Someone recently sent me an article in the NY Times Opinion Pages called “Can We End the Meditation Madness?” The author describes the rise in “meditation pushers” and admits to not meditating himself, which can sometimes feel like heresy in this new age of mindfulness and yoga studios on every corner. And he makes some great points.Don’t get me wrong. I’m one of those meditation pushers - just ask one of my clients. Incorporating a regular and meaningful meditation practice in my life has made an incredible difference - it truly has altered and opened up things for me in ways I can’t even explain. And I understand how annoying that can sound to folks who have no interest in pursuing a practice. But I’d like to reframe the author’s argument in that article - while he may not be sitting in lotus position, eyes closed in front of an altar, he’s most definitely practiced meditation in his own way.
Now if you say “meditation is not your ‘thang’”, I’d like to counter with this:
We have all meditated at some point in our lives. It just didn’t look like what we expect meditation to be.
I decided to hop in front of my phone's camera and do a quickie (my initial intention :P) video to share my thoughts on meditation - (impulsive-sans-makeup-post-workout kinda quickie ;) - discuss the benefits and what you can do instead to get similar results, especially if you’d rather snort kombucha than sit in stillness.
Click the video above to hear my musings on meditation.
The benefits of Meditation
No doubt, meditation has been proven to be beneficial in many areas. The long list includes stress reduction, lowering inflammatory markers and improving inflammatory bowel disease symptoms, improving sleep, decreasing depression, reducing anxiety, improving insulin and glucose regulatory genes, and even cellular aging by impacting telomere length
. Meditation is even good for eating habits - mindfulness meditation was shown to effectively decrease binge eating and emotional eating in those suffering from disordered eating patterns.
There are many different kinds of meditation styles and practices, and who knows whether one is "better" than another. But I'd like to propose that they all accomplish something very similar - and that is to bring you to the present moment and take a break from your very active and often negative monkey mind. One could even say that it brings you closer to the "real" you, and relaxes you into a flow state.
Alright, so what if you're not into stillness?
The good news is that you can probably get very similar benefits doing other things that have the same effect. And that's whatever cuts you off from the rushing river of madness that is your thought train and brings you into a state of flow and presence. Luckily, this could look like many things...
Sleep. Running. A relaxing bath. Painting. Cooking. Prayer. Farming. Making love. Hiking. Playing with your kids. My favorite is dance :)
What gives you that natural high? That feeling of complete positivity, flow and ease, so that not a single thought interrupts? Whatever that is for you - THAT'S your meditation. And you better make time for it because not only will they benefit your health, but aren't those the moments that we live for anyway?
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
Have you struggled with the idea of meditation? What’s one thing you love and can do this week to get in “flow” and access those same benefits? Leave a comment below.
Don’t be shy! Your ideas and thoughts are guaranteed to help at least one soul out there, so let’er rip.
Thanks for listening and hope you get in flow this week!