Do you meditate?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Although I wrote a book review on Beautiful Ruins I forgot to include my favorite quote from the book! (I know, I'm really adept at book reviews. The New York Times called me up about a full-time Book Reviewer position the other day and I was all "Nah, because then who would instagram pictures of my cat?" I know what you're thinking and, no, Stephen doesn't have instagram. It's hard dating such a Neanderthal ;) )

Here's the quote:


In my defense (as you can see), the quote isn't actually from Jess Walter, the author of Beautiful Ruins, but from Milan Kundera who, according to Wikipedia, is the Czech Republic's most recognized living author. Yay! I'm Czech too, so we're probs related. This quote prefaced the final chapter of the book, and it stuck with me long after I put the book down.

Last week, I was watching a TED talk by Andy Puddicombe where he encourages us to mediate for 10 minutes a day, and the quote just came to me.

Here's the video: 

video


Andy argues we don't spend near enough time taking care of our minds, and that we should use meditation as a preventative method (not just when we're beyond stressed.) He says "we're so distracted that we are no longer present in the world in which we live, and we miss out on the things that are most important to us."

"The present moment is so underrated, it sounds so ordinary, and yet we spend so little time in the present moment that it's anything but ordinary." Maybe Andy and Milan should meet up! I'll be there too since, you know, I can't imagine they wouldn't want me there.

I strongly believe mental health matters, and I buy into the concept that if we exercise for our bodies, we should so something for our minds. But is meditation that thing? I've never tried!

The first time I heard of meditation (as something that "normal" people in the Western Hemisphere do) was in high school at a conference for student athletes. Honestly, I was unimpressed with the lady who sat us in a room for 30 minutes and told us we should focus on some random object for 15 minutes a day, just sitting there and doing nothing but thinking of that object. I remember she had a little purple elephant in the room that she forced us to stare at in silence. It's so easy to be unimpressed as a high schooler. If you are speaking as if the world doesn't revolve around me, I'm confused and uninterested. I was thankful to get out of that room.

Years later, I recently heard of the officially-labeled "Mindfulness" movement at work, when a co-worker adamantly recommended this book:

*image
Have you heard of it? As the cover suggests, it's written by a Google employee. I think mediation has the rep of being done exclusively by Buddhist monks or yoga teachers with dreadlocks. But Chade-Meng Tan is actually one of Google's first engineers, who now focuses on training their (obviously top-notch) employees on using mindfulness techniques at work and in their personal lives. 

What do you think? Is this something you would try? Or have tried? If you have tried, I would appreciate any tips. I added it to my 101 in 1001 list to mediate for 10 minutes a day for a month. I'll report back if I haven't fled to a monastery and/or been hired by Google by the month's end.

3 comments:

  1. I quickly realized the irony as I was multitasking with 12 different tabs open while "listening" to the TED talk....clearly I could benefit. Thanks for posting!

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    Replies
    1. hahaha that's so you Christine, but I love it :) (I'm the same way!) I think I'm going to download this guy's app called "headspace" to help me!

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