I don't know what to do - I have tried to think in a calm, relaxed manner, but I have come to realize that I become an inane, vapid shell when I am relaxed and at ease - yes, I am happy, but when I realize that I cannot think as vividly as before, it makes me sad - it's a vicious cycle. People have told me that stress impedes thinking, but for me it is the opposite. It's like an adrenaline rush to my brain that benefits my thinking greatly, much to my displeasure. Anyone have any ideas?


User avatar
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Intelligence, Comprehension, and Meditation

Post by Ben » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:59 am

Hi Ash

Back then I suggested that you were probably associating the sensation of pressure on your head with structured thought processes and that the association was so strong that you now can't think in a particular way unless you exert pressure on your head.

I suggest that you develop some other thinking skills and strategies to help you. ... C_personal" onclick=";return false;

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR


Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Intelligence, Comprehension, and Meditation

Post by nathan » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:03 pm

Friend, it's your head right? No one else is living in it right? So do what works for you and examine what is happening in you. That's the way to clearly see what is what within you. Don't take anyone else's word for it. Satisfying understanding is direct and first hand. Find out what causes what by observation and then make the changes you find lead to the results you are after. For myself, increased understanding has come at the price of a considerable amount of examination of considerable suffering, likely this won't be the last time you note something is not satisfactory about existing.

metta & upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

Posts: 1952
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Intelligence, Comprehension, and Meditation

Post by rowyourboat » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:22 pm

you might have inadvertantly built your samadhi up so much that you are suppressing your thoughts- however this depends on the amount of practice you did over the last year- you might want to be mindful intelligently -be present and not only aware when you think of things. -your brain in gear.
With Metta

& Upekkha

User avatar
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:14 pm
Location: Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.

Re: Intelligence, Comprehension, and Meditation

Post by genkaku » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:13 pm

Hi Ashitaka21 -- If I understand your concerns correctly:

No one is asking you to become a nitwit in your Buddhist practice. No one is suggesting you melt into some serene, glowing puddle. All Buddhism asks you to do is pay attention. Pay attention in your Buddhist practice, pay attention when adding a column of figures, pay attention when riding a bicycle. The excitement that comes from thinking is enough to trip anyone up ... it's a wonderful high. But every high has its low and sometimes this yo-yo effect can be pretty confusing or sad-making.

When it's time to attend to the breath or chant or silence, well, do that. When it's time to take a shower, do that. When something crops up that requires your attention, then sure, use your head ... that's what it's there for.

Swami Vivekananda once observed, "The mind (he meant intellect) is a good servant and a poor master." In Buddhism, as far as I can figure out, we don't neglect the servant and we don't neglect the master either.

Best wishes.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests