Sensitivity and Meditation

Meditation is essentially an introverted path, that is to say, a path that necessitates one to go inward. This is in contradiction to extroverted action which requires one to interact actively with the outside world to achieve something. As one goes inward, one becomes acutely aware of the effects that the environment (people, places, things) has on oneself. Particularly, the sensitivity of a meditator increases over time. This creates a very big problem. Meditation is meant to help one deal with one’s own emotions and the abrasiveness of everyday life. However, what does one do when meditation itself starts making one more reactive to the outer world.

“However, what does one do when meditation itself starts making one more reactive to the outer world.”

The extroverted solution to this is to become insensitive to these irritants and just ignore it. But for sensitive people, this is never a true remedy. Every little thing matters so much that ignoring things isn’t a workable solution. So what does one do?

The first step is to realize that the goal of meditation is to transcend the limited egoic identity of “I”. As long as the statement ‘I am getting irritated’ exists, this shows that there still is an element of do-er ship that exists. The meditator still feels ‘this is me and that is that’ – a distinction exists between what is me and what is not me. This is a false distinction.

The way to break this is to delve further into oneself and dissolve the meditator itself. Slowly one begins to go beyond one’s own limited judgemental mind, these irritants stop mattering – not because one has become insensitive to them – but because one has transcended them. It is like zooming out from the surface of the moon – one just doesn’t spot the blemishes. Similarly, one has expanded one’s awareness and vision so large that the small craters don’t seem to matter anymore. One is aware of these sensitivities, but they don’t affect us so much because our awareness has expanded.

So to all of us who are plagued by irritation, the simple solution is to ‘keep going inwards’.

A view from Rigi overlooking lake Lucerne, Switzerland. 2014

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