We’ve forgotten to block out the outside noise and listen from within—and it’s costing us more than we realize.
BY HEATHER QUINLAN
You’ve heard your parents and grandparents reminisce about a simpler time when gasoline was 31 cents a gallon, anyone with a decent full-time job could buy a house, and a stamp (remember those) only cost a few pennies. Today, you’ve probably heard your peers refer to the good old days as a time of recent memory, like the late 90s.
Gas was more expensive then and it certainly wasn’t easy to own a home, but if you think of life at the end of the 20th century, we only had dial-up internet, no iPhones, and no social media. There was no means to keep us all constantly connected, and much less pressure to keep up with rapidly changing technology. Along with that technology and the constant connectedness it offers came more stress and anxiety to keep up, not just with the Joneses, but the world.
While a lot has changed in a short period of time and it seems harder to keep up, the longing for a simpler time is an illusion. The present time in which we live is always fraught with uncertainty. Only once it’s in the rearview does it seem simple. So how do we simplify today? Meditation.
There are a lot of different ways to practice meditation, but in essence, it is nothing more than contemplation and reflection.
More and more studies are proving the ancient practice of meditation increases happiness, reduces stress and anxiety, improves concentration, and slows aging. And that’s just to name a few of the many benefits. So why aren’t you doing it? All in a good days work, you’ve had time to check Facebook, post on Instagram and Snapchat, and scroll through Linkedin several times. Somewhere in that tangle of distraction, the thought must have crossed your mind that you need a break. The good news is you can start meditating now.
It won’t cost you a thing, you don’t need to sign up anywhere, and you don’t need to hike into the Himalayas to sit in silence for a month.
Just start with 5 minutes a day to sit quietly with no phone, TV, computer, or music. Listen to your thoughts without judgement, fear, doubt, or expectation. It can be any time of day; when you first wake up, just before you go to bed, or during a break in the middle of the day.
You can even turn everyday tasks into a meditation. Drive without the radio on. Go for a run without any music to distract you. Spend a weekend without social media. Over time, your meditation will become as regular and necessary as brushing your teeth and you can build on those 5 minutes.
The noise of modern life has created a lot of anxiety and false needs that didn’t previously exist. But you don’t have to look to the past to find simpler times. That simpler time can be right now with just a little bit of discipline in training the mind to be quiet.