May 2020 TDM
The Anniversary issue
Welcome to the ONE-YEAR anniversary 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 anniversary issue: We started The Daily Meditator in May 2019 and committed to sending out a year of monthly meditation news. And here we are 13 issues later, still going strong. In this issue, you'll find news about what the Christians are up to in the meditation space, “real simple” alternatives to meditation, reports about the downsides of mindfulness, stuff to laugh about, and much more! Take a look and let us know what you think.
[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
Guess who’s entering into the meditation app market
Calm for Christians? One common misconception about meditation amongst Christians is that the practice doesn’t align with their spiritual beliefs. But now, apps like Pray, One Minute Paused, and Hallow are joining secular apps like Headspace and Calm in the growing meditation app market.
One Minute Paused suggests that mindfulness is focusing one’s attention on God, and bills it as “an ancient Christian practice.” As global anxieties ramp up and isolation increases, these booming apps allow people to stay engaged with their faith through guided scripture.
Meanwhile, some Buddhists are criticizing the app craze, claiming Christians have co-opted the term "mindfulness" in order to stay relevant. Evangelicals are also raising eyebrows at what they claim is a “new age” practice (that dates to at least 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, but who's counting?)
Bottom line: We're still pretty convinced that you don't need an app to meditate, but it's still nice to feel connected to others.
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
Wait, mindfulness has a downside??
Says who? Well, according to Psychology today, recent research shows that awareness without acceptance can have its detriments.
While the media almost exclusively portrays meditation as only having irrefutable positive effects, there is a flip side to everything—and this is one of the reasons why we advocate for learning meditation with a teacher.
Because with the rapid rise of mindfulness in popular culture, the DIY approach to meditation can leave people experiencing emotional releases that could feel like the practice has gone off the rails.
While some research suggests that mindfulness could be a bad thing for people who aren't equipped to handle these unpredictable emotions that may arise, the overall benefits are still positive.
We suggest finding a mentor or teacher who can support you through practicing safely. Because even the so-called “negative” symptoms come down to knowledge and managing expectations.
Bottom line: If you have knowledge and fewer expectations about your meditation practice, there won't be anything to manage!
[ MEDITATION & TECHNOLOGY ]
At first it was toilet paper, then it was hair clippers. Now it’s this...
Take a look at what’s currently trending in Google searches. According to Google, the majority of our searches right now are falling into two categories: inquiries into coronavirus specifics, and emotional support.
Pandemic searches include questions about vaccines, protection, and identifying symptoms—while the majority of the searches include “loneliness,” “having trouble sleeping,” and “depression.” Meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga seem to be booming in response.
Another spike in searches relate to DIY projects and how-to’s: “how do I cut my own hair,” “how do I bake bread,” and even “how to make coffee?” Meditative activities like jigsaw puzzles, coloring books, and handicrafts are also on the rise.
Bottom line: To Google, or not to Google, that is a silly question, because of course you’re going to Google. A lot.
[ MEDITATION & POP CULTURE ]
It’s official: Everyone and their mother is now a meditation guide
Need a little Smoove relaxation to end your day? Fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm tune in to watch series regular J.B. Smoove lead us through some relaxation exercises—or at least some giggles—as he channels his popular character, Leon Black. While that clip was posted back in January, it's perfectly timed to add a little irreverent humor to our day.
Smoove opens with a straightforward "you all f@#$ed up, clear your mind" and it just gets sillier from there. This one might be for after the kids go to bed, but if you’re in the mood for 3 minutes of tongue-in-cheek self-care, look no further.
Bottom line: We didn’t realize that breathing in and out through our butts was possible, but maybe we just needed to expand our minds with Mr. Smoove.
[ MEDITATION & KIDS ]
Check out these new guided meditations for kids
Is homeschooling breaking you and your tiny humans? New online meditations from Sesame Street and Thor just might be the thing.
Even the most avid meditators who have kids are losing their Zen over homeschooling (us included), and the children are losing their minds too. The ridiculously complicated projects, the unending zoom class meetings, not to mention trying to get your students to take you seriously as a teacher when you can’t even figure out 2nd grade math—it’s enough to make you want to declare “snow days” for the rest of the year.
If your little one is struggling with the difficulty of this hodgepodge of a learning experience, there are some new online mindfulness resources just for them:
For the toddler through young elementary age group, the OG of kids programming, Sesame Street in partnership with Headspace, has launched a new set of mindfulness videos for children. Called “Monster Meditation,” the series includes your preschooler’s favorite characters like Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Grover as they experience feelings such as frustration, impatience, and disappointment and then learn ways to manage either emotions.
If Sesame Street isn’t their thing, Thor, yes Thor, is now getting on the guided meditation band wagon. Chris Hemsworth’s online fitness app, Centr, has a new series of meditations and sleep visualizations for kids. The series was developed by psychologists and meditation teachers to help keep kids’ stress levels low and get a good night’s sleep. It’s designed for ages 4-9, but anyone can enjoy the soothing voice of the Marvel star.
Bottom line: If the stress of homeschooling drives an entire generation of kids to meditation, then maybe it was worth the weeks of bumbling through it all?
[ MEDITATION & LIFESTYLE ]
The next best thing to meditating, according to Real Simple Mag
No time to meditate? No problem, you can just clean your house. According to Real Simple Magazine, we shouldn’t be sweeping just to sweep, or dusting just to dust—not when we can treat it like... a meditation.
The missing component: mindfulness. The magazine suggests bringing a sense of awareness into your daily chores like washing dishes and cleaning out the bathtub and, viola, you‘ve transformed an otherwise mundane task into your daily meditation practice.
While it sounds like a stretch, they’re actually not too far off the mark. There are ancient meditation techniques known as Seva, where proponents of meditation engage in service-based activities such as sweeping and mopping as a meditative practice.
So the next time you’re mopping the kitchen floor, remember that you’re not just cleaning the kitchen floor, you’re also checking the “meditation“ box.
Bottom line: If mopping the floor or raking the leaves doesn’t completely take the edge off, you may still want to sit in meditation—just in case.
[ MEDITATION & COVID ]
Calling all medics—come and get your meditation mantra!
Longtime celebrity meditator David Lynch is gifting TM to healthcare workers fighting Covid-19. Lynch wants to give out mantras along with masks.
Through his Heal the Healers Now campaign the David Lynch Foundation is providing free transcendental meditation training to medics coping with the stress and burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic. They are conducting a mixture of social-distancing sessions with Zoom follow-ups.
As Lynch states, “The doctors and nurses are on the front line…they are under a lot of stress and some of them, when the war is over, they will be like soldiers coming back from war.”
Bottom Line: We love seeing helpers helping helpers. Kudos to the DLF!
[ REALITY CHECK ]
We recommend chasing your meditation with this practice...
As a wellness practice, laughter is the perfect chaser to meditation. It can help to relieve the nervous system of stress, strengthen the immune response, increase endorphins, lower blood pressure, and provide a whole bunch of other benefits to the endocrine system and organs.
The best part? Your body doesn't know when you're fake laughing or real laughing. And because laughter is so contagious, you can trick yourself into laughing for real. Try it - the next time you come out of meditation, start by smiling before you even open your eyes.
If you're having trouble finding a smile these days, try check out these sill videos, submitted by the Daily Meditator editorial team:
Laughing babies are always hilarious
It turns out, serious babies are also hilarious
See what it’s like to be chased by a dinosaur
The best of Reddit, if you've got a little time to scroll
Bottom line: We still think laughter is the best medicine (for loneliness, anyway).
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Read: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
Garrain Jones shares his own powerful story of transformation as he changed his life by changing his mindset. His inspirational tale empowers you to be more aware of your current state and leads you on a path forward to intrinsic health, happiness, and abundance. The change you want to see in the world starts right with you. Change Your Mind, Change Your Life is a heart-centered book to help you on your own journey. Read now
Watch: The Midnight Gospel
Actor, comedian, and podcaster Duncan Trussell teamed up with Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward to create this bizarre experiment in media. Audio clips from Trussell's philosophical podcast "The Family Hour" are set to mind-bending visuals that rarely make sense with the dialogue. This surreal series is definitely not for everyone, but it's certainly something. Watch now on Netflix
Listen: Audible's Guided Meditations series
If nighttime guided meditations are your thing, Audible Sleep has an original collection of audio tracks to help lull you into relaxation. There are guided meditations by Nick Jonas (weird?), Diddy (maybe weirder), friend of TDM Jesse Israel, and many more. You can download them for free with your Amazon account. Audible Sleep
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
What have you gotten from meditation? The ability to leap into the unknown and trust that the safety net will appear - which literally translated to me cutting all my hair off and leaving a corporate job with no idea what I was going to do. Within less than a year, I co-founded a Diversity & Inclusion consultancy that is now making a huge impact out in the world. I stepped fully into being a healer and a writer. I can be with all types of perspectives, opinions, and personalities and truly enjoy/learn from them. Debilitating anxiety and depression is a distant memory. Digestion is running like a clean, well-oiled machine. I laugh a lot more, my skin is clear and poppin, what is insomnia even? ...and I’ve never felt more connected to the true, authentic version of myself.
Strangest meditation moment? Meditating after taking magic mushrooms... enough said.
Most unexpected benefit of meditation? My intuition is truly next-level: everything from knowing the words someone is about to say before they say it, to running into people on the street that I just thought of—and on a weekly basis, I will think of someone in my mind then look down at my phone and they will have texted me.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of our favorite wellness accounts for your home routine
Garrain is a formerly homeless author, serial entrepreneur, and transformation coach who is using his story to impact the lives of healers around the world. Previously signed to Def Jam records, and the face of Herbalife, he's no stranger to spreading his message. Now he uses the tools of health and wellness to encourage others to be their best selves. Find him on IG @garrain.jones
You may have heard about Elizabeth Gilbert via her internationally best selling memoir turned blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love—but there is so much more! We highly recommend checking out Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear for anyone looking to live a more creatively fulfilling life. Follow her on IG @elizabeth_gilbert_writer
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."
Interested in receiving this monthly newsletter?
If so, just click the green button below.