WTF is Meditation?

I mean, you know what it is, and that it’s kind of a big deal… but why is it a big deal? What do you do exactly? And why won’t your crazy aunt shut up about it?

Meditation is the art of doing nothing, and doing it effortlessly. There’s some other stuff you can add on, like using it to focus on a task, or visualizing success, or reconnecting with your inner child (who, by the way, is tired of your shit), but those are all meditation-related. The act of meditating is a lot like floating in a pool, or plummeting from a cliff. If you’re doing it right, you’re not doing anything at all.

Like a boss
Credit: Gianni Cumbo on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Why on Earth would I want to do that?

I’m glad I asked. Research over the last 50 years has shown, over and over again, that meditating regularly has a ton of benefits. It’s great for mood disorders (depression) and anxiety disorders of all stripes (generalized anxiety, OCD, anorexia, etc), as well as helping with a number of stress-related diseases. Got high blood pressure? Meditate. Insomnia? Meditate. Headaches? Meditate, damn you.

Meditation rivals regular exercise and medicine when it comes to dealing with depression and anxiety. Meditation plus medicine can have additive effects, which can be enough to get you past the threshold of “feeling crummy” to “feeling okay and maybe I can leave the house today.”

I’m convinced, you wonderful man! How do I start?

Man, it’s Sunday, I don’t want to do any serious writing today. Maybe I’ll post a video with a guided meditation soon. Until then, try closing your eyes for one minute. Think about your breath as it goes in and out of your nose. Then go on with your day. We’ll talk more later.

Until then, what’s been your experience with meditation? Has it been useful for you? Did you try it once and never again? I hunger for input!

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