February 2021 TDM
The Self-love issue
Welcome to the February 2021 issue of The Daily Meditator. This is your monthly resource for fun, quirky, interesting, and noteworthy happenings in and around the worldwide meditation community, curated by Light Watkins and co. Our mission is simple: to help broaden the horizon of what a daily meditator looks like while providing you with relevant information and timely inspiration for staying committed to your daily practice (even during a pandemic).
How we can help Texas:
The Salvation Army provides shelter, food, and other necessary items to those in need throughout Texas.
The American Red Cross is supporting at least 35 warming centers with cots and blankets across the state.
Austin Pets Alive! is working to keep pets across Texas warm and safe during the freezing conditions. The group needs heating pads, Styrofoam coolers, dog beds, heat lamps, and monetary donations.
[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
Deepak Chopra to Biden: Rethink Health Care
Give a man a Xanax and he’ll relax for a day. Teach a man to meditate, and he’ll relax for a lifetime. Is that how the old adage goes?
CNBC interviewed Chopra about how the Biden administration could address the mental health crisis and its physical symptoms that stem from stress. He wants to shift the focus away from insurance reform and towards “democratizing well-being.”
Chopra explained that “true health reform means giving people the tools for prevention and also for lifestyle measures that can help them not only prevent disease, but actually reverse a lot of chronic disease.”
The bad news : 95% of chronic illness is related to stress and inflammation.
The good news : This is potentially preventable and reversible.
Bottom line: Reduce your stress and fight inflammation with meditation, good sleep, exercise, and good nutrition. You’ll get a gold star from Deepak Chopra!
[ MEDITATION & LIFESTYLE ]
The second wave: 6 Ways to Set More Mindful Goals
Quick check-in: How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Hopefully, your new habit is sticking around, but if you need some tips for a February revamp, here you go:
Set smaller goals that facilitate mindfulness as a way to continually bring yourself back to the present.
Pay attention to how the goals you set (or attempt to set) make you feel to create goals that actually align with your values.
Let the cue of self-judging thoughts be a reminder to be curious instead.
Savor each goal accomplished along the way, especially the smaller ones.
Get comfy with uncertainty to remain adaptable.
Bottom line: Everybody gets a mulligan after 2020. Get back on track by setting mindful goals in a mindful way to help realign with the path you really want to be on.
[ MEDITATION & CULTURE ]
Changing Suffering to Happiness through Meditation in Uganda
His dream was to become an accountant. But after meeting Thai monks in college, he changed course and became the first Ugandan Buddhist monk. At 53, Bhante Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita wants to introduce the peace of the Buddha to Africa. Though many colonizers imposed their customs and religions on the African continent, Buddhist countries were not among them. As a result, few well-trained monks exist in Africa to lead the 3000 Buddhists that reside there.
Buddharakkhita’s goal is to train at least one monk in each African nation. He teaches Buddhism with an African flair to show hesitant people that it isn’t “weird, foreign, and Asian.” He makes meditation practice relevant to Africans with the aim of bringing peace that can heal trauma from what he calls “colonial hangovers.”
Bottom line: One person can make a difference. Worth a look for the stunning pictures alone.
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
OM: A Little Word with a Big Punch
The sound of universal creation. That’s what the ancient Hindu mantra Om is meant to replicate. So, no pressure.
Pronounced “Aum,” the Hindu Om has a history going back over 5000 years, eventually evolving into similar sounds in other religions, including the “Amen” of Western religions.
Scientists have studied the effects of Om Meditation for many years. They found that the word’s significance caused meditators to experience increased focus, better breath control, and mental alertness while the body is at rest. These changes are all due to the production of alpha brain waves, which are calming.
Bottom Line: While results are not immediate, the studies found that repeated sessions of Om Meditation seemed to reduce stress and anxiety for some folks. So Om away!
[ MEDITATION & POP CULTURE]
Comedians are Piling onto the Headspace Bandwagon
Laughing counts as deep breathing, right? Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Studios has partnered with Headspace Studios to create a hilarious series of short videos called Meditate with Me. The goal? Demystifying meditation. It’s funny because we’ve all been there.
Tiffany Haddish can’t get her brain to be quiet. She yawns, chatting to herself about her to-do list.
Deon Cole tries deep breathing for the first time. He relaxes so much he wonders why he is paying a masseuse for something he can do with his mind.
Kevin Hart experiences mindful cardio, running and occasionally worrying about how to spell meditation and whether he has enough hand sanitizer.
Bottom Line: In all honesty, Kevin, you probably can’t have enough hand sanitizer right now. Also, these videos are the ray of light we didn’t know we needed right now.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNIQUE ]
Best places for FREE guided meditation online for this year
Are guided meditations your jam but you don’t want to be paying a membership fee to an app?
Here are the top five places for free online guided meditations:
Insight Timer – With more than 70,000 free guided meditations and daily live events, Insight Timer is an easy way to follow along for a meditation or use the timer feature to ride solo for a session.
UCLA Mindful – Developed by researchers at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center to promote “radical accessibility of mindfulness practices,” the app features meditations in English and Spanish, and creates special meditations geared to people with certain health conditions.
Mindfulness Exercises – Not only are there guided meditations here, but there are also a range of resources like worksheets, videos, e-books, courses, and challenges.
Smiling Mind – Created using evidence-based meditation exercises for both adults and kids, Smiling Mind aims to banish stress and improve focus at work and in the classroom.
UC San Diego – Not an app, but the university hosts live events and guided meditations on a variety of topics and then posts them to Soundcloud.
Bottom line: Not up for spending your hard-won tendies on more apps? We’ve got your covered.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
Fall in love with… your Self
By Channing Press of Piece of Peace Meditation
Close your eyes and think of a time you felt deep love. Take your time finding a moment you can picture easily. Place your mind on the feelings within your body. Can you feel the love start to grow as the memory gets clearer?
I host a journal club every week, and this week we journaled about when we feel love. As we wrote, thought about, and shared our experience of love, it began to grow. The more we notice the love that exists, the more love there is to notice. With every memory of love, we could palpably feel the love and joy grow within ourselves.
In this way, it’s not even just stopping to smell the roses that can cultivate love but merely taking a moment to recall how the roses smelled. Our memory can teleport us anywhere at any time. In our lowest of lows, we can remember the love from another time. Memory can actively foster the growth of our emotions. The support we need to make it through each day and our toughest times exists right in our minds.
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN ]
Read: Radiant Rest, by Tracee Stanley
In Radiant Rest, Tracee Stanley teaches us that Yoga Nidra isn’t just a technique, it’s a state of consciousness and the nurturing quality of the Goddess. She includes 25 science-based practices that help experience deep dreamless sleep and open up to grace. The book also includes downloadable audio meditations to make sure the reader has all the support needed to experience profound relaxation and transformative self-inquiry. Read more
Watch: Stillwater special
What do you get when you mix Mallika Chopra, the Calm meditation app, and children’s programming? A three-part Stillwater special on Apple TV+. In the episodes, Stillwater shows kids how to develop feelings of kindness, scan their body, and face disappointment. Stillwater is based on the book series Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth. Watch now.
Listen: Ten Percent Happier, Dan Harris
Ten Percent Happier is one of the more popular podcasts about all things happiness, meditation, and creativity. Hosted by Dan Harris, an ABC News anchor, he interviews meditation teachers (the Light Watkins episode is #145), scientists, and the occasional celebrity. The episodes are relaxing to listen to, but ripe with practical takeaways. Listen now.
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
“Ideas pop into my head nearly every day.“
What have you gotten from meditation? Secret powers! When I drop into meditation I often discover peace, strength, and ideas pop into my head nearly every day.
Strangest meditation moment? Meditating in Kenya at Sarara and hearing what sounded like Jurassic Park outside my room.... but what was really elephants passing by and eating the trees!
Most unexpected benefit of meditation? Survival and resilience: the ability to get through life’s biggest challenges unscarred.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of our favorite Instagram accounts with a purpose
Shankari Goldstein (left) is a farmer, activist, event planner, and yoga teacher. She co-hosts the State of the Union (Yoga) Address series and brings her incredible creative energy to projects like Shensara Yoga Festival, Shakti Tribe, Waddle Om Farm, and The Ascendants. She works to incorporate community, wellness, peace, sustainability, and activism into the landscape of modern Yoga and sustainable living. Follow her on IG: @shankarigoldstein
Sarah Cooper (right) is a comedian, speaker, and author of bestselling books How to Be Successful without Hurting Men’s Feelings and 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. She is the now-famous face behind the viral series of videos in which she lip-synced snippets of then-President Trump’s public statements. The first one, “How to Medical,” was viewed over 25 million times. Her hilarious first comedy special, Everything’s Fine, is available on Netflix. Follow her on IG: @sarahcpr
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.”
How can we make The Daily Meditator better? Please take our short survey. We want to hear from you!
Want to receive The Daily Meditator in your inbox once a month and stay informed on everything happening in the world of meditation? Hit the subscribe button below.