Discover more from The Daily Meditator
October 2020 TDM
The "Men's" Issue
Welcome to the October 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, Stephanie Johnson, and Light (our bios are 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 “men’s” issue: We didn’t start out making this issue about men, but we noticed (after the fact) that most of the images were of men or depicting masculine things, and we figured, hey, we need a theme, so why not called it the men’s issue. That’s how arbitrary these things can sometimes be. But we doubt that people even read this closely, so if you are reading this, just know that we’re here for YOU and thanks for the support :)
[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
Looks like “mind over matter” is no longer science fiction
What if meditation can help you move things more efficiently with your mind? We just learned about something called a brain computer interface (BCI), which is specialized equipment that lets a person control a machine or computer with just their thoughts. So, apparently that's a thing now!
But not only is it a thing, it's something that can be made better by (drumroll please...) meditation! In a recent study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, participants were tasked with moving a cursor on a screen using signals sent from their brain via EEG electrodes.
To help them focus on the movement in their mind, half of the group was given lessons in mindfulness. After only 8 sessions the meditation group was way more proficient at mentally controlling the cursor. Pretty cool, huh?
Bottom Line: We hope you’re not surprised to hear that meditation makes mind control better—because it kinda makes everything better. Just sayin’.
A kinder, gentler boot camp?
Naps, meditation, and warm baths? Nope, not a yoga retreat! It’s the new and improved self-caring US Armed Forces! Their new field manual for Holistic Health and Fitness is a revelation, illustrating progressive thinking in the fact that American soldiers are now being trained to meditate to relieve stress and promote healthy sleep habits. The Navy Seals have even become gender-neutral, dropping the term “brotherhood” from their creed.
The manual references recent findings in neuroscience, like the fact that mind-body practices can have measurable biochemical effects on body chemistry. Not to mention the chapter on “spiritual readiness” and endorsing the keto diet. They’ve incorporated cutting edge science with spiritual best practices to create a truly effective, holistic health regimen.
Bottom Line: Give yourselves a pat on the back for being ahead of the curve holistic health practitioners, because meditation and mindfulness practice is considered by the Army to be “essential to mission success.”
[ MEDITATION & LIFESTYLE ]
Don’t let your body become a “trap house” for your feelings
Are you falling into the trap of holding in negative feelings? According to the mindfulness experts at the Houston Chronicle, a common misconception about living in the moment and practicing mindfulness is that you should adjust any distressful feelings as you become aware of them, and try to see the bright side.
It’s called “spiritual bypassing,” and can actually be damaging in the long run. Their advice: if you recognize an emotion—anger for example—don’t simply avoid or suppress it just because it’s not a good look for a wellness warrior such as yourself. And try not to judge yourself for it either.
It happens to the best of us. Instead of holding it in, let yourself feel it. Embrace it even, as a growth opportunity. Then decide on the best way to move forward. As they say, relax, relate, release.
Bottom line: Don’t resist the big sads and the big mads! We need to feel our feelings honestly in order to learn from them and make peace.
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
Don't forget to boost your short term memory
Can’t remember where you left your keys? Meditate on it. A recent study reports that our meditation does wonders for our memory. Researchers focused on a facial recognition task that participants completed before hearing an 8-minute audio recording and again afterwards. Those who listened to a mindfulness meditation session showed increases in short term memory performance over those who listened to other recordings, like the beginning of The Hobbit, or just did their own thing. Better luck next time Tolkien! Thenew study provides evidence that a single, 8-minute mindfulness meditation exercise can improve visual short-term memory.
Bottom line: We wonder if meditating means we no longer have to use calendar invites? Nah, let’s not go that far.
[ MEDITATION & POP CULTURE ]
Jewel, Kendrick Lamar, and Oprah walk into an ashram...
The list of celebs who love to meditate continues to grow. Real Simple recently put together a slideshow of interviews with a variety of personalities, from Olympic gold-winning wrestler Jordan Burroughs to the Duchess of Cambridge, talking about their experiences with daily meditation. These A-listers share favorite quotes, tips, and how they infuse the spiritual into their lives. For chef Melissa King, it’s through food. For Serena Williams, it’s focusing on only what is right in front of her on the court. Across the board, it appears that mindfulness is a major factor in finding success.
Bottom line: Who knew! It turns out that celebrities put their yoga pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNOLOGY ]
Is Vanderbilt’s Headspace Challenge changing the way colleges do mindfulness?
While Calm has been racking up the celeb points, Headspace is busy permeating the university scene.
Since October 5th, students at Vanderbilt University have been competing against one another to see who has racked up the most meditation minutes in the Headspace app.
The university will also announce which undergrad class assembled up the most minutes overall. Free for students, the challenge was created to help support mental health and well-being on campus.
Bottom line: Although the competition ends on the 30th, we hope that students are walking away with long lasting benefits and maybe a new meditation habit.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNIQUE ]
5 Mindfulness Breathing Exercises You Can Do Anywhere, Anytime
If you’re just using your breath as a means to stay alive, apparently, you aren’t multitasking hard enough. Jamie Price, the founder of the innovative MyLife meditation app details five ways to use breathing as an anchor to the present moment. “The breath is such a great anchor because it’s with you and happening naturally all the time,” Price explains.
Try these five techniques for instant zen on the go, and check out this article for more detail about each one:
1. Mindful Breathing
2. Counting Breaths
3. Deep Breathing
4. 2-4 Breathing
5. Energizing Breaths
Bottom Line: Breathing exercises can be calming or energizing depending on the technique you use, and the best part is you can’t misplace your gear.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
Your happiness starter pack
A reminder about what true happiness look like. In the last month, this video featuring @doggface208 skating down the highway while drinking cranberry juice and lip synching to Fleetwood Mac garnered more than 10 million views. And no one knows why, except it just makes you feel happy when you see someone who’s so comfortable in their skin. And it reveals a higher truth about life: we each have the power to make a positive difference by embracing whatever it is we’re here to do in this moment, whether it’s raising a family, loving on someone, or skating down the road while drinking cranberry juice and lip synching to Fleetwood Mac.
Bottom line: The idea is not to run out and get a skateboard. It’s to find your version of the skateboard and cranberry juice, and dive into that.
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Read: Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge
Contemplative Science is a book written by Alan Wallace. After spending 14 years as a Buddhist monk (and being ordained by the Dalai Lama), continued his education in Tibetan Buddhism and religious studies. We find it to be a useful introduction to integrate the contemplative methodologies of Buddhism with the academic rigor of Western science into a single discipline: contemplative science. Read more
Watch: My Octopus Teacher
Anyone with a Netflix account should absolutely hop on tonight and watch My Octopus Teacher. The documentary follows a man named Craig Foster as he spends a year diving underwater daily in a bay off the coast of South Africa. His frequent visits gain the trust of an octopus, and he quickly begins to learn much more about this creature and the environment than he thought was possible. Watch now
Listen: 'Feel Better, Live More' podcast by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
Feel Better, Live more is a podcast by Dr. Chatterjee, created to inspire people to become the architect of their own health. Although it’s only been around for just under 3 years, it is the #1 Health podcast in the UK and Europe. Recent guests include Wim Hof, Jay Shetty, and Esther Perel. Listen now
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
“I never expected to find myself craving meditation”
What have you gotten from meditation? Meditation has gifted me the opportunity to go within and feel completely limitless in the moment.
Strangest meditation moment? My strangest meditation moment was when I re-lived a near death experience as if it was in real time. Freaky AF!
Most unexpected benefit of meditation? I never expected to find myself craving meditation just like food or going to the gym. It's like I can hear it calling me in the distance.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of our favorite Instagram accounts with a purpose
Nathan Apodaca (aka @doggface208) is the gentleman whose skating video went viral (above). Turns out, he’s been lip synching for a long time and that day on the skateboard with his cranberry juice was just another day on the ‘gram. But going through his feed and seeing the rest of his videos makes us happy and remember what’s important in life, which is being 100% unapologetically you. We highly recommend following him. See Nathan’s profile
As we say, meditators come in all shapes and sizes. Brandon Carter (aka @kingketo) has been obsessed with meditation over the past couple of years and posts about it regularly (thanks to his guru extraordinaire Emily Fletcher). He’s also got a great story of taking control of his life and becoming quite a success in the fitness field. Don’t let the guns fool you (pun intended). Kingketo is walking an enlightened path. See Brandon’s profile
“ There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.”
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