Having been successfully raised by Western Culture, I too was skeptical of what looked like just a bunch of hippies sitting around chanting weird sounds and assuming funny sitting position. It’s amazing what a little life experience can bring! Truth be told, in my adulthood, meditation found me. And boy has it been a lifesaver. That said, before I could undertake this life changing journey, I had to work through a lot of the biases that prevented me from practicing it in the first place.
In this latest CNN post, Tarini Awatramani takes a somewhat lighthearted look at meditation and discusses several meditation biases commonly attributed to the practice. According to Awatramani, who uses her own experience as basis for the article, taking a class with what appeared to be a bunch of “nutters with unclassifiable personality disorders” didn’t quite help. Good thing she explored the practice a little further.
5. Meditators give up all their favorite vices
Relax, you don’t have to cancel your subscription to hedonism.
“The meditator is not a monk, but an individual who lives in society; who chooses to attend a meditation course to positively revolutionize his/her mind and bring about changes which reflect in a balanced human being,” says Pai. “A meditator is just another person in society — only difference being that he/she meditates.”
Although the process is cryptic, academics and psychologists around the world have noted the merits of meditation.
Advanced brain scanning technology shows that practicing meditation directly affects the structure and functions of the brain including increasing attention spans, reducing stress and improving memory.
For those who can’t take ancient meditation at its word, Harvard Medical School has recently released a report confirming similar positive effects of meditation.
Yet the greatest testing ground is your own surroundings, which in my case is Mumbai.
With incessant noise from building construction sites, a high concentration of unrestrained honkers on narrow roads and intolerable ring tones going off everywhere, meditation might help me. Time will tell.
Yet somehow I suspect this city will tempt even an old Tibetan Rinpoche to invest in some noise-canceling headphones.
Read more from Awatramani on dispelling your meditation biases here.