August 2019 TDM
The Freedom of Choicelessness Issue
Welcome to the fourth issue of The Daily Meditator ✌🏾This is your monthly resource for fun, quirky, interesting, and noteworthy happenings in and around the worldwide meditation community—created by Bliss More author and daily meditator Light Watkins. Guest edited by Kristen Vandivier.
Our intention is simple: to broaden the horizon of what a daily meditator looks like while providing you with more inspiration for committing to your daily practice.
In this issue: we explore meditation in detention–both the classroom and the penitentiary variety, we look at the (very few) presidential candidates who practice self-care, and how to take your practice on the road, in real life as well as virtually. Enjoy, and if you feel charmed, please share with your circle. As always, sending you a big "Namaste," "Sat Nam," or "Jai Guru Deva" wherever you are in the world.
[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
This is what detention now looks like
We've turned a corner as a society. Instead of making unruly students stay after school or go to the principal’s office, teachers at Robert W. Coleman elementary school in Baltimore, MD refer them to the Mindful Moment Room. There are no corners to stand in, or chalkboards to write good behavior affirmations. Instead, the room is decked out with big purple cushions, stuffed animals, and artwork to make it calming and welcoming. Upon entering, the student is allowed to express what happened with an instructor, and for 15 minutes they are led through mindfulness exercises. (Where was this when we were coming up?)
This novel approach to detention has apparently yielded very impressive results. Most of the children do cooperate for the 20 minutes they’re in the room, but the results don’t stop there as Robert W. Coleman Elementary had no suspensions throughout the entire 2016-2017 school year. That's over 300 students and not one suspension! Children can even request to go to the Mindful Moment Room themselves, and many do.
Bottom line: Should meditation become the new "time out"? We think so.
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
Female inmates benefit from TM
And now for the adults in detention... Just about the only inspiring thing we can report about the U.S. prison industrial complex is that we're seeing a spike in the meditation programs being offered to inmates in an effort to reduce symptoms of stress. In a recent study at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, meditation was taught to 22 prisoners in a pilot program funded by the David Lynch Foundation (an affiliate of Transcendental Meditation). In the study, the inmates practiced for 20 minutes twice a day while a control group of inmates was placed on a 'waitlist.' After four months, 80 percent of the meditating inmates showed a clinically significant reduction in trauma symptoms—including jumpiness, disturbing thoughts, memories, and dreams, as well as trouble falling asleep and concentrating. The DLF has also been known to fund meditation training for veterans, victims of abuse, as well as other at-risk populations.
Bottom line: If the real end goal of the prison industrial complex is to rehabilitate, then based on the research, meditation instruction needs to become more of a priority. Clearly, we've still got a lot of work to do.
[ MEDITATION & POLITICS ]
Voting for self-care in politics
Because politicians need to take the edge off too. Ready for a fun game? Out of the two dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, only a handful have a regular self-care routine. Can you match which politician practices which self-care practice?
[ MEDITATION & LIFESTYLE ]
9 ideas for meditating "in the wild"
Go guerrilla with your meditation. We can't always rely on having the time or ability to meditate in the comfort of our home. But that doesn't let us off the hook. After all, stress isn't taking days off, and there are still plenty of places to meditate while on the go without modifying our day all that much. Here are 8 suggestions for meditating while working and running errands:
Empty conference rooms or closets - your office may be full of potential meditation spots if you look for them before you need them
Yoga studios - usually open to providing space for meditation
Churches - open during the day and quiet—perfect for diving in
Food courts* - just find a quiet corner and throw on some shades
Book stores* - best spots are in the empty book-signing section
Public libraries* - many have empty rooms
Hotel lobbies and doctors offices - show up a bit early and go for it
In an Uber (if your ride is long enough) - just tell the driver to turn off the radio and let you know when you arrive
In your car - Park in the shade and use the back seat to be more inconspicuous, and this could be your mobile meditation room
* Throw on some sunglasses and/or headphones to keep others from coming up and disturbing you while meditating.
Bottom line: Having a busy day is no reason to skip meditation. Just ask yourself, "How would MacGyver meditate with my hectic schedule?"
[ MEDITATION & TECHNOLOGY ]
VR and meditation. A good thing?
VR and meditation—peanut butter and jelly, or oil and water? The VR industry insiders have gotten wind of the fact that more than 60 percent of app buyers are hungry for mindfulness and meditation offerings. Unlike Calm or Headspace, apps that mostly guide you into meditation, VR will allow you to go somewhere exotic and mesmerizing for a one-on-one meditation vacation—but without really going anywhere. The only thing we can't figure out is, if our eyes are supposed to be closed while meditating, then what is there to see with VR?
Bottom Line: Whether we like it or not, the world of VR meditation is quickly approaching with smart people working on creating compelling experiences, and if it introduces more people to meditation or keeps people meditating longer, we'll get behind it.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
The freedom of choicelessness
Image credit: Unsplash
Whynot having a choice is sometimes the best choice. My mother told me that when she was young, she went to the drug store for toothpaste and there it was—one brand of toothpaste. Nowadays, we'll spend 10 minutes in the toothpaste aisle wondering if we should get tartar control, or whitening, or sensitive plus whitening. And that's just one of the hundreds of choices we will make each day. As a result, our attention and energy is being drained by a barrage of mostly-meaningless choices.
We obviously like having choices, but more than that, we want to cultivate the state of consciousness that allows us to instinctively know which is the best choice for us to make in any given moment. Without it, we can easily get sucked into overthinking everything. This is where meditation comes in most handy.
Our daily meditation practice puts us in alignment with our intuition, which helps us recognize the right choice on the fly, no matter how many glittery options are being presented to us. This saves much time and energy for more important matters. And it's a feeling that every long-term meditator starts to recognize with time and practice.
Bottom line: The freedom of choicelessness is one major way that your meditation practice will refund you back the time you spend doing it.
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Taking a deeper dive into you
Read: Bliss More: Learn how to succeed in meditation without really trying
If you're still struggling with meditation and there are no teachers in your area, Bliss More can be your next best option for making the practice stick. Light Watkins keeps it E.A.S.Y. in this simple how-to book, and readers are now finding meditation more enjoyable than ever before. Read now
Watch: Life in a Day
What was it like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010? Life In A Day is a historic film capturing that moment in time for future generations. The film is comprised of an arranged series of video clips selected from 80,000 clips submitted to YouTube showing respective occurrences from individuals around the world on that day in 2010. Watch now
Listen: Vedic Worldview Podcast - Season 3
Thom is a philosopher, teacher, and renowned expert on the 5,000-year-old body of wisdom known as the Veda. He is also a celebrated speaker on the relationship between quantum physics and human consciousness. Through his podcast, he provides rich and profound insight into the practice of daily meditation. Listen now
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
What have you gotten from meditation? Balance. Before warp-speed, constantly seeking the win was my pace. Rest was sacrificed for adrenaline—competition, and risks. Sleep was for death. An adamant debater, word-fighting was a sport. Whilst this style of living was energetically orgasmic, too often depletion followed. Meditation ushered in a purpose for pausing, a reason to trust charm and a window to toss guilt/remorse through.
Strangest meditation moment? Sensing my mouth opening to catch “flies” with outreached hands squeeze-grabbing air. Sublime and humorous. I was outside on a bench. I’m proud that I was not embarrassed. Actually, I hoped humans were amused by the impromptu mime performance.
Most unexpected benefit of meditation? Charm. Super achieving parents plus my degrees in law, product design, and engineering nourished a must-get-it-right mentality. The strategy of using logic to create a path reasonably devoid of pain and failure stockpiled stress within. Enter charm. This simple yet challenging notion of "trust the inner voice," gives your first inclination a chance… just because. Wow, has my standup comedy been enhanced! Amazingly, charm lets me be focused, flexible and present without all that migraine-producing mental chatter.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of our favorite daily meditator Instagram accounts with a purpose
Emma Mainoo (Surviving Sundays)
Emma is a daily meditator and the creator of Surviving Sundays. What began as a personal journal about a period when she hated Sundays—the day when she would feel more hopeless and alone than any other, long before it became her favorite day of the week—is now a source of hope and healing for those struggling with mental health issues. Emma's mission is to normalize conversations around mental health and in turn help one another. Some of the stories are funny and some are heartbreaking, but all are honest accounts shared with good intentions. Follow Surviving Sundays here to learn more about coping with mental health and sober living.
Tipping the scale at 346 pounds and suffering from high blood pressure, a pre-diabetic Brix still wasn’t ready to change his lifestyle. First, second and third attempts at weight loss had failed. Brix became the ultimate yo-yo dieter, with an unhealthy relationship with food and an aversion to physical activity. Since March of 2013, Brix works out, eats cleanly, and meditates daily. Watch this inspiring video of his transformation, and follow him here to learn more about his fascinating journey to a healthy lifestyle.
Answer from the 'Meditation in Pop Culture' section
Cory Booker practices Buddhist meditation.
Kamala Harris goes to SoulCycle.
Tim Ryan practices mindfulness meditation.
Marianne Williamson practices Vedic Meditation.
“At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”
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