I’m pretty tired at the moment, so this is going to be a short post, mainly a reference to this Mark Morford column about meditation.
It looks like Morford, who I used to read regularly in the print version of the San Francisco Chronicle, found references to experiments similar to the ones I covered in 2006, where people who meditate show measurable differences in brain activity to those who don’t—positive differences.
Morford considers this a “no shit, Sherlock” discovery, and says so at length. There are some good lines in the column, such as:
Real men live in some neurotic/psychotic state of need and regret and wishful thinking, all undercut with a constant shiver of never-ending dread.
This is immediately followed by a sucker-punch followup that I still found amusing:
Isn’t that right, Mr. President?
The point of Morford’s column is pretty clear: this stuff is obvious. Meditation helps. Scientific studies confirming this are nice for confirmation, but we knew this already. So get to it, and start meditating.
Sound advice, from what I read/hear. Unfortunately, I’ve always had a great deal of trouble with it, for a simple (if insane) reason: meditation makes me tense, and has since the first time I tried it. (Insert standard internet “you’re doing it wrong” picture here.)
But, yeah, trying to meditate makes me tense. Completely defeating the purpose of it. Which is what’s happened, actually, this obstacle has, thus far, completely defeated my attempts to find relaxation or calm by getting past it. Accepting it has been fine, except that it’s still prevented me from reaping meditative benefits.
The closest I’ve gotten, I think, was an extended period where I did a breathing exercise every morning, a simple one, sixty deep breaths while sitting still. I did that for a while, found it difficult, but stuck with it. Eventually some other disruption to my morning routine eliminated it, but that’s what I’ll probably go back to for starters. I’d like to slowly work my way up to about thirty minutes of meditation per day (I think that’s around the point where you can see real benefit), but that’s a long way off, and right now, I’d take a minute or two.
The rest of you, though, are unlikely to share my weird tension-reaction to meditation, and thus you should all take Morford’s advice to heart and try it out, since it’s more or less guaranteed to make you happier. How many things (that you can actually control) can you say that about?