2020 has thrown a lot of uncertainty our way.
We don’t know when we can film with our hosts in our studio again.
We don’t know when the air will clear from the fires in LA so we can enjoy the outdoors again.
We don’t know when we’ll be able to go to conferences and see our colleagues again.
We don’t know when we can visit friends and loved ones again.
It’s so easy to fall into patterns of thinking like this, agonizing over the time we’ve lost and worrying about the future. Meditation is really the cure for what ails us, because it helps you focus on the here and now.
Meditation/ Mindfulness has become a bit of a fad lately, especially in Silicon Valley. But meditation has been around for thousands of years, as part of the Hindu and Buddhist traditional practices. It’s hardly a new invention, but if it helps people to treat it like a new discovery, I don’t have a problem with that. Maybe by making YouTube videos and meditation apps, more people will discover meditation as a way to find peace.
Are you reluctant to try meditation?
Whatever it is holding you back, I’ll bet you anything it’s not a good reason. You don’t have to practice the religions that include meditation in their traditions. You don’t have to do meditation the way it’s shown on TV and in the movies. You don’t have to be in good shape or have a peaceful outlook on life already. You don’t have to look a certain way or act a certain way.
Anyone can do meditation.
It’s all about finding what works for you.
Meditation just requires you to do one thing: pick something to focus on. If you get distracted (and you will, that’s natural, and it’s kind of the whole point), you re-focus. That’s it. That’s all there is to it! Meditation is a way to exercise your mental muscles, developing your ability to focus.
I’ve noticed that in most videos and apps that teach meditation, they start with breath work. This is the technique used in “Zazen” meditation. You sit in the lotus position and focus on your breath – inhale, hold, exhale, hold. This works just fine for me, until my broken-down knees start barking. But I know that for many people, focusing on their breath actually causes anxiety. So they give up and think they can’t meditate.
You don’t have to meditate in this exact way. There are other forms of meditation that don’t focus on your breath at all!
I’m very curious about Transcendental Meditation (TM). This is what the Beatles studied with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and is championed nowadays by any number of movers and shakers. David Lynch has started a foundation to spread the word about this practice. TM is based on the ancient practice of Vedic meditation, which involves silently repeating a mantra to yourself.
TM (the branded version) requires you to meet with a specially trained instructor, who gives you your personalized mantra. Ooh, do I ever want a personalized mantra! But there are no funds in our kitty to try such a venture. Maybe one day.
So instead, I usually do Yoga Nidra. This probably isn’t what you’re picturing. I do yoga every day, with postures and breathwork. But this is something different. I think of Yoga Nidra as a kind of mind-body integration. It involves a “body scan,” where you concentrate on increasing your awareness of all the parts of your body. You wouldn’t think that would do anything, but I feel calm, conscious, and not distracted by worries about the past or the future.
If you’d like to try this method of meditation, please watch our video:
We’ve also made the mp3 recording of the Yoga Nidra practice available to download for free, so you can take it with you anywhere and continue to practice, even when you’re offline and can’t watch our video on YouTube. Sign up for the free download here: http://bit.ly/GetMeditationRec
I hope you’ll meditate with me, Socratica Friends!
We recommend the following books and goodies (affiliate links that support Socratica):
Meditation Pillow https://amzn.to/3kXezCq
Muse – a brain-sensing headband that trains you to meditate https://amzn.to/3ill28C
The Miracle of Mindfulness: an Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh https://amzn.to/33mAcpy
Meditation Gong https://amzn.to/34kFykw
Other easy ways to support Socratica: