28 days of me

Day 25

Stigma Associated With Meditation

Monday, May 25th, 2015
Show today's brain activity
Alpha 56%
Waves which occur when relaxed and calm
Beta 34%
Waves which occur when, for example, actively thinking or problem-solving
Gamma 10%
Waves which occur when involved in higher mental activity and consolidation of information

The truth is, for most of us at least, meditation is just a bit too far out of our comfort zone – it’s just that bit too ‘hippie’ or ‘new age’ for us to even consider exploring it.

Individuals like Jon Kabat-Zinn and Andy Puddicombe (Headspace) are doing wonders for breaking the stigmatism that is often associated with meditation, but western culture has a long way to go before we truly embrace meditation and mindfulness.

Before I stated this 28 Days I was also weary about the ‘new age’ side of meditation. I listened to a few different guided meditations to see what ones I needed to purchase or download for this challenge and some of them I just couldn’t get through. I didn’t like the ‘hippie’ music, I couldn’t associate with the woman with the foreign accent and I just really, really didn’t like being in that space. But, like with everything, it is all about finding what works for you. For me, at this very early stage in my meditation journey, I need something like Headspace or 1 Giant Mind – apps that are visually similar to what I am used to, with instructions that I find simple to follow and with little to no reference to spirituality and religion.

In his book Waking Up Sam Harris talks about (amongst other things) how mindfulness and meditation play an important role outside of religion and spirituality. The book is very philosophical, and extremely interesting. You can listen to Chapter 1 here, which includes sections on both mediation and mindfulness.

sam harris waking up

For anyone who wants to give meditations a go, but their view of meditation is just a bit too tainted by the hippie stigma, my advice is to find something that works for you, and take things slow. It might be Headspace, but it might be something else entirely. I haven’t tried all of these but here are a few guided meditation apps that might work for you.

Today’s Meditation

20 minute Headspace. This is the first time I have stopped the meditation before it was finished – I was extremely tired so I decided to stop it a few minutes early.

Today’s Brainwave Activity

150525 Day 25 Graph

Blue = Alpha waves, 56% (Day 1 was 47%) — this is the one I’m trying to increase.
Yellow = Beta waves, 34% (Day 1 was 34%)
Pink = Gamma waves, 10% (Day 1 was 19%)

[Image credit]