“The past is a foreign country,” author L.P. Hartley famously wrote in his book The Go-Between. Perhaps that’s why we hold on to the postcards…
Never before have we experienced such speed—such technology—as we are now on this planet. In tandem with this, we also seem to be experiencing epidemics of depression, attention-deficit disorders, and other various dis-eases in the mental and emotional realms, and obviously, a global pandemic and stressful politics to boot. Whew.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m a huge fan of technology. I love that I can see family, friends, and clients via Zoom, pretty much anywhere I have a wifi connection. We live in a world where it is truly possible to run a lucrative business from your laptop on a beach in Bali. That’s awesome. What’s not awesome is that most people are attached to their devices (there’s even the word ‘vice’ inside that word).
Every few seconds, our cell phones buzz or beep with new notifications, texts, or emails. Every single time we get a ‘ping,’ it’s like we are being poked by an aggressive finger that sends messages to our bodies saying things like: “You must pay attention right now.” “You need to be on Facebook at least 25 times a day.” “Buy this now.” “Do this to be worthy.” These are not healthy messages, and whether you realize it or not, they cause a million teeny tiny panics inside the body’s nervous system.
In my opinion, the main problem with the speed at which the world is moving today is that our bodies’ nervous systems have not yet caught up with our own speedy creations. This is one of the main causes of serious issues of anxiety, stress, and depression. We are, quite literally, having difficulty keeping up with the Jetsons.
In our grande, skinny, soy, vanilla latte worlds, we (myself included) want everything to move as fast as possible. There’s no time to take time.
That’s the funny thing about time. You actually need to slow down to be able to catch up and speed up again.
And this is where the ancient practice of meditation can help more than any drug or app in today’s world. Our nervous systems are overworked and underpaid. We need to: 1.) learn to calm the nervous system and then 2.) strengthen it. It has been proven that even a five-minute meditation practice can change your entire life if you practice daily. Your brain is the major conductor of this central nervous system. If you can calm your brain by massaging it with meditation, your entire nervous system will strengthen and run much more smoothly!
Many people make the mistake in thinking that meditation needs to be a long period of time when your mind is totally blank. Well, that would be ideal, but there are very few people who are truly able to do this. I suggest starting with something short and doable, like a three-minute meditation where you are reciting a positive affirmation or mantra. This gives your monkey mind something to do, but saying the same phrase or word over and over is a repetitive process that doesn’t require your brain to do any real thinking or problem solving so it just goes on automatic and begins to relax. One of my personal favorites is a mantra that says: “I am bountiful, blissful, and beautiful, I am.” Sometimes, my daily meditation consists of just repeating this one phrase over and over for three minutes. That’s it. Of course, you can use any mantra or phrase that feels in alignment for you.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a daunting thing. It can be very, very accessible and easy, actually. The hardest part is committing to a daily practice and keeping up with that every day. Ideally, you would want to do it for a minimum of 40 days in a row to create a solid habit. But hey, start with just one day, then maybe three days, then a week… Give it a try. See how it changes your life. Run an experiment to see how much better you sleep, how much more relaxed you feel, and how much more at peace your nervous system becomes.