I read a book recently called A Tale For The Time Being. First of all, it's great. One of the characters is a 104 year old buddhist nun, and during the course of the book, she tries to teach her granddaughter how to meditate. In doing so, she tells the girl, she will discover her "SUPAPOWER." Wouldn't that be nice, I thought, to be able to discover your personal superpower? Except, unlike every Marvel movie, our superpowers aren't shooting webs or flying through the air. No, these superpowers are dealing with stress, feeling happier, and being kinder and more compassionate to the people around us. That's the kind of superpower we need in 2018.
So what is meditation? And what on earth does it have to do with your superpower?
Meditation can be an intimidating term. For years, I thought this activity wasn’t for me. Mostly, I was deterred by the idea that I needed to make my mind blank. “A blank mind?” I thought. It sounded impossible, and when I tried it, I found that I wasn’t too successful. As much as I wanted to, there just wasn’t a strategy that helped me find the off switch.
It wasn’t until a little while later that I made an important discovery: My mind didn’t have to be blank after all. The other myth I busted? I didn’t have to steer clear of my technology to protect my mental health. Sure, if you’re constantly being bombarded by work emails and texts, you should find a way to get some distance from those. But when I was trying to get started with meditation, my smart phone ended up being a great tool.
There were a few apps that I found that helped me get a handle on meditation, but one of the first and best, I think, for those starting out, is Headspace.
Headspace is a free app available for any smartphone. If you want to use it regularly, you can upgrade to the paid version. I’m in no way sponsored by them, by the way, so you’re getting an honest opinion here. Headspace markets itself for people trying meditation for the first time. They emphasize the fact that your mind can still be active, and that you aren't trying to get away from something.
Done well, meditation is about understanding the mind and coming to know our emotions and stressors from a different perspective. It’s about learning how to let thoughts pass without dwelling on them—not about shutting down your brain completely. Most of all, meditation is about freeing yourself up to experience things differently.
When we're all trying to get happier and healthier, it turns out that a few minutes can make the difference. If you're curious, give meditation a shot this month. A little mental care goes a long way toward your physical and emotional health. Plus, it's the way to find your SUPAPOWER!