Friday, September 2, 2016

Take the Meditation Challenge!

A Challenge and an Experiment
My friend and I are about 10 days into a meditation challenge. We're both meditating every day for 40 days, to see what changes it brings in our lives. It's really great to have a partner, even though he's in another state. It helps me stay on track, probably (sadly) because of my competitive nature. I really don't want to be the one to admit, "Well, no, actually, I didn't meditate today." :-D

My friend is taking an awesome 40-day Mindfulness Daily audio course created by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. I'm doing 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation and 10 minutes of aikido breathing.

Getting Scientific: Endpoints and Benchmarking
We're actually not being very scientific at all. But we do have some general "endpoints" we're looking to "measure."
  • Do we have improvement in mood?
  • Are we more effective in daily life?
  • Are we better musicians/martial artists? Is our practice more effective?

Some reputable studies have shown that meditation has "great promise for treating depression." Tim Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Work Week, uses meditation to alleviate his depression symptoms. (OK, he also uses psychedelics for the same purpose... ) Others claim that it helps you become more effective in daily life. When I learned TM back in the 70's, I was told I'd get everything I wanted, as my consciousness became more aligned with the universe. (OK, some TM practitioners also believe they can levitate and see the future...)  I am hoping that the daily breathing will help my singing, (but I'm not really measuring that. How do you measure that?).

Technology Helps!
I have to say, we're mostly using fairly subjective, anecdotal evidence to support our findings. But we are being a teeny, tiny bit scientific. We're using Daylio, an Android app that lets you track mood, and add simple diary notations without having to type anything - you just select the icons. (You can customize the icons and add description if you want). It even reminds you if you didn't make an entry.

Results? Soon. Watch this Space.
I'll let you know how it goes - check back at the end of September.






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