In the book Siddhartha, he compares meditation to the consumption of alcohol. These two surprisingly have a very similar effect on your state of mind, they take you away from the "real world". While they are similar in that way they are also very different. There are up's and down's to both of these states of mind. Alcohol can be very dangerous and unhealthy to your body. And meditation is a long process of things you do to yourself when there are alternatives, such as alcohol and drugs. Main negative difference being that taking drugs and alcohol is easier. While the positive difference is that when meditating verses drinking, you begin to gain knowledge and stay calm even when not meditating, while once the alcohol wears off you are back to where you started.
There are many benefits to meditation. Meditation can improve our creative thinking, after practicing meditation for a while we may be able to view thing differently, more positively. Meditation can also improve our energy and stress levels, when it comes to something that bothers you, the way Siddhartha's leaving bothered his father, you can stay calm and handle your negative emotions and stress even when not meditating at that exact moment. Meditation helps you come to peace with yourself and ignore the bad things going on in your life, including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, among others.
Meditation, along with many benefits, has its downfalls. There are many different ways of meditation, some fit for some but not for others. For example when Siddhartha went with the Samanas and was taught by them. He believed they would never reach Nirvana, may learn some tricks but not "the way". The teachings of the Samanas including fasting, and near death experiences. This includes holding your breath, and putting your self in the body of a dead animal. But the biggest thing, for Siddhartha at least, was it was time consuming and took much concentration when, you could just simply drink alcohol...
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