👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
Just as there are a plethora of meditation practices (Mindfulness, Mantra, Transcendental, Vipassana, etc), there are a wide variety of apps, if that’s your thing, to help you in your practice (Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, Waking Up, etc). It’s never been easier to begin.
Studies have not only shown the mental benefits of consistent meditation practice but it’s also been proven to physically alter the brain. An eight-week mindfulness & stress reduction practice “was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation (source).” Here’s another article about how it positively impacted people with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
Putting the scientific benefits aside, let’s see why philosophers have long valued meditation.
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.
Meditation is just gently coming back again and again to what's right here.
Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.
Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.
When you flip the switch in [the] attic, it doesn't matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades.
The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn't see before.
Its never too late to take a moment to look.
Thich Nhat Hang
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
Some people are content in the midst of deprivation and danger, while others are miserable despite having all the luck in the world. This is not to say that external circumstances do not matter. But it is your mind, rather than circumstances themselves, that determines the quality of your life. Your mind is the basis of everything you experience and of every contribution you make to the lives of others. Given this fact, it makes sense to train it.
As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can't see how it is.
Unfortunately, I’ve fallen out of my meditation routine the last few weeks. And you know what? I can feel the negative effects since stopping. I’m more anxious, stressed, disorganized, and critical of myself.
I’m going to commit to meditating every day this week (even if it’s only for 10 minutes) to see if I notice a positive difference before next week’s issue lands in your inbox. Do you want to join me? If you’re new to it, try the Headspace app as they have a free two-week trial and guide you through the basics (this is not an ad, it’s just what I used when I first started, but there are plenty of alternatives!).
If you still need a reason to start, here’s a 66-second video (with cute illustrations) explaining how your mind begins to clear up with a consistent mindfulness practice.
✌️ Until next week, happy philosophizing.
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