Meditation – that thing that other people do. That thing Bondi hipsters do.
It's that thing that, well, I should do because I feel it I need a bit of calm in my life.
First, it's important to understand that meditation is much more than sitting cross-legged with closed eyes. According to The Buddhist Centre, "Meditation is a means of transforming the mind. Buddhist meditation practices are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things."
I set out on a mini-journey to meditate in January 2019 – here's how it flowed:
I had heard of a 10 day meditation retreat in The Blue Mountains that practices Vipassana Meditation. Per its website, Vipassana is a technique to eradicate suffering, a method of mental purification to face life with calm and balance, and an art of living for positive contributions to society.
Upon further research, such a retreat sounds intense, and once I read about the prohibition of communication and physical contact with other students? "I'm out." I've got city things to do, people to see, and too much Billions on Stan to watch.
"Zero movement" is typically associated with meditation, yet one can still move while remaining in a meditative state – tai chi, vinyasa, and aikido are all forms of moving meditation.
For me? I consider my time with Giuseppe Labrador and Sophia the King Charles in the park, by the ocean, outdoors under the sun my personal form of moving meditation. If the "No Dogs Allowed" sign stares at me within Sydney's National Parks, my Sydney Harbour hikes are another form of calm within nature, and zero stress.
Apps for meditation
The Mindfulness App. Headspace. Calm. MINDBODY. Buddhify are just a few of the most popular smartphone apps downloaded to guide with meditation techniques and practices.
I trialled a few of these, and it takes two days to realise this – replacing Netflix with a meditation session as you're dozing off affects your mind and body pre-sleep and during which affects your mind, body, and energy well into the next day.
Some find the crashing of the ocean's waves a soothing sound. Yet others find the oily crunch of frying chicken, falling French fries, and simmering gravy send them into a catatonic state.
If so, KFC has you covered with their KFChill website. With an hour of streaming / downloads, there are some finger lickin' good vibes to de-stress. Ironically, the sound of bubbly chicken is pretty damn soothing.
It's the New Year, and you probably have some goals to kick. You want more money, more promotion, more weight loss, more holidays – a full load of "more" pursuits that can also land a full load of stress. I'd encourage you to do your own research on the many meditation techniques that could enrich your life with not only peace but more energy, clearer thoughts, and bigger smiles.
Raging against the horomones
Stress and that hormone "cortisol" you've no doubt heard of affects the heart, mind, inflammation, and weight therefore your overall wellness.
I'm not saying to buy the robe, sell your possessions, learn to chant, and move to the mountains for a life of meditation and calm, but somewhere and somehow you must de-stress via a healthier manner than peaking into the liquor cabinet. You're only pouring petrol on the mind and liver's already burning fire.
Meditate, and in no time at all, you'll be peering in the sky at Bonnie Dune saying "How's the Serenity."
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.