Meditation: The Software Analogy
There are multiple benefits of meditating, however they won’t be discussed here. This post aims to answer the
How, rather than the
Most people in my circle are affiliated in some way with software development. So when a developer friend of mine asked, “What is Meditation?”, I came up with an answer in terminology s/he could grok. Sharing with others, who’ve had similar questions on their mind.
The brain is an organic computer - equipped with memory, and processing capability. Consciousness is the init process. Every line of thinking is a process forked from your consciousness. Like any other computer, the brain has limited number of cores, thus limited processing power. Some processes can utilise all cores, some can’t. Even if every single process could utilise all cores, you still have limited cores.
At any given moment of time of any waking hour, there are multiple lines of thoughts running in your mind. One thinking about the argument you had yesterday, one wondering where to order lunch from, one focusing on the critical assignment that you must submit by end of the day, one dreading the boring meeting that begins in half an hour and perhaps few more.
Needless to say there are also daemons running, taking care of the mundane functions of moving air, glucose, blood and the likes, in the body.
Now, think of the following scenarios:
What happens when you have too many processes running?
What happens when one process takes too much CPU/RAM?
What happens when you have zombie processes running amok in the machine?
In any of the aforementioned situations, the outcome is on the lines of resource starvation - high priority processes not getting the resources they need, or to put it another way, resources are wasted on processes you don’t even want to run. The best case scenario being sub-optimal performance of the process, and worst case - system crash.
The vicissitudes of life, coupled with the unhealthy lifestyle that has become mainstream, and the urge to run faster on our hamster-wheels in the rat-race, is the psychological equivalent of a fork-bomb. Pointless worries, pitiful misunderstandings, vain desires, blind ambition, and the burden of expectations are nothing but unwanted processes starving your mind. Ability to think, feel & connect are dimmed by greed, envy & lust.
Picture yourself staring at a terminal showing you all the processes that are running. What would happen if you saw a random process with an innocuous name hogging 80% CPU? You’d invoke a SIGTERM/SIGKILL. Right?
Meditation is the willful execution of
ps aux on your system - observing the processes that are created. When you notice a process that isn’t desired, you hit
kill -9. Another random process pops up - again
For now your intended processes have ample resources, but what’s to keep another fork bomb from hijacking resources tomorrow? So we must do for our mind, what we do for our servers - we automate! Unfortunately the only thing in human beings that’s even remotely analogous to a
cron job is
habit. There is no easy way out of this.
Consider doing this exercise of monitoring & eliminating every morning for 10 minutes to begin with. What happens if you meditate for 30 minutes? Well, the probability of unwanted processes cropping up reduces. Simply put, the time you spend on observing & curating your state of mind is inversely proportional to the chances of unwanted thoughts intruding on your consciousness.
Hope this gives you a relatable mental model to grok meditation. Meditation isn’t some Art of Living faff, but a simple straightforward technique to manage your system health. Hope this gives you a relatable mental model to grok meditation. Meditation isn’t some Art of Living faff, but a simple straightforward technique to manage your system health.