Meditation Teaches You To Stop

Thich Nhat Hanh has written about meditation’s tendency to help its practitioners stop doing. The world is filled with start-ups, productivity aids, and reminders that we all have to get started with doing whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing.

While this is no problem for day-to-day simple stuff that contributes to a balanced life, starting without ever stopping leads to a life of inner strife and chaos. Meditation teaches you how to stop. Imagine a road infrastructure without stop signs or red lights. It’d fail tragically, every road blocked by a major accident.

In the same way that roads regulate our pathways, you can train your mind to regulate its thought pathways. Meditation is the introduction to this training process. It makes your inner thought highway more efficient over time, allowing for stoppages when they’re required.

Instead of viewing meditation as a means to and end, or as some sort of productivity aid, use it as an anti-productivity aid. Use it to stop. If you’re meditating and think of something you have to do, treat this thought like any other. Let it pass. Otherwise you remain a slave to the voice in your head that lies to you.

This voice tells you to constantly stay busy, to never rest, to never stop. Don’t listen to it. If you ignore it, it’ll quiet down. Just stop.

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