Since some of you may have a bit of time to read over the next few weeks, can I encourage you to pick up a couple of books by Dan Harris. This is his story of having a panic attack while presenting Good Morning America. After this episode, Dan began a journey which eventually led him, a confirmed sceptic, to effectively manage his stressed-out mind. Off the back of his journey he wrote ‘10% Happier’, followed more recently by ‘Meditation for Fidgety Sceptics’. If you are at all curious about meditation, but maybe you feel that it’s airy-fairy, ineffective or not really for you, please do yourself a favour and check out these books.
Here’s an excerpt from Meditation for Fidgety Sceptics:
‘As I explained to the cadets, most of us live our lives like this: “Something comes up that we don’t like, we do everything we can to get rid of it – think about something else, eat something, go shopping, take a drug, whatever.” But with meditation the approach is entirely different. “If I’m p****d off about something, or I’m bummed about it, I’m going to be a warrior, and I’m going to feel it fully. I’m just going to lean into that thing, and you see, in many cases, that this isn’t going to kill me. Or it’s not as bad as I thought it was. Or I can actually handle it.”
Jeff* added that if you live your life refusing to feel certain things, you’re essentially closing a series of doors in your mind. “It’s like you live in a mansion, but you’re just going to live underneath the stairs. You’re not even going into those other rooms, because that’s where I broke up with my ex,” he said, by way of example, or, “That’s my feeling of being besieged inadequacy around my parents and – man, stay out of there! – that’s my embarrassingly low self-esteem!” This is not easy to do, of course, but Jeff said, “If you can just open up each door and face it, you may find out there is actually no monster in there. It’s manageable. Bit by bit, you start to get more and more free in your life, so you can just live bigger and bigger and more and more fearlessly and with more and more freedom.”
This strategy can be applied to all kinds of worries, including worries about people thinking you’re weird for meditating.’
The books are pacey, human and great reads. Dan speaks as many of us feel and is very relatable. I also love him because he shares my vision that places for mental fitness will become as common as gyms over the next few decades!
The original book has spawned a plethora of support for the novice meditator, including courses and workshops. You can find some of it here: https://www.tenpercent.com. Dan’s journey really inspires me because it shows, in a very honest way, how all of us can develop the skill of mental relaxation and all the benefits and joys it can bring. Dive in and enjoy!