Meditations on Stock Market

Stock Markets and Meditation seem to be the opposite ends of a spectrum. One brings to mind images of greed, excitement and competition; while other conjures up image of peace, tranquility and surrender. However meditation can easily help one being more successful in the stock market.
According to Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor; success in market comes from getting two major things right. Having a sound intellectual framework for investing, and preventing emotions from corrupting that framework. Meditation can help you in both. Lets start first with the intellectual framework.

Most people develop an intellectual framework for Finance by reading a lot. They read formalized MBA curriculums, more structured curriculum by professional Finance organizations like the CFA Institute and GARP, and they read the thoughts of great and not so great investors, on being successful in the market. Like any learning, this involved first getting familiar with the box, deciding what tools in the box and more suitable for you and learning to apply them in a creative way.
You start getting familiar with the box and the tools in it, using an analytical and logical approach to learning. With time you realize which of the tools or frameworks are more useful than others. You start dropping other frameworks, and start using the more effective ones more often. With time those frameworks become second nature or intuitive to you.
When you have developed a set of frameworks that you can use intuitively, you can glide over the enormous amount of financial data (available for free on the net) and use your intuition to identify sound investing opportunities. Logic will never allow you to glean through the massive sets of data, as fast as an intuitive framework would.
However in the noise and din of modern day finance, sometimes you get stuck in the logical thought process and do not let your intuitive powers guide you in decision-making. Meditation is a way of unleashing your intuitive powers. In meditation, a Yogi creates a trance like situation where he is aware of his body and breath (concentrating on the breath while meditating is a good idea), detaches himself from his mental and intellectual thoughts, and let his subconscious intuitive thoughts come out effortlessly.
Normally the subconscious thoughts of a person only come out in a dream. In our conscious state our ego represses them. But a Yogi, who has mastered the art of meditation, can tap into his subconscious mind in the meditative trance. Subconscious mind is where the intuitive frameworks are stored. So if the huh-hub around new earnings announcement and the impending year-end investor calls are creating too many thoughts; meditation might help you to let the more intuitive investment frameworks take over. Warning here is that once your intuition gives you a hypothesis, you should vet it using logic. An enlightened Yogi is one, whose intuitive subconscious, discerning rational intelligence, mental thoughts and senses all are all awake.
Thus meditation can help you to invoke your intuition while cogitating over financial data, and remove clutter and unwanted noise. It can also help you from letting emotions ruin your decision-making.
Most of the misfortunes in investing happen because people let routine cognitive errors ruin their thinking. Most of the cognitive biases are created by ego driven mind. You ego prevents you from seeing the world objectively; rather it wants to twist reality in a way that suits it. People also project their ego on to their possessions. They may hold on to a stock they invested in, because “they” made a decision to buy it at some time; even if their rational mind may say that the stock is no longer a good investment. Their emotional mind would rather want to hold on to the loser stock, than admit to the world that it bungled up in the decision-making.
Meditation can help an investor develop a calm sense of rational detachment. Benjamin Graham, one of the greatest investing writer (perhaps the greatest); called this ataraxia. In the Hindu holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; it is Shiva who is associated with meditation. Shiva is the most detached and disengaged of all three mighty gods. He meditates on death and eternal. This allows him to take a very detached view about the churn of everyday ephemeral life. This detachment also propels him into swift destructive action; when he feels that the world is becoming too unworthy a place to exist.
If an investor feels that his emotions may be getting little ahead of him; he should take a detached Shiva like view of things. He should imagine if little ups and downs of stock market due to the coming earnings announcement would really matter on his deathbed. This kind of meditation on the churn of ephemeral and its relevance to eternal; will help the investor make his decisions with a calm calculus of reason.

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