Mindfulness meditation is in vogue. People everywhere are waking up to the benefits of being aware.
I can remember when meditation was considered a fringe activity. Much like writing, I've been meditating, sporadically, since my teens. When word got out at school, I was ridiculed for participating what people saw as a new agey spiritual activity. For a time in eighth grade, people would hold their hands up in Gyan Mudra when I walked by and call me “meditation boy”. What an interesting superhero that would make.
A lot has changed since then. TV personalities and podcasts hosts talk about meditation on a regular basis. The practice has even entered the realm of science and studies are beginning to paint a picture of how regular practice positively impacts one's brain and general health.
However, there are still many misconceptions about meditation. And much like diet and exercise trends, there are some who spread false information and sell snake oil.
Guided meditation is a great way to learn how to meditate correctly. Proper technique will significantly increase the benefits and pleasure one can find in meditation. Think of it as a form of exercise for the mind. And like physical exercise, there's no doubt that learning proper technique is valuable in every respect.
Recently, I decided to incorporate meditation my daily routine. As a regular listener of Sam Harris' podcast, I was drawn to try his new meditation app, Waking Up. If you've struggled with turning meditation into a habit, I strongly recommend this app. Of all the guided meditation courses I've tried, his is the best in my view.
I also recommend doing the course with a friend. Having someone with whom you can talk about your progress and who keeps you in check is a great way to achieve any goal. My sister is also using the app to learn to meditate. And even though she lives on another continent, we frequently text or talk about our progress and what we are learning.
In one of his early sessions, Sam says the following.
The goal of meditation is to learn what it's like when you're no longer perpetually identifying with the contents of your thoughts.
I believe this is one of the clearest explanations for why someone would want to learn how to meditate. And as someone who is perpetually identifying with the contents of his thoughts, it's incredibly appealing.
I hope to write more about meditation and my progress with the course in the near future.