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Meditation for skeptics – a giveaway

Posted in Health


I got home after a very long day, fully expecting to take a shower and make dinner. And pee in my bathroom.

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.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Names were written in my chicken scratch on bits of paper, put into a pretty yellow hand-made bowl where I dipped my paw and retrieved….Leonor of Felt Buddies! Congrats Leonor! Will send you an email so I can get your snail mail address.

    March 16, 2017
    |Reply
  2. Kelly M.
    Kelly M.

    I’m a trauma therapist and have so many clients who are skeptical about meditation (as was I before I saw how well it worked), and I think this would be an excellent resource!

    March 16, 2017
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    • I agree. Convincing people to try, and then convincing them they are doing it right, seem to be the first hurdles.

      March 16, 2017
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  3. My meditative moments most often occur in the morning on our walks when the air is fairly still, clean and refreshing. It’s paradise and some of my best thinking occurs after those walks. Here’s hoping your bathroom issue is resolved now. Life is much better when you don’t have to worry about peeing in a garden. 🙂

    March 15, 2017
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    • I try to do that too, when I walk, or when I run. Just notice. Colors, smells, sounds. (indoor plumbing has been restored, much to everyone’s relief, including Portia’s, who was not enthusiastic about sharing the lawn with me).

      March 16, 2017
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  4. Where did my comment go? I’d left some thoughts on this a few days ago and it’s gone! Oh dear. I’m afraid my insight is now lost, but I’ll leave this new comment in the hopes I might be the lucky winner. I could use a fresh view on meditation…

    March 13, 2017
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    • Here you are – I will put all the names in a hat next Thu (well, maybe a bowl, not a hat) and will draw the lucky one. You will receive an email from me if you win. (By the way, I have been checking your new site from time to time and I noticed you haven’t posted in a long while – all good? or you just got bored or busy?)

      March 14, 2017
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  5. hope you get it all sorted out soon. Plumbers are notoriously difficult to find it seems, in most countries. I downloaded an app recently to try and get into meditation, as I am sure it would be good for me, but so far the app has not worked for me. It leads you through the 10 minute meditation, but my problem is that I find the voice telling me that my thoughts might wander also distracts me. Not easy 🙂

    March 12, 2017
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    • I think it’s fine to get distracted. Even getting a minute or two of focus is enough. You could try without the guided app and just focus on your breathing and see how it goes.

      March 14, 2017
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  6. La meditazione, come lo yoga, fanno parte delle mie abitudini … ma che fatica per una donna occidentale! Se con l’Ashtanga yoga ho trovato un buon compromesso, la meditazione mi risulta sempre difficile, sebbene anche pochi minuti siano positivi

    March 10, 2017
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    • Ammetto che, a volte, la vivo come un’altra cosa da aggiungere alla mia lista di cose da fare. Poi cerco di ricordarmi che sedersi per pochi minuti, anche pieni di pensieri in rivolta fra loro, e’ meglio che non sedersi del tutto.

      March 10, 2017
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      • E’ proprio così! Ha l’aspetti di un impegno … finchè non ci si applica

        March 10, 2017
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  7. Hmm… I’ve never looked into what meditation actually involves – probably for the sort of reasons/misconceptions that you mention.
    I do, however, engage in what I’ve termed “moments of stillness” (in which I can let my thoughts settle a bit), and I suppose it’s probably not too different to meditation (?)

    As for this plumbing problem – I think I’d rather go without electricity than running water and functional plumbing…

    March 10, 2017
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    • Sort of. Although in meditation you try to focus your attention on one point, and go back to it every time your mind wanders (which it does). I think it has a little bit more technique than just letting the thoughts settle, as an instrument for change.

      March 10, 2017
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  8. “I could feel the bad mood rising inside like a tsunami”. Oh I love that and will be borrowing it, often. We’ve just had our boiler replaced with a modern, efficient one. The job took two days, one to remove the old one and set up and another to install the new one. Of course it had to coincide with a major drop in temperature – lows of -4 and highs of 2. And of course my hubby was away. No central heating or running water for 2 days and then endless trouble for another week. Scalded my hands in the basin, my nether regions on the bidet and got an instant ‘lift’ after stepping into a freezing cold shower more than once. I went to yoga a lot that week!!!

    March 10, 2017
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    • I remember one January, when Sue and I got back from the Christmas break to our (already cold) flat in London to find out the heating was broken. Even in our impoverished state, it took us a nanosecond to pick up our luggage and check into Hazlitt’s in Soho! (those were the days – now I make do with peeing in the garden and you wake up with a freezing bidet).

      March 10, 2017
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