The benefits of meditation keep rolling in. The latest findings from researchers at UCLA claim that meditation keeps your brain young. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging shows that large parts of the gray matter in the brains of those who meditated seemed to be better preserved. Which is nice.
Still, resistance is strong among many, if not most. And the large part of it seems finding the rationale, much less the time, to just sit there (without the television on).
Trust me, I get it. And yet, I’ve managed to do sitting meditation for 30 and 40 minutes at a time. What happens is once you settle your mind, your relationship with time shifts. You end up not believing that you sat there for that long, because your experience of time is not what you expected it to be.
But, just sitting down in the first place is still a challenge. Every fiber of our being says don’t do it, at least at first. The philosopher and spiritual teacher Osho felt strongly that mandating sitting meditation on the modern person was criminally ineffective, so he advocated active, or dynamic meditation practices.
You don’t have to go all Osho to figure out how to practice an active form of meditation. Here are three effective techniques you might want to give a shot.
1. Walking Meditation: Walking is just plain good on its own, but if you’re like me, your mind goes completely somewhere else in the process. Walking meditation is the opposite of that — you instead focus on the experience of walking itself.
Your eyes are open, and awareness of your surroundings is obviously important. But you focus attention as each foot comes in contact with the ground, acutely aware of each step. Variations including doing a “body scan” that draws attention to every sensation you’re experiencing as you walk. It’s helpful to use an audio guide when you first start out.
2. Mandala Coloring: Ever seen a kid with a box of crayons and a coloring book go right into the zone? That’s because coloring qualifies as a meditative practice, in that it intensely focuses attention.
Mandala means circle in Sanskrit, and the intricate patterns they contain intensify focus even more. Coloring a mandala using colored pencils, markers, or crayons creates a deep sense of calm and well-being. Seriously, try it … there are tons of free printable mandela images online.
3. T’ai Chi Ch’uan (Tai Chi): Be careful about stereotyping tai chi as something old people do in the park. It’s a true martial art, and a practitioner can seriously mess someone up if the need for self defense arises.
But it’s also a form of meditation in motion (and great exercise). By focusing attention intensely on performing each of the forms, practicing tai chi may well be the most beneficial personal development activity you can do.
So, I haven’t tried tai chi yet, but I’m seriously considering taking it up. I’ve done both walking meditation and mandala coloring, and the winner (for me) is … mandala coloring. It’s so soothing and enjoyable.
Of course, if you had told me 6 months ago that I would own a mandala coloring book and some pricy colored pencils, I’d have laughed at you. Here’s to trying new things and going further.
Saving you the click: Blueberries, yogurt, chocolate, bananas, beetroot juice. 5 Delicious Ways to Naturally Reduce Your Blood Pressure (go ahead and click to know why).
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” We think of habits as bad, but that’s only true when they are. Here are 5 lessons about forming healthy habits.
Last week we talked about the benefits of restricting caloric consumption to a certain window of time each day. A new study reveals that eating past 8:00 p.m. pretty much makes you fatter.
When you’ve got serious work to get done, it might help if you unplug from all our wonderful digital tools and go analog. And if you’re looking for a creative breakthrough, get your phone as far away from you as possible.
Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow. But you have more capacity for leadership than you might think, and that can significantly change your level of wealth acquisition. You Don’t Have to Be a CEO to Develop Leadership Qualities.
Do you get stressed about money? I mean about the very concept of money? It’s a real thing, and it can definitely impact how much of the green stuff you attract. And while having money can turn into a full-time job, I doubt these folks will be resigning anytime soon: 21 Habits of Highly Successful Billionaires Like Warren Buffett and Mark Cuban.
If you’re still not clear on the brain benefits of meditation, here’s a nice summary: 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain. If you need help overcoming some of the common objections to meditation, this is excellent: My Trouble With Mindfulness.
Virtual reality has been the “next big thing” for so long that most of us don’t even really think about it. But it’s coming, and it’s not just another way to divorce ourselves from the real world. This great article covers our mental responses to becoming an “avatar” through VR, and how it can help us overcome fears of public speaking, flying on a plane, and more.
A modern parable that speaks the truth: The Girl Who Saw Through the Illusions.
Further is free, and always will be. So if you enjoy it and can spread the word, I would be mucho appreciative!
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