Can Meditation Really Transform Men’s Health and Happiness?
Most people start with mindfulness because it is so simple. John Purkiss, who first turned to meditation 25 years ago when he was “stuck in Paris with no money and no end of relationship,” says “the principle of mindfulness is incredibly simple: just come back to the present. Eastern philosophy says that your mind is a flow of thoughts. Let them pass. Many people in the West are everywhere, always looking for solutions outside of themselves. In the West, we believe that when we are stuck, we have to fix problems and make them happen. Eastern traditions believe that the cosmos will show us: that a primitive consciousness rules everything.
But also, Purkiss adds, “a lot of people get stuck on mindfulness. For me, it is the door to something else ”: in his case, transcendental meditation (MT). “We are all used to three states of consciousness: waking up, sleeping and dreaming. Transcendence is the fourth. If you imagine normal life as the ground floor and clinical depression like the basement, Transcendence is the top floor of a skyscraper, and as you go up, things change in your life.
Matt Johnson, founding member and lead singer of The The, has been doing TM since the late 1980s. manageable. The ego seems to slowly dissolve, only to be replaced by an overwhelming sense of connection with something benign, warm, and loving. This is not always the case, of course, but it is extremely heartwarming to know that “something” so positive is out there, surrounding us, if and when we choose to exploit it. “
Practitioners at all levels speak of positive effects and varying benefits on their mental and physical health: reduced stress and aggression, increased focus and empathy, better sleep, and overall mood. Studies have shown links between meditation and the reduction of cognitive decline associated with aging. David Cox, Chief Medical Officer at Headspace, says: “There is evidence that mindfulness can have a beneficial impact on psoriasis, fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lower back pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and insomnia. And last month, the NHS first suggested that meditation rather than medication should be the default treatment for mild depression.
Tom, a web designer from Dorset, turned to Headspace “when I was fired and a relationship ended the same week. I had always considered meditation to be a hippie thing, and I didn’t want to go on retreat and sit on a pointe for two days, but I ruminated, thinking about all I could have said and done, and I need something to help me break this. A basic 10 minute meditation a day was the answer.
Adam, a London-based venture capitalist, meditates five days a week before going to work. “My wife and kids say I’m calmer and less frantic than before, and I feel like I didn’t get pulled into the drama as quickly as before. At work, I don’t feel the need to vocalize all the time. If I can’t add value, I just shut up rather than try to justify my presence by saying something. I think if everyone would sit down and listen more it would solve a lot of the world’s problems.
Daniel, writer and real estate developer who lives in Catalonia, has been meditating for almost 30 years. “Meditation has helped create a sense of equanimity within me, a force field that runs through life with me. Everyone wants to be in your head now – there’s so much information and data going around – and it’s important that it’s part of you rather than taking it away from other people.
So how do you get started? Try to meditate at the same time and in the same place every day. Doing it early can help you “prepare” for the day, while sessions scheduled for the late afternoon or evening may be skipped if other activities are overtaken or if fatigue has set in. Start slow – even three minutes is better than nothing – and gradually build up to how long you feel best. Little and often, it’s better than one or two long sessions a week. Get physically comfortable to minimize the risk of aches and pains pushing you out of your head space. And think of it as exercise rather than magic or religion: a specific activity that will make you feel better in every way. Headspace presents itself as a “gym membership for the mind”.
The parallels to exercise are also evident with the simplest goal of concentration: breathing. It’s essential, it’s natural, it’s rhythmic and it’s a very obvious physiological marker of one’s own mental state. I run marathons and ultramarathons, and when I train I find that calm comes about 15 minutes after the start of the race, when my body has adapted to the demands placed on it and my breathing. stabilized.
But, unlike many forms of exercise, meditation is not competitive, and it is crucial to remember this. This isn’t a battle, and you shouldn’t blame yourself if it is easier on some days than others, or if your mind is wandering. “One can experience a particularly deep and transcendent meditation for several weeks, but the next month the experience can be shallow and less satisfying,” says Johnson. “Life is ebb and flow, and meditation is no different.”