Recently I had the pleasure of attending a meditation lecture by a local yoga instructor, Megan Beahen. While the spirit of the talk was an introduction, the concept is not new to me. I had been to a previous, similar, talk hosted by Kate Durie a few years previous to this one. Though both were inspirational, they had decidedly different tones and impacts on me. Kate's was my call to pay attention to the topic. A signal that this might be important. I intended Megan’s talk as more of a reminder, a motivator, a challenge.
Now, I’m ok with a healthy dose of “woo woo”, and when there's a little science sprinkled on top, that's even better. And you can’t deny the current science about meditation. It has the potential to have serious and good impacts on your brain. Though Megan carefully caveated all the benefits of meditation so as to curb the over promises that are typically made about it, I personally clung to the basic promise that meditation will in fact make me a better person.
Megan said something that really resonated with me - who in your life would benefit from your being more calm/in the present? Those who know me would probably say that I spend too much time in the future, brainstorming and planning. While it can be a positive thing, I understand that at its most basic, it is effectively me trying to protect myself, and the people I love, from unknown future threats of things that may or may not happen. This propensity to try and anticipate threats is an old habit of our brains. It is something that is still wired deep within us to help us survive periods of famine, and sabretooth tiger attacks. Being in this frequent state of offense is not really serving me right now. After all, I cannot remember the last time I saw a sabretooth tiger, and my fridge provides bountiful leftovers. Nothing is wrong. I am not in danger like my ancient brain would have me believe.
So I am going to take the challenge. Five minutes a day, I’ll embrace what might come up in meditation, write it down, and neutralize the threat.