The 21st Century Meditating Monk
Meditation is only for those monks over in Tibet, right?! Or the granola, “take a shower once a week” set, but definitely not for us 9-5ers. Those in the working world who have real world responsibilities like a job, bills to pay, and kids to take from soccer to dance to [insert activity here] don’t have the time or a need for all that woo woo stuff…right? But what if there were “real world” benefits that would help us all create happier, healthier lives that are sustainable? Would that change our minds on the ancient practice?
To that point, myriad scientific studies have come to the surface recently regarding how simple meditation, or “mindfulness practices” can assist us in becoming more productive 9-5ers and happier humans overall. Some of the benefits described by these professional, very well educated individuals, are:
Increased Immune System Health
Those listed above are only a few of the real world benefits of meditation, and others can be found at the very desk-jockey friendly site Huffington Post and others (links below)
Of course, meditation also has a new age, spiritual, or woo woo connotation (terms are interchangeable, don’t freak out), which at times overshadow the scientific aspects of meditation. For eons, ancient peoples from Sumeria to Egypt to Tibet have all espoused how meditation can lead to a better connection with a higher power (God, Spirit, Source, “the Force,” etc.) and an increased feeling of self-love and acceptance. We can all picture the peaceful Buddhist monks, meditating throughout the ages. The fact that what these peoples have indicated to be the benefits of meditation are now beginning to be supported by the aforementioned scientific studies, can lead one to connect the dots and come to the conclusion there’s more here than meets the eye; science and spirituality are starting to become two sides to the same coin, instead of different currencies altogether.
“Wow, thanks for the combined science and history review, but how does this add to my life before my hectic morning commute?” I’m so glad you asked! What I’ve found helpful is adding meditation into my morning routine, which only takes about 5-10 minutes. Yes, most articles / recommendations / people will suggest 20-30 minutes, or hours on end, but one can still realize the benefits of meditation with short periods each day, and can eventually work their way up to longer durations if they so choose. And I’m not the only one – Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek and overall master “life-hacker” also meditates every morning and through his extensive podcast interviews, has found that many many many successful CEO’s, investors, entertainers, and other masters of the universe ALL have a mindfulness practice in common.
Lastly, try it out! Beginning a meditation practice will take exactly that…practice (but then again, what doesn’t?). However, I’ve found it’s wholly worth it – after meditating daily for the last 2.5 years I have become more productive at work (while less stressed), the normal annoyances of life have become easier to manage, and my thoughts and emotions are more under my control. I hope you too can experience the same <3