I came over an interesting psychology research topic on youtube. A group of researchers are studying peoples’ internal experience. They have an interesting research methodology: the study subject wears a device that beeps at random times during the day. When the subject hears the beep, the subject pays attention to what their internal experience is like. At a later time, the researchers interview the subjects about their experience.
A cool observation from the research is that when a person says “I’m thinking about whether to have a hot dog or a hamburger for dinner”, the internal experience of that person can range from:
- Speaking to oneself in the mind with words “hotdog or hamburger for dinner?”
- Visualizing images of a hot dog and a hamburger without any words
- Experiencing the taste of mustard
- Feeling anxiety over not being able to afford a hamburger
- Just knowing a choice is being made, without any of the above
It’s also the case that some people have aphantasia, i.e. they are unable to see any images in their minds (but they do see images in dreams it appears).
Some people also do not experience any internal monologue, i.e. they cannot “speak to themselves” in their minds, they do not hear their thoughts in words.
I can’t help but think that these different ways of experiencing must affect how people experience the process of meditation as well.
It could maybe explain to some extent why people seem to click with different meditation practices or understand meditation in a certain way.
Anyway, food for thought