July 2020 TDM
The “Wear Your Mask” issue
Welcome to the July 2020 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 author and meditator teacher, Light Watkins. Written and edited by Jordan Pletzer, Kristen Vandivier, Emerson Wolfe, and Light (see our bios at the bottom).
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.
The “wear your mask” issue: Enjoy this issue, and please wear a mask :)
[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
Will meditation make you less racist?
According to studies, mindfulness increases the chances of you being woke. Overcoming biases, moving past prejudices, and building bridges between communities are learned skills, research shows.
Intentionally reflecting on your biases in meditation can actively increase trust of strangers while reducing racial stereotyping and discrimination.
Not only that, but meditation can also be supplemented with these other daily practices for being more open-minded:
Questioning your beliefs. Reflect on your views of reality deeply and often.
Seeking out counter-information. How are you insulating yourself with knowledge? Consider branching out into the mental discomfort of finding alternative views.
Checking in with how you feel in the moment. Take a pause. Research says that when we are put in morally-charged situations, we make more primal decisions based off emotion.
Bottom line: Yes, we're all one, and it’s still good to actively listen and learn.
[ MEDITATION & FAMILY ]
The trick to meditating as a parent?
Finding quiet time in the Groundhog Day grind. For many, COVID has meant increased isolation and loneliness, but for parents, we’ve been home for months with our kids. The only moments of solitude are when we lock ourselves in the bathroom for a few sweet minutes.
When can a stressed mama find some quiet time to meditate? The truth is, she can’t. But it is possible to meditate in the midst of the mayhem.
With your kids around, there will inevitably be interruptions - but even interrupted meditations are beneficial. Distractions help you stretch your awareness to be deep and shallow at once. They also teach you “allowing,” which means acknowledging what is happening without judgement (a handy tool for moms and dads even when not meditating).
If you are interrupted by your kids:
Let go of any frustration over the interruption and simply note it as happening
Keeping your eyes closed, ask your child if there’s any blood or broken bones. If not, then tell them you will be with them soon.
If you must intervene, return to your meditation as quickly as possible
Bottom line: You’re doing great! Just think of parenting as an advanced course in enlightenment. (And parenting during Covid is like getting an Ivy League PhD).
[ MEDITATION & HEALTH
Are meditation and yoga possible vaccine alternatives?
In case they take too long to come up with a vaccine... The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is exploring the anti-inflammatory benefits of yoga and meditation as a possible COVID treatment. They cite the following:
Some breathing exercises can stimulate the vagus nerve, thereby lowering inflammation and alleviating psychological stress.
Practicing yoga also supports these benefits, as well as potentially helping the body fight off microbes.
The longer you’ve been a meditator, the more melatonin floats around in your body, not only helping you with sleep, but also helping your body fight off viruses.
Obviously, within the context of COVID, more research is needed, but the side effects of these practices are well worth starting anyway.
Bottom line: Maybe in ten years the saying will be “A meditation a day keeps the COVID away.”
[ MEDITATION & POP CULTURE ]
Look who’s “preaching” about the benefits of meditation
Lecrae is says “no” to stress. Best-selling Christian hip hop artist Lecrae announced in a recent article that he’s a big fan of meditation. He had this to say about the practice:
“[Meditation] is not like some kind of weird mystical thing. It’s literally clearing your mind of the clutter that is overwhelming you. Whether those are anxious thoughts or sad thoughts, it’s just taking the time to clear your mind. It could be spiritual. It could be a time where you’re reflecting on how close God is to you. But mostly it’s clearing your mind of the clutter.”
In addition to meditation, Lecrae also recommends:
Mediation. Speak with someone qualified to help digest life and receive insight and wisdom.
Medication. If you need it, don’t be afraid to take it. “That’s the way He’s [God] providing wholeness and healing,” says Lecrae.
Exercise. Do anything to release the endorphins. A walk, 10 push-ups, 3 sun salutations, a 5-minute dance session. Anything.
Re-focus. Focus on life-giving things like encouragement and freedom rather than excessively ruminating in the negatives.
Bottom line: For those who think that meditation conflicts with Christianity, according to Lecrae, not so much.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNOLOGY ]
Virtual relaxation = real world results
Control your (virtual) reality by controlling your breath. Oculus Quest users are getting a new “game” called Flowborne, a VR experience that takes you on a meditative journey in a fascinating virtual world.
Players take a relaxing pilgrimage to uncover the secret of the breath and “master the art of diaphragmatic breathing.”
DEEP VR is a game that implements biofeedback mechanics by having users wear a belt around their diaphragm. As users explore an underground world, they must breathe deeply and slowly to continue travelling.
Proponents of these and similar games say they offer an immersive experience that can help people become more aware of their body.
Bottom line: Could this become virtual "cross training" for breath awareness?
[ MEDITATION & DIVERSITY ]
Meditación guiada en Español
Deepak Chopra y J Balvin anuncian una experiencia de meditación de 21 días - in English and Spanish!
More than 14% of the US population speaks Spanish, but the majority of guided apps are voiced in English. Deepak Chopra and Columbian singing sensation José Balvin have joined forces to launch a free 21-day meditation series called ‘Renew Yourself: Body, Mind & Spirit,’ in both Spanish and English. We love it and you can sign up free here.
Bottom line: La meditación es una experiencia universal.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
The art of becoming an exporter of inner happiness
What makes you happy, for real? Your family, your job, travelling, playing guitar, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. But what if no thing makes you happy–what if your happiness comes from you?
The hunt for happiness is so ingrained in our culture it’s in our frickin’ Declaration of Independence. The “pursuit of happiness” assumes that happiness is on the outside, as something to be chased. It is this elusive goal hidden behind acquisitions and achievements.
But the truth is, true happiness isn’t there, because the goal keeps moving. Once the coveted car has been bought or the dream job awarded, one’s baseline state returns and the hunt begins again.
Our whole life’s motivations for actions are driven by this self-serving, futile search. That is, until we start meditating. Suddenly, we find ourselves feeling happy for no reason.
There may be dirty dishes in the sink and unpaid bills on the counter, but inside there is a sense of well-being because, in our meditations, we dip over and over again into that inner field of bliss.
This may be meditation’s greatest gift, it turns us from importers of happiness to exporters of happiness. No longer are we motivated to act in order to find fulfillment, we act in order to bring that fulfillment to others.
Bottom line: When your happiness comes from within, you radiate for all to enjoy.
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Zen Habits is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. This weekly blog by author Leo Babauta covers topics from productivity, attention, and stress, to current affairs as they relate to Zen Buddhist philosophy. This blog is a favorite read by a couple of our TDM co-editors - along with a million other readers! Read now
Watch: Down to Earth with Zac Efron
Actor Zac Efron and wellness afficionado Darin Olien team up to produce this casually funny docuseries with an underlying message about our changing planet. If you're looking for something interesting but not too serious, watch Daren and Zac explore renewable energy, drinking water systems, superfoods, and more. Meditation even gets a mention. Watch now on Netflix
Listen: Being The Change
The Daily Meditator co-editor Kristen Vandivier co-hosts this enlightening podcast with Meditation Without Borders co-founder Isabel Keoseyan. Curious how to get humans working together for the benefit of all, Kristen and Isabel explore the topic of meditation for social change in both deep and lighthearted ways. Listen Now
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
“I realized during my first meditation session that I had never really had a conscious thought in my whole life.”
What have you gotten from meditation?
First, it gave me the opportunity to realize that I can choose my thoughts. I realized during my first meditation session that I had never really had a conscious thought in my whole life. I didn’t realize that I had the capacity to change the things on the screen of my mind. Second, I developed infinitely more patience and compassion. Once you develop this compassion and patience with yourself and your thoughts, it transitions to the real world.
Strangest meditation moment?
The first time I did breath of fire coupled with humming, each for seven minutes, then you pause - everything stopped. Time stopped. There was nothing. Just this pure feeling of nothing. Its a hard thing to explain, and its a very strange moment, but I sat in that and developed this comfortable connection with this nothingness. It was a pretty wild experience, and it felt so right and so natural. It felt like i came home.
Most unexpected benefit of meditation?
Development of this buffer of peace. A centeredness and calm that no matter what is going on in the world around me, I still feel like there is a space between the event and my reaction to it. Whether it's a tragedy or a challenge or a problem or even something beautiful, theres this space there thats not touched by it. And wow, it's an amazing anchor that's developed that keeps me grounded from getting too high or too low.
[Shawn is also this month’s cover model]
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of our favorite Instagram accounts with a purpose
As a best-selling author, transformational leader, and teacher, Preston is truly an inspiration. He leads mass movements to inspire more people to act from a place of love, offers courses on how to better relate, and coordinates a mens group designed to increase a sense of brotherhood and connection. His IG is full of funny memes, words of inspiration, and super cute pics of his family.
Follow him on IG: @PrestonSmiles
Susanna Barkataki calls herself an inclusivity promoter and yoga culture advocate. As an Indian and British woman, she has been doing yoga as long as she can remember, and has a distinct perspective on the competitive nature of Yoga in the west. She uses the tools of her culture to decolonize yoga, developing content around honoring the traditions of the lineage to create a more connecting experience. If you're curious about the natural pair of yoga and activism, follow her on IG: @SusannaBarkataki
“When you open yourself to learning more, you open yourself to others, as well."
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