Mindfulness as a Mindhack

It is generally accepted that it is unwise to champion something through denial. For example, if your most famous words are "I'm not a crook," you'll probably be chiefly remembered as--you guessed it--a crook.

But when it comes to mindfulness, I think it's important firmly dissociate it from its disreputable connotations. Which is why I'd like to share this short video that David Perls recently showed me. It's about a Google employee who had some initial misgivings about meditation, until he found that it helped him through some tough times.

When you said meditation, my response would have been, 'Oh, that's in the same box as aromatherapy, crystals, religion. Things I decided weren't for me. But seeing that...the mind is something that can be hacked, is eye opening. To the point where the science gave me comfort enough to investigate it and to try out this hippy bullshit called meditation... 
And I initially found some sense of relief and centeredness.

Here it is (though you may need to click through to Vimeo)...

I like this video for the same reason I like anything that demystifies meditation. My experiences, both as a psychologist and a person who experiences stress (you know, just like every person), have demonstrated the importance of these practices, especially for people who are busy and under a lot of stress. And that is to say nothing of the ample scientific evidence documenting its efficacy. Just as physical exercise is a crucial antidote to the sedentary demands of most office jobs, mindfulness exercises offer a necessary counterweight to the constant distraction that characterizes much of our lives. It is the anti-iPhone.    

And while I'm thankful to live in a place and time where there is an exceptional openness to meditation, I'm well aware of its unfortunate connotations: Crystals, dream catchers, rain sticks, etc. This is unfortunate, because if you lump meditation in with the "woo-woo" stuff, you might miss out on something that could be incredibly helpful.

If you're interested in devoting more time to learning how to meditate, we're offering an 8-week meditation course starting next week. More details here.

Jonathan HorowitzComment