May 2021 TDM
The Simplicity Issue
Welcome to the May 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).
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[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
How to Avoid the Stress of Back-to-Back Meetings
Zoom Meeting? Pants are optional—meditation not so much! According to new research from Microsoft, breaks are definitely key to your sanity. Using an EEG to study participants’ brain activity, researchers showed that non-stop meetings caused major cumulative stress buildup. Three important takeaways:
Lack of breaks results in inability to focus or engage, and brainwaves don’t lie—you’re distracted!
The transition between meetings (not always the meetings themselves) is a source of extreme stress. Meditating in between showed measurable stress reduction.
Breaks allow the brain to reset, so no emails or phone calls! Give yourself space to breathe.
Bottom line: Pandemic or not, video meetings are here to stay, and we’re happy that researchers are (finally) acknowledging a need for more self-care around meetings.
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
Does Meditation Make You More Selfish?
Yes and no. Fascinating new findings from the journal Psychological Science suggest that mindfulness may decrease prosocial behavior in people who view themselves as more independent.
Meditation is traditionally thought to increase prosocial behaviors: that is, acting on behalf of others. But two new studies support the idea that, if you’re more “independent” (which is often the case in Western societies), mindfulness practices can magnify those tendencies. And if you see yourself as “interdependent” (in terms of relationships with others), practicing mindfulness can increase those feelings of community connection.
Bottom line: Instead of making you selfish, meditation will help to bring out your best self when it comes to engaging with those around you.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNOLOGY ]
A New Meditation App with Less Complexity
Just Breathe. Simple. In a sea of meditation apps, author and meditation teacher Michael James Wong has just added another app called Just Breathe, and we think it’s definitely worth a looksie.
In an interview with website Welltodo, Wong outlines what makes Just Breathe different:
Daily practices - routines to support wellbeing, guided by experts.
Musical collaborations - curated playlists from international musicians.
Simplicity - more guidance, less complexity.
Bottom line: What we love about Just Breathe: it wants to help you create a lifestyle change, not just a habit.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNIQUE ]
Yoga, Meditation, and Breakdancing Walk Into a Bar…
Joe Exotic meets meditation? Frustrated with the fitness industry’s focus on strength, personal trainer Mike Fitch wanted to improve the connection, communication, and function of the “human animal.” So he created a ground-based, bodyweight movement system called Animal Flow.
Its flowing, primal movements resemble a mix of yoga and breakdancing. And it’s great for promoting stability, coordination, and body awareness. The technique, which became Insta-famous in 2020, was easy to adopt during lockdowns, keeping quarantiners fit without the need for equipment. We’re into it, and…
Bottom line: While Animal Flow shouldn’t replace seated meditation, a little “moving meditation” never hurt nobody.
[ MEDITATION & LIFESTYLE ]
The Benefits of Mindful Skincare
Deep focus while deep pore cleansing? Learning to combine skincare and mindfulness is just what the doctor ordered to grab that extra moment of calm at the end of a long, hectic day. Kids screaming? Wet dog on the couch? Toilet leaking? Take that last moment before bed to help clean the slate.
You don’t need to change your products or the steps you take, just do them deliberately and focus on the sensory experience. Smell the fragrance, feel the texture and temperature, feel the pressure. The great thing is that it can be as quick as you need it to be, while still gaining the benefits of meditation.
Bottom line: Use all of your senses when looking after your skin, and your frazzled nerves will thank you!
[ MEDITATION & BUSINESS ]
The New Secret to Success: Mindful Leadership
When it comes to leading, presence is your greatest asset. So says mindfulness icon and MIT Ph.D. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn is an internationally acclaimed author and has been a leading authority on the benefits of mindfulness meditation for over 50 years. Forbes caught up with him for some tips on becoming a more mindful leader. Here are the highlights on how to shift off autopilot and integrate mindfulness into your life (and work):
Learn to let go and listen - Don’t try to problem-solve your thoughts during practice.
Get curious - Curiosity keeps the mind flexible.
Do the hard work - Befriend what you most want to run away from.
Bottom line: Turns out, a meditation a day keeps the stockholders at bay.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
A Note on Grief
By Channing Press (of Piece of Peace Meditation)
I like to think about wellness as a set of tools for life. Most of us start out by getting a hammer. Immediately, you begin to notice all that you can build with this new hammer. You build bird houses, hang pictures. Possibilities are endless. A few years later, your partner has an eye for some home improvements. You need an entire tool box. Fast forward, now you want to join the farm-to-table movement. You convert the garage into a workshop, level-up your tools and build a greenhouse. You are confident that your skills can handle any carpentry problem that comes up.
The thing about grief is that it often hits us before we even have a hammer, and yet we are expected to immediately build a greenhouse. When loss occurs suddenly, and we have no tools in the box and no experience building, it can be devastating. With no foundation, not even an empty toolbox, grief can quickly become overwhelming. Even on the best of days, developing coping skills takes time.
If you started a meditation practice right after the loss of something big in your life, you're on your way to building your skills and tools. You have a hammer. Give yourself time and eventually, you will have a structure in place to shelter you and your plants from the harsh environment. Just don’t be surprised if you need to start a tab at Home Depot.
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Read: Clarity and Connection
In Clarity and Connection, Yung Pueblo uses poetry and short prose to tell a story about how the past impacts the present. The book describes how intense emotions accumulate in our subconscious and condition us to act and react in certain ways. This recent New York Times Bestseller is a must-read for those who are invested in their own personal transformation, building self-awareness, and deepening their connection with others. Read more
Watch: Wisdom 2.0
Wisdom 2.0 is a global community that focuses on staying connected through technology in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being. Through their series of conferences, meet-ups, and workshops, Wisdom 2.0 strives to bring this conversation to the world in an accessible, innovative, and inclusive way. This video series features meditation experts like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Andy Puddicombe, Sharon Salzberg, and many more. Check it out here.
Listen: The Astral Hustle
Host Corey Allen invites leading experts in mindfulness, neuroscience, and philosophy to share their thoughts and ideas on his podcast, The Astral Hustle. Allen, author, meditation teacher, and audio engineer, endeavors to help people understand themselves better. His goal is to use his platform to help listeners live better, with less suffering, and more awareness. Tune in here.
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
Meditation has been the gift of everything and nothing all at the same time.
What have you gotten from Meditation? For me, meditation has been the gift of everything and nothing all at the same time. It has taught me how to slow down and need less in my life, and has gifted me the tools to appreciate stillness and quieter moments. Through the practice I’ve found a deeper purpose to my life and work, and I’m forever grateful to have found this way of living.
Strangest meditation moment? Less of a moment and more of a place, lately I find deep satisfaction in meditating in the bathroom sitting in an empty bathtub. For some reason or another, it feels calming and inviting, like my quiet little sacred corner.
Most unexpected benefit? Meditation has given me a community and a family. I don’t think anyone starts a meditation practice thinking they’ll find more friends, but through the practice I have found a deep sense of belonging and a safe space where I really and truly feel a part of a community that is built of people just being themselves.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of Our Favorite Instagram Accounts with a Purpose
Yung Pueblo, (left) also known as Diego Perez, is a meditator, writer, and speaker (and author of our “Read” recommendation, Clarity and Connection. The name “Yung Pueblo” is his pen name, which means young people. The name serves to remind him of his Ecuadorian roots, his experiences in activism, and that the collective of humanity is in the midst of important growth. Diego's practice of Vipassana meditation has given him a deeper understanding of liberation that inspires his work. Through writing and speaking, he aims to support the healing of the individual, knowing that when people release their personal burdens it helps humanity build a global peace.
Gabriella Wright (right) is a mother, an actress, an activist, a speaker, and a meditation teacher with a long-standing humanitarian engagement, including her non-profit initiative Never Alone, which offers resources for mental health. Her work revolves around the importance of reducing stress, and relieving trauma through meditation, science, yoga and films. She has been a long-life student of Tibetan Buddhism and Vedanta and shares her meditation practice with parolees in the greater Los Angeles area, facilitated by the Amity Foundation.
Let us learn to live simply, so that others may simply live.
— Mahatma Gandhi
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