For the past two days I had to deal with a broken pipe and no running water in the house. It felt like camping, with better beds: take out meals, showers at kind neighbours’ and endless bottles of water for every other task. Oh, and peeing on the grass to avoid having to refill the toilet tanks (good thing I live in the wilderness). Needless to say, the sense of adventure wore thin rather quickly. The plumber promised a fast resolution, then hit a snag, then he disappeared completely. Not surprisingly, by the time I got home I was frustrated, needing to plot where to take the next shower and what to eat that wouldn’t soil anything.
I could feel the bad mood rising inside like a tsunami. A time-out was needed to get some perspective, maybe put into practice what I preach. I sat quietly for ten minutes, thoughts racing at first, gradually easing into gentler waves, smoother breaths. I was in business again. What I was dealing with was no tragedy and a quick meditation got me out of the drama.
It is, indeed, that simple. And not esoteric. All of you most likely heard, or at least glanced at the headlines, that scientific studies support the mental and physical benefits of meditation. Like many others, teachers, gurus, yoga practitioners, Suze Yalof Schwartz has been spreading the good word. Suze, a former editor at Glamour, discovered the benefits meditation can have on Type A personalities like hers and, after immersing herself in different practices, set up an innovative studio in Los Angeles, Unplug.
What makes Suze different is her attempt at demystifying meditation by debunking myths and misconceptions that have kept many people (people like her, I would argue) away from such a simple well-being tool: there is no need to sit in excruciatingly painful positions; no need to be conversant in Sanskrit terms; there is no aura of mystery. And if you are turned off by the hippie-dippie language and mannerisms sometimes associated with meditation (and, to a certain extent, yoga), Suze gets you. And she wants you to give it a try.
Her work should not be seen as a contradiction, or an attempt to make meditation hip, but merely an effort to remove the blocks that have kept many away from a simple discipline that, in its simplicity, is revolutionary. Sit, get quiet, go inside and reboot. Meditation does not require perfection; most of us are not trying to reach nirvana by sitting in a cave cross-legged – just getting a handle on the stress that often surrounds our daily activities.
Suze Yalof Schawrtz is now making her case through Uplug: A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers, a book written just for those who might not have considered the idea of meditating. Everything that might have kept you away is addressed in the book, along with scientific and anecdotal reasons why meditation is a good idea. It also contains some simple and very practical guidelines on how to confront different situations, from dealing with traffic to sleeping, from weight loss to calming children.
Harmony Books/Penguin Random House has kindly sent me a copy of the book (which was released on March 7) for one of Campari and Sofa’s readers. Just leave a comment to the post, stating why you are interested in meditation, and I will draw the winner a week from today.
And now, excuse me while I collect myself, call the plumber again before I go fill more buckets.
While my review of Unplug, the studio, from 2014, was conducted anonymously and I received no compensation, this post is clearly sponsored. Having said that, you know I wouldn’t peddle anything I didn’t like or believe in.