Why bother with meditation? Aren’t we too busy trying to get stuff done?
“My morning meditation is like taking a shower for my brain.” Emily Fletcher
What do you think meditation is? Maybe a retreat into nature by yourself? That, of course, can be one form – and there are many others. But what value can it have?
Author Orna Ross comments:
“Even if you’ve never formally practiced meditation, you are likely to have experienced the meditative state – perhaps when walking in nature, or during sex…
“Perhaps when relaxing in the bath or when looking into the eyes of a child. Perhaps even in the midst of a busy crowd.
“Moments when the thought traffic that ordinarily stomps through your head ceases and your mind falls into stillness, into mindful being.”
She adds, “Those whose lives are most creative, in most spheres, are those who are courageous enough to bring their conscious awareness to the challenging, miraculous, moment-by-moment art of living.”
From Developing creativity: Orna Ross on meditation. [See link in article to her site and resources.]
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The image at top is from an article by Taylor Kreiss of the UPenn Positive Psychology Center.
He notes that in recent years, “researchers have taken a close look at the effects of meditation on creativity, and the results have been promising… open-monitoring meditation primes our minds for idea generation, which is a crucial part of the creative process according to expert Scott Barry Kaufman…”
From Improve Your Creativity With This Science-Backed Guided Meditation! [includes audio files]
Also hear an edition of The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman: “Tim Ferriss on accelerated learning, peak performance and living the good life” – includes “Tim’s recommendations for getting started with meditation.” – Timothy Ferriss is “a serial entrepreneur, #1 New York Times bestselling author, and angel investor/advisor (Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Uber, and 20+ more).”
video: Meditation technology to help you relax and focus
How can meditation and biofeedback help you? This clip is from a longer video with Ariel Garten, co-founder of the Muse brain-sensing headband.
One review: Livestrong.com writer Jess Barron notes:
“According to the American Psychological Association (APA)’s 2010 Stress in American survey nearly 70 percent of Americans experience physical and mental symptoms of stress, but only 37 percent think they are doing very well at managing stress.
“And then there’s distraction.
“A 2010 Harvard University study found that 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.
“(Wait a second, what was I just typing? I have to update my Facebook status and check my Twitter @replies.)
“The Muse brain-sensing headband — created by 35-year-old psychotherapist and neuroconsultant Ariel Garten and her Toronto-based company called InteraXon, looks a little bit sci-fi cyborg, but it’s well-designed and fairly comfortable to wear.
“Most importantly, it was amazingly effective at helping me to focus and relax quickly and motivate me to use it to relax more often.”
Learn more at the site: Muse: the brain sensing headband.
Raj Koothrappali [Kunal Nayyar]: OK, Sheldon, I’m going to be leading you through a series of meditation exercises. These methods come from the ancient gurus of India and have helped me overcome my own fears.
Sheldon [Jim Parsons]: And yet you can’t speak to women.
Raj Koothrappali: True, but thanks to meditation I’m able to stay in the same room with them without urinating.
[The Big Bang Theory: Season 3, Episode 18 The Pants Alternative (22 Mar. 2010); photo: Kunal Nayyar and Laura Spencer in The Big Bang Theory in a 2007 episode.]
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Many creative people find that some form of meditation can help nurture their creative work and other aspects of their life.
One example: actor Jessica Chastain has commented on preparing for her role in “The Tree of Life”:
“Emotionally and spiritually, I had to figure out what it meant to play the embodiment of grace. And how do I capture that?
“Okay, so I start studying paintings of the Madonna at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I start listening to music that inspires feelings of love inside me, I start reading books about cultivating joy and cultivating gratitude. I start meditating.” [Quote from imdb.com]
There are a number of programs to help you learn about and practice meditation – several are listed on my Personal Growth Information site, in the category: Meditation Programs.
I regularly use brief guided meditations by Irene Langeveld, and also a one-hour Holosync audio program – see more on that below.
Another reason to meditate: A UCLA news story notes:
“Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (‘folding’ of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate.”
A Scientific American article adds:
“Meditation can sharpen attention, strengthen memory and improve other mental abilities. Scientific American editor Ferris Jabr examines the changes in brain structure behind some of these benefits.”
From post: Taking a Closer Look at How Meditation Improves Our Brains by Eric R. Olson, Scientific American.
Video: How Does Meditation Change the Brain?
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Ken Wilber is a writer, philosopher and public speaker, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages.
[Roger Walsh M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy, and Anthropology at UC Irvine’s College of Medicine, declared “Ken Wilber is one of the greatest philosophers of this century and arguably the greatest theoretical psychologist of all time.”]
Wilber explains: “three cycles per second is a brain wave pattern known as delta and delta is the brain wave pattern that the brain gets into with deep dreamless sleep. It’s the same pattern that it gets into in deep formless states of meditation.
“And so using something like binaural beat technology, you can get into deep formless states of meditation in a matter of five or 10 minutes. It will take meditators just working on their own, usually several months to be able to learn how to do that.”
He notes there are “several companies that sell programs including Holosync and iAwake.”
From conversation between Ken Wilber and Vishen Lakhiani in the Consciousness Engineering series by Mindvalley Academy.
[Photo from Facebook page.]
Personal development author and speaker Jack Canfield notes: “I’ve been using Holosync for years now and my meditations have gotten much deeper. I travel with the CDs, I listen to them on a daily basis. And as a result I have more freedom of expression, a greater sense of relaxation and being stress free, and a greater sense of personal power…”
[Also see article The Science Behind Holosync and Other Neurotechnologies using Binaural Beats by Bill Harris, Centerpointe Research Institute.]
[Also see another article with some comments about Holosync: Psychotherapist Sarah Chana Radcliffe on technologies for growth.]
The NeuroCharger 3.0 by iAwake Technologies is available from Amazon.com.
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Mindvalley publishes the audio meditation program Omharmonics based on binaural beats technology, but with enhancements. They offer a free sample audio at the site.
Here is one testimonial:
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Emily Fletcher is also a participant in the Consciousness Engineering program by Mindvalley Academy; her conversation with Vishen Lakhiani is titled Meditation For Better Performance. The website summarizes:
“Emily Fletcher is one of the world’s leading experts in Meditation. She has been invited to teach at Google, Harvard Business School, Summit Series, Viacom, Awesomeness Fest & Relativity Media. Emily…was inspired to share this practice with others after experiencing the profound physical and mental benefits it provided her during her career on Broadway, which included roles in Chicago, The Producers, A Chorus Line and many others.”
In her conversation, Fletcher says, “I do my morning meditation and then it’s like taking a shower for my brain. And I immediately feel ahead of the game and I feel charged and ready for the day. I know it’s cliché because I am a meditation teacher but it is what gets me out of bed in the morning.
“That, and I would say selfishly, I love waking up to emails from my students and clients telling me that, “I wrote this book.” “I stopped drinking.” “I lost ten pounds.” All because they’ve learned this simple stress relieving technique.”
One of the testimonials on her site:
“I used to go through life gripping everything so tightly, I also had terrible stage fright. Since learning Ziva meditation, everything shifted. I rarely have performance anxiety anymore. Even during The Sound of Music performing live for millions of people, I wasn’t nervous.” Laura Benanti, TONY award winner and actor inTV series including “Nashville” and “The Good Wife.”
video: zivaMIND online meditation training
Learn more about the training program at Fletcher’s site:
Ziva Mind – ‘do less. accomplish more’
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Meditation and achievement: Jack Canfield writes in a post:
“Meditation can be a powerful tool for arriving at solutions to problems and shifting your attitude so you can attract success sooner rather than later.
“The magic of meditation is its ability to essentially shut down the outer layer of your judgmental, highly-critical brain and allow your unconscious mind to take over. This is where you enter a deeper state of inner peace and joy, tapping into a higher level of creativity that will help usher in the results you want.
“(If you’re new to meditation or if you’ve struggled when meditating on your own, Awakening Power is a step-by-step guided visualization and meditation program that will provide you with a deeply satisfying experience.)
“Let’s say you’re doing ALL these things, but you still aren’t happy with your results… I’ll ask you then, are you taking real ACTION?”
Have you experienced benefits from meditating?