November 2021 TDM
The Harvest Issue
Welcome to the November 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.
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[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
BLM Protestors Have Adopted A New Tool For Fighting Injustice
From a wave of protests, a meditation movement was born. As reported in teenvogue.com, Brittany Micek, a Black woman who was laid off from her tech job at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, wanted to meditate with some friends at a Brooklyn park to offer a moment of respite and stillness from the string of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
She only expected about 20 friends and friends of friends to show up, but was shocked to have 2,000 people file in. This turned into a weekly event called Meditating for Black Lives, which had the mission of helping to heal the trauma caused by the ongoing protests.
Micek and her small team continue to hold meditation events and donation drives around New York, and she views the practice as a crucial part of fighting for change: “To me, it's a no-brainer. How is meditation not part of the movement? Because some of this stuff is very traumatizing.”
Bottom line: In order to be available to help others, we’ve got to be sure to place the metaphorical oxygen mask on ourselves first.
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
A More Reliable Way To Track The Benefits Of Meditation: Your Hair
Meditation researchers have studied the brain, the breath, the nervous system, and now: hair. The thinking behind this hairy new research: chemicals and hormones can live in the hair for many months, giving researchers a snapshot of how much stress we’ve experienced over a period of time, compared to blood samples, which just show a shorter-term snapshot. The study found that the most significant changes from daily meditation occurred around the six-month mark. And that consisted of a significant reduction in cortisol levels.
Bottom line: Turns out, a bad hair day is more about your stress level and less about your hairstyle.
The Accessing Your Potential Masterclass in The Happiness Insiders community is now open for enrollment. If you’re ready to access your true potential, this course is for you (includes complimentary access to my 7-day Meditation Kickstart video course).
[ MEDITATION & CULTURE ]
A New Wave Of New Mixed-Medium Mindfulness Experiences
Interactive meditation experiences are growing in popularity. We’re now seeing many talented artists blending mindfulness with art, music, and dance. Here are three who are riding this edge and helping us find some post-pandemic peace:
Nicolas Namoradze is a classically-trained pianist, mindfulness teacher, and a current neuropsychology graduate student studying mindful musical performance. He recently did a performance in mindfulness, with live exercises to go along with.
Here. Now. is a two-weekend site-specific dance performance taking place in San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Catch this audience-immersive experience on November 6, 7, 13, and 14.
MindTravel is an experimental music company that combines both live and virtual events. Facilitated by Murray Hidary, an artist and meditation teacher, the compositions seek to transport listeners into deeper states of focus, creativity, inspiration, gratitude, and patience.
Bottom line: Don’t just sit there. Do something artistic.
[ MEDITATION & LIFESTYLE ]
Never Leave Home Without Your Practice—Especially When Going Hiking
Utility knife, check. Tangerines, check. Heat-generating breathing technique, check. What started off for Jolly Bose as a fun Sunday hike in the Sierra National Forest, ended up with her being accidentally getting turned around and separated from her friends. After hiking 10 miles in the opposite direction, she ended up with a dead phone battery, two liters of water, and a smashed tangerine.
According to The Sacramento Bee, the Bay Area native sheltered in place in an abandoned old outhouse for two nights in the snowy forest. And she attributed her meditation and yoga practice with helping her survive.
She apparently utilized the heat-generating power of specific yoga postures and breathing techniques to defend against the frigid weather and think clearly about how to get rescued. And it worked.
Bottom Line: We’ve never heard of meditation being used as a wilderness survival tool. But we’re not surprised either.
Join Light Watkins and spend New Year's Eve learning Vedic Meditation along the sandy beaches of Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. If you’re interested in joining, click here to get info and to reserve your space. It’s going to be an amazing way to bring in 2022.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNOLOGY ]
Experts Call Out Meditation Apps As McMeditation
Using technology to disconnect from technology? The pandemic led to a surge in downloads of the most popular meditation apps. But experts are now questioning the efficacy of meditating exclusively with apps, suggesting that it’s more of a commercialized, watered-down experience, and should not be considered as the real deal.
Many people swear by the use of their favorite meditation apps, spending about 15 minutes to 2 hours a day, at most. And apps have been shown to greatly help their users deal with stress, fear, and imposter syndrome.
But there have been very few clinical trials on the benefits of meditation apps. Experts claim that these apps are designed with business goals in mind and can be dangerous at times because of the way they preach meditation as the cure to all problems.
Bottom line: In our opinion, whatever gets people meditating is a great way to start.
Light Watkins is facilitating a fun meditation challenge, exclusive to The Happiness Insiders community. It includes access to the 7-Day Meditation Kickstart video course, and the $39 entry fee will be credited back to you once you complete all 108 days in a row.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
Simplicity from The Exploring PMDD Series
For a long time, I was commended by many people regularly for managing depression without medication. While it was out of good intentions, when the numerous wellness practices I did weren’t enough, I resisted other treatment because I didn’t want to lose that respect.
Phrases like "Meditation over Medication" and "meditate, not medicate" can create a divided environment. The wellness world continues to promote that good mental and physical wellbeing is purely a lifestyle choice. This can increase the stigma of mental illness and increase feelings of guilt and failure rather than promote acceptance.
Meditation and medication are not mutually exclusive. There isn’t just one thing that works for me. Keeping all possibilities open provides hope and room for exploration of life without judgement.
Meditation is a tool that I use to learn about myself, my mind, and particularly to cultivate self-acceptance each day.
Expecting meditation to be a prescription limited my growth and life for a long time. Thinking of it as medicine I take each morning limits the lessons that the practice could be teaching me.
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Senbazuru is a beautiful and inspiring book by renowned mindfulness and meditation teacher Michael James Wong. Michael shares a personal collection of short stories and teachings, accompanied by traditional hand-painted proverbs and prayers. Together these bring to life gentle wisdoms and universal truths to guide a meaningful way of living. Read more
Watch: Finding Joe
FINDING JOE is the story about Joseph Campbell and The Hero's Journey. While studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told and he called it “The Hero's Journey”. A truly inspirational film, FINDING JOE takes us on the ultimate hero's journey: the journey of self-discovery. Watch now
Listen: The Happiness Lab
The Happiness Lab is a podcast by Dr. Laurie Santos who studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. Based on the psychology course she teaches at Yale, Dr. Laurie will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness. Listen now
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
Meditation has been the spiritual adaptogen that continues to balance me and inspire me.
What have you gotten from Meditation? Meditation has shown up over the last 13 and 1/2 half years that I've been meditating as the spiritual adaptogen that continues to balance me and inspire me. Sometimes it shows up as a way to bring physical healing and balance to my body. Sometimes it shows up as a way for me to reset my mindset or my perception around something in my life. Sometimes it shows up as the access point to my soul, to the whispers of why I am here and how I can embody this existence in a way that will elevate, not just myself, but the world around me.
Strangest meditation moment? My favorite kind of kooky-magical meditation moment was in Rome. I was meditating after taking a tour of the Vatican. And I went inside of St. Peter's and they had an area where you could sit and pray, and it was just sort of roped off, but still very much in the general area, so you could hear people and, and it, by no means was silent. And I sat down after feeling quite moved by staring at the Sistine Chapel for the first time and, and being in this place that had a lot of palpable energy, even though I wasn't raised as a Catholic. And I sat down and started meditating and within 20 seconds, the sound started to get very muffled where I was, and I started to hear a string instrument, a violin maybe subtly, and then louder and louder, playing something, playing a song, playing music and without any swell of emotion, without any intellectual thought, I had tears that started streaming down my face and it lasted for maybe 15 seconds and then the tears stopped and the music faded out. And once again, I was hearing the sounds of tourists walking by and very aware of my surroundings. And I sat and continued meditating for another 10 minutes or so, and then left. One of my favorite meditation moments for sure.
Most unexpected benefit of meditation? Being that I started meditating to manage my stress and my physical symptoms of stress, I had no idea the more spiritual avenues that that practice would take me down. I had no idea that it would change the makeup of how I received and gave love. I had no idea that it would change the way that I perceived the world, that I would go from being pretty cynical and jaded and pessimistic to completely authentically looking for the joy in every moment or leaning into possibility and abundance instead of scarcity. When I first started meditating, I had no idea the impact that it would have on how I perceive and experience my reality, and that has been so much more game-changing than just helping me navigate the stress in my life better.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of Our Favorite Instagram Accounts with a Purpose
Alex Artymiak (left) is a yoga, meditation, and breathwork teacher based in Santa Monica, California. Though he started his yoga journey seeking strength, balance, and flexibility as a way to improve his surfing skills, he soon realized that these abilities reflect a deeper and more powerful shift taking place within. Alex has chosen to dedicate his life to studying yoga and has since taught over 5,000 classes, led retreats around the world, and lectured on yogic philosophy and meditation in teacher trainings. Follow him @nsightyogi
Nina Lombardo (right) is a teacher, mentor, and artist who supports women in embodying their most authentic spiritual and sexual expressions. Through workshops, retreats, and private mentoring, she provides women with somatic-based tools to embody their love and deepen their capacity for intimacy and connection, so they can create the lives and relationships they yearn for. Follow her @wayofdevotion
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
— Brene Brown
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