A Whole Bunch of Ways to Think About Emptiness

Here are some ways to get a good intuition for the Buddhist philosophy of emptiness.


Emptiness – it’s a word that comes up a lot in Buddhist thought, and often in a way that makes it sound very important. This was quite frustrating to me for some time because I didn’t get what people were actually talking about or why it was relevant to contemplative practice.… Read the rest “A Whole Bunch of Ways to Think About Emptiness”

The Attention & Awareness Game

This is a simple game I’m working on to demonstrate how attention and awareness work in meditation, as explained in the book The Mind Illuminated. This game probably best represents Stage 4 in the book (trying to overcome gross distractions with continuous introspective awareness).… Read the rest “The Attention & Awareness Game”

You Don’t Understand Mindfulness Until You Understand This One Thing

Until you understand this key distinction, you won’t be getting the full benefit of mindfulness, or understanding its very real limitations.

Not Just Attention

Mindfulness is usually defined in terms of paying attention (e.g. “paying attention to the present moment”) but this leads to confusion and inconsistencies.

For one thing, it is impossible to pay attention to “the present moment”, which consists of an impossibly vast amount of data from our senses, only a tiny percentage of which we are able to pay attention to at any one time.… Read the rest “You Don’t Understand Mindfulness Until You Understand This One Thing”

A Meditator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Attention

Three insights from attentional neuroscience to improve your concentration in meditation.

Note: By far the most important lesson about attention is that you need to learn to balance it with awareness – I’m writing this for an audience who I assume will already be familiar with this attention-awareness interplay that’s spelled out in the book The Mind Illuminated.… Read the rest “A Meditator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Attention”

Here’s a Rant That Nobody Asked For about Meditation and Magical Thinking

Meditation practice is a matter of psychology, not magic. Confusion on this point can have insidious (and dumb) consequences.

“Om Ah Hung is the fundamental three-word mantra of Sanskrit consonants, forming the fundamental sound of the numerous lives in the Universe. It shakes away the blockages in the body’s channels, cleansing it of ailments.”

Discussing the Dharma Door of Chanting The Buddha’s Name, Nan Huai Jin

“Fundamentally, when you meditate, you bring your guard down and the light energy gets in…”

9 Scientifically Proven Reasons to Meditate, Thrive Global.com… Read the rest “Here’s a Rant That Nobody Asked For about Meditation and Magical Thinking”

The (Sort of) Complete Guide to Actually Getting Better at Meditation

Here are the six steps to actually getting better at meditation, according to psychology.


  • Introduction
  • Prelude – Understanding Mental Representations
  • The Elements of Deliberate Practice
    • 1: A Highly Developed Field
    • 2: Target Specific Sub-Skills
    • 3: Clear and Immediate Feedback
    • 4: Focused Practice
    • A Brief Interlude About the Dangers of Over-Efforting
    • 5: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
    • 6: Continued Engagement
  • A TL;DR Summary of Deliberate Practice


Most meditation instructions that you’ll find go something like this:

  1. Place your attention on the object of meditation (usually the sensations of breathing at the nostrils) and keep it there.
Read the rest “The (Sort of) Complete Guide to Actually Getting Better at Meditation”

I Wasted 8 Years of Meditation Because I Didn’t Understand These 4 Things

Most people meditate for a long time with little improvement because of these four myths.


  • Introduction
  • Striving for unusual or one-off experiences
  • Misunderstanding non-judgemental awareness
  • Thinking that trying to exert any kind of effort in meditation is a mistake
  • Extremely vague or unstructured meditation instructions
  • Conclusion


I’ve been practicing meditation for a few years, but I still can’t keep my attention on my breath for more than a few seconds at a time.Read the rest “I Wasted 8 Years of Meditation Because I Didn’t Understand These 4 Things”

The Science of The Dharma

A rational explanation of the project of Buddhism, and why the newly emerging science of the mind is essential to that project.

The Problem of Dukkha

This blog will be about dukkha, and the end of dukkha. Dukkha is a pali word which has been translated as ‘suffering’, ‘insufficiency’, ‘pain’, ‘unsatisfactoriness’, and ‘dissatisfaction’. It includes all those things and more. Dukkha is that to which all problems can be simplified, and our attempts to solve it are written in the stories of our lives.… Read the rest “The Science of The Dharma”