In recent years we have seen meditation, and mindfulness-based meditation in particular, enjoy significant success in its clinical application to treat people with health issues such as anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Meditation is also common as a personal development or stress management tool to help us keep our heads above water in the busyness of our lives. This has led to a growing evidence base of the success of these mindfulness-based therapies which together with advances in neuroscience point to an emerging role for meditation as an important tool in mental health and wellbeing for years to come.
The purpose of meditation is to learn how to love better. So to frame meditation as merely a way to combat stress ignores the important fact that meditation is – at heart- a spiritual practice. And while stress-reduction and increased calm certainly happens along the way, to place this as the central purpose limits what can be available. It can be very useful to learn how to buy train tickets at the Gare du Nord but if that is the main reason for your learning French you may never enjoy the pleasures of a genuinely fluent conversation.
So here’s the problem: while it is the spiritual aspects of meditation that hold the most possible benefits, too often it is the language of that very same spirituality that holds it back. Or in other words… meditation has to drop the perception of being overly religious of the domain of granola-munching, yoga-loving, tree-hugging Californians. This is 2010 – incense, tie-dye and Eastern mystique are no longer effective marketing tools.
Imagine if the conversation about meditation spoke the language of the 21st century?
Imagine if we could explore and design new approaches that retained the authenticity and genuinely transformative power of the original but included the realities of our urban, digital and socially engaged lives? Imagine if meditation could finally loosen its perception of being a pastime for people you wouldn’t be seen dead with?
Welcome to the Here&Now Project. Meditation re-imagined.
Mindapples is an exciting new initiative promoting mentally healthy living for everyone through simple, daily activities. We have been enlisted as their meditation correspondent and you can read our articles for them at mindapples.org