#ZenToolkit: Resilience (Pt. 2) Meditation 

Vegas Strip 

Imagine for a moment: It’s your first night in Vegas, and you’re excited to take in all the sights and sounds of “paradise” in the desert. Through the backseat windows of the cab, you see the strip lined with people, restaurants, hotels, casinos, and flashing lights. Your taxi driver takes you past a hotel that is several stories high and all the lights are on, so you can see silhouettes of every body. People are dancing, partying and having a good time. It’s complete pandemonium! 

The next night you ride by, and there are only a few rooms with lights on. Most of the guests have left. Hotel staff are fluffing pillows. People are laying on their beds with white robes and mud masks on their faces, relaxing and reading John Muir books–it’s chill.

This imagery is what comes to mind when I think about the power of meditation for the brain.

Myths 

Firstly, I want to say that meditation is NOT about sitting cross-legged for hours upon hours in silence on a rock in the middle of the forest without thinking.

Secondly, I want to say that meditation is also NOT just “some shit white people do.” These are preconceptions that mainstream media has constructed in our minds, creating the perception that meditation is exclusive or inaccessible when, really? It’s not. 

Meditation is focusing on whatever you’re doing. Just that. When John Coltrane was playing the saxophone, he was in meditation. When Lebron James gets a rebound, brings the ball down the court, makes three defenders look silly, and does a 360 slam dunk, he’s in meditation.

Put your full attention and concentration on whatever task is in the present moment. If it’s sitting and enjoying a meal with a loved one, sit and enjoy the meal. Do not watch TV, look at the phone, and occasionally become conscious of the food on the plate. If it’s washing dishes, it’s washing them plates like Mr. Miyagi said, “wax on, wax off!” Thoughts will come, and that’s ok. They will always come and intrude on whatever you’re doing, but bring the mind back to the present moment. The key is when thoughts come, don’t attach to the thought. Just allow it to come and go.

It’s a challenge 

We live in a day and age where multitasking has become the norm. We have so many devices and distractions, obligations, and responsibilities that our mind is primed to think and think and think. Life sometimes makes it very difficult for us to do one thing at a time. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but over time it becomes a dreadful existence. We can’t sit still without something occupying our mind. We become dependent on our distractions to fill all our time. Eventually, we lose control over our mind and our mind starts to control us. 

Continued

Next, we will dive into this important tool even more, plus explore the many ways we can cultivate this practice into our life including breathing, walking, and sitting. What you will come to learn is that meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time

Mindfulness exercise  

When brushing your teeth in the morning try to be present during the whole process. Give your full attention to each tooth. If your mind drifts off, that’s ok – bring your mind back to the tooth that you were working on. 

Go slower than usual.

Zen is doing one thing at a time – 3 minute video:

Read #ZenToolkit: Resilience (pt. 1) Journaling

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