Advice on how to meditate | Yuval Noah Harari and Lex Fridman

updated 22 Aug 2023

In this conversation, Yuval Noah Harari shares his insights on the value of meditation in approaching difficult problems and gaining deeper understanding. He emphasizes the importance of spending time in silent meditation daily and going on longer retreats to observe non-verbally what is happening within oneself. By focusing on body sensations, breath, and thoughts without engaging with them, Harari believes it helps to train the mind to be silent and gain a clearer perspective on reality.

Advice on how to meditate | Yuval Noah Harari and Lex Fridman

He advises maintaining an information diet, being cautious of what we feed our minds, and giving preference to in-depth books over short-form content like Twitter to gain deeper insights into complex issues. Harari recounts his own struggles when he began meditating, finding it challenging to hold his attention on his breath for more than 10 seconds due to the constant production of stories and thoughts by the mind.

While meditation can bring up intense emotions like anger, boredom, or feelings of worthlessness, Harari finds it essential to deal with boredom as it leads to peace and helps us avoid being consumed by excitement-seeking behaviors. He shares that pressing the "delete" button in his mind allows him to play with ideas without becoming overly attached to them, fostering a sense of playfulness in his intellectual pursuits.

Yuval practices Vipassana Meditation, where "the main focus of Vipassana Meditation is on observing the sensations and physical experiences in the body without reacting to them emotionally or mentally". see Vipassana Meditation

Overall, Harari believes meditation has a transformative impact on how he approaches challenges, gaining insights into complex problems while remaining detached from preconceived ideas and biases.

Key Points

Overall, meditation plays a significant role in helping Harari navigate difficult problems, observe reality without biases, and find peace in the face of intense emotions and boredom.