July 13, 2015
Dan harris, the ABC news anchor who thrilled us all with his on-TV panic attack and subsequent foray into learning to meditate, wrote a great article in the August 2015 edition of Shambhala Sun on how and why to cut the woo-woo when talking about mindfulness and meditation.
My three favorite take-aways from the article are: 1) don’t be ‘Super-Profound Dude”; 2) don’t be ’Soft and Gooey Girl’; and 3) don’t make it more complex than it is.
I’m sure I’ve been guilty of all three. Please, forgive me.
You know what I’m talking about. The use of lofty and esoteric words and sentences that end with you walking away saying, ‘Huh?!’. Or someone waxing poetic about how it has totally changed them for the better (when you know the truth). And my favorite, someone explaining how it has taken away any fear of illness, death, or catastrophic occurrences because they’ve learned how to simply accept ‘what is’.
Harris knocks the last legs out from under woo-woo by reminding us that there are three basic things involved in the act of meditation as he practices it. Take your Seat. Put your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath (no matter how many times it wanders). Try that now for two or three minutes. . .okay, you just meditated. . .nice job! Here’s a link to his simple meditation instructions.
For sure, making meditation and mindfulness a consistent part of my life has created positive changes. If there wasn’t a payoff I wouldn’t be doing it. Things seem to have slowed down a bit. That makes it easier for me to concentrate and focus and catch myself more often before I put a foot in my mouth or make a decision I later regret. It still happens, just not as often. And most important to me is that I seem to be getting better at owning my crap rather than tossing responsibility for my discomfort onto other people or things or the state of the world. These days there’s more often a sense that I’m in charge of my mind instead of it leading my around by the nose on automatic pilot, which is how it has worked for much of my life.
So here’s to cutting out the woo-woo, keeping it simple, pulling up a seat, and coming home.