September 2021 TDM
The Silence Issue
Welcome to the September 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 ]
A “Quiet Time” Lawsuit Is Making A Lot Of Noise In Chicago
Shut up and meditate!? The Chicago school system ended their “Quiet Time” program in 2019 after Christian students and parents complained at a school board meeting about the ceremonies and mantras that came with learning what was essentially Transcendental Meditation.
According to the Washington Times, one of the students is seeking compensatory and punitive damages over being “forced” to go through a TM initiation ritual and meditation sessions that allegedly left him feeling “disoriented.” The plaintiff is also seeking to make this a class-action suit, which may lead to many more challenges of the program.
The irony is in 15 years, that student will be paying some TM teacher $1000 to learn the same meditation technique they tried to teach him for free when he was in school. There’s something about being in the real world that makes you gain an appreciation for anything that helps to effectively mitigate the stress of everyday life.
Bottom line: Should we add meditation to the growing list of lightning rod political issues, along with masks and vaccines?
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
In Brief Doses, Meditation Is Shown To Chill You Out After Watching News About COVID
Yes, somebody actually studied this: what happens when you meditate after seeing something about COVID on the news? While research has shown a connection between meditation an increased mental health for decades, until recently, it was unclear (to researchers) whether or not those same effects would apply after prolonged quarantine and related COVID-19 stressors.
But one study found that 10 days of meditation can indeed provide a measurable buffer for your mental health against the negative impact of COVID-19 news consumption. The individuals who were consistent in their daily practice reported a happier mood compared to those who did not, especially when exposed to COVID-19-related news. An even more effective technique may be to turn off the news. Apparently, that does wonders for your mental health as well.
Bottom Line: Since COVID isn’t going away anytime soon, it looks like we’re in it for the long haul with meditation as well :)
Curious about what you’re here on Earth to do? If your answer is yes—Light Watkins’s Finding Your Purpose masterclass in his Happiness Insiders community is now open for enrollment. Light Watkins has been helping people find their purpose through meditation and other inner practices for over 15 years, and he looks forward to helping you identify your purpose so you can start living a fuller life with intention.
[ MEDITATION & LIFESTYLE ]
Can Meditation Help You Beat Nighttime Heat? The jury is still out…
No AC? No problem… not if you meditate. Everybody knows that it’s impossible to sleep in hot and humid weather. But as turns out, that’s only an issue if you don’t meditate, according to a report in Metro.co.uk.
A Headspace teacher claims that if you find yourself tossing and turning during a hot and humid night, the best thing to do is to break out some of your meditation techniques (such as breathwork, visualization, and the use of ambient noise), and that’ll help you fall back to sleep. It’s definitely an interesting premise, but as far as we’re concerned, the jury is still out on this one.
Bottom line: We’ve used meditation to do a lot of otherwise miraculous things… but helping us beat the heat has not been one of them. So you may want to also get a fan, just in case.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNIQUE ]
Need To Let Out A Good Scream? Well Now There’s A Meditation For That
There’s a time and place for everything… including screaming. And according to Yoga Journal, screaming meditation is now a thing. It’s more formally called Dynamic meditation, and it’s described as a highly-cathartic and energizing style of active meditation, combining sound and movement.
Apparently, the shadowy mystic, Osho (featured in Wild Wild Country), introduced it about 70 years ago, and the practice includes five steps:
Erratic breathing, breaking you out of your habitual way of functioning.
Explosive dancing and making noises—think ecstatic dance meets screaming into your pillow.
Jumping on your heels, while holding your arms overhead and chanting “hoo.”
Stillness and silence. Stop jumping, keep the arms overhead, and stand still.
Celebration. Dealer’s choice! Dance across the room, lay in savasana, or roll around on the floor.
Bottom line: We haven’t tried this 55-minute series, but sounds like it’ll definitely shake up your seated-meditation routine.
[ MEDITATION & POP-CULTURE ]
An Interesting Musical Collab Unites Pop with Kirtan
Looks like Willow is dipping her toe in kirtan. They first connected at a kirtan meetup that Jahvani was leading. The emotional and spiritual depth of the live group chanting was a mesmerizing first impression for Willow Smith (accomplished singer and Will Smith’s daughter) and inspired a collaboration between the two.
Jahvani, the co-founder of Kirtan London, has been around kirtan music since childhood, while Willow has been singing professionally since her 2010 hit single, Whip My Hair.
Their new EP, R I S E, covers themes like life and death, fear, resilience, courage, and explores questions about true identity, reaching one’s potential, and moving toward our deepest goals.
Bottom line: We love watching people switch up their style and try new things. Make sure to check out R I S E on Spotify.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
Could You Please Pass the Silence?
Lately, the sound of silence has provided the most amount of sustenance. I didn’t plan to take a break from music and podcasts (and other media)—it just kinda happened. I did so because I couldn’t ignore the onslaught of symptoms I was dealing with:
Listening to the first 30 seconds of a song before compulsively changing it. Again. And again.
Turning off my car stereo in annoyance… only to forget and turn it back on a couple of minutes later.
Needing to listen to something in the background while cooking a meal.
I realized that I was listening out of habit… I think. Or possibly I was clinging to the mystery and novelty of what might be right around the auditory corner: a new life hack? A fascinating fact? Some social drama? Maybe even a good laugh?
Assimilating all of this takes energy. Listening to other people have conversations about mundane (or even philosophically relevant topics) can be draining. My attention is limited, but here I am spending it on things that don’t reinvest in me.
I realized I was craving a break from all this noise and intellectual stimulation. Since there will always be infinite amounts of information to catch up on, I am now learning a new skill: learning when to step away and hang out with some stillness.
Luckily, silence doesn’t require a long-term commitment. It likes having an open relationship with you. Silence and stillness are here whenever you want them. They are a way for you to get recalibrated back to yourself when other demands have gotten too much of a hold. (And maybe they just have a hold because they’ve become habitual.)
Bottom Line: You don’t always need to be digesting media (even this). When your tech tummy is full, stop feeding it. Break the habits up occasionally with stillness and silence, so you can invest your attention back into you.
[By regular TDM contributor Jordan Pletzer]
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Read: Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance
Yoke is a funny, thoughtful, inspiring, and deeply personal essay about yoga, wellness, and life from author, Jessamyn Stanley. Jessamyn explores her relationship (and ours) to yoga (including why we practice, rather than how); wrestles with issues like cultural appropriation, materialism, and racism; and explores the ways we can all use yoga as a tool for self-love. Read more
Watch: Fantastic Fungi
A documentary directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.
Listen: Umuco Podcast
Hosted by Dydine Umunyana and Alex Anderson, the Umuco Podcast explores different cultures with guests from all walks of life and highlights what makes us all the same: Our humanity. Listen more
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
Meditation has changed my life in every way. I now see life differently, and I’m more centered.
What have you gotten from Meditation? It helped me with my healing journey and grounded me. If I look back at the me before meditation and the me afterwards, it has changed my life in every way. I now see life differently, and I’m more centered.
Strangest meditation moment? Finding out about it. I wasn’t familiar with it at all, and becoming aware of it was very strange, and then participating in the ritual of it has been a culture shock. And I wasn’t sure how beneficial it would be for me down the line. But it has become an integral part of my life.
Most unexpected benefit of meditation? When I’m meditating, and I’m stressed about something, sometimes the solutions come in the simplest way. For example, my fiancé and I have been looking for a place and one morning when I’m meditating, I remembered that a friend told me that her friend was renting her house. And I contacted her and that’s where we live now.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of Our Favorite Instagram Accounts with a Purpose
Sahara Rose (left) is an author, thought leader, podcast host, inspirational speaker, and founder of Rose Gold Goddesses. Sahara is a modern voice for the spirituality movement, and her mission is to help people be their highest selves so they can share their gifts with the world and raise the vibration of the planet. Follow her on Instagram @iamsahararose
Mehcad Brooks (right) is a multi-talented actor, musician, and model. Featuring lead roles in many movies and television shows. Mehcad is most known for his roles in Mortal Kombat (2021), Desperate Housewives, and True Blood. Mehcad is also an anti-racism spiritual activist using his sphere of influence to propel the Black Lives Matter movement forward. Follow him on Instagram @mehcadbrooks
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
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