Xavier Jared


Two brothers on personal development, philosophy, and being awesome

Mindful March


I am thoroughly convinced meditation is good for you. At a personal level many people I respect practice and recommend it, and there is more science than you can poke a stick at backing up their claims. Also Tibetan monks are bad ass. More on that later.

Meditation is said to relieve stress and put things into perspective. I feel I am pretty on top of these two, but I could always go a bit more. It is also reported to improve creativity, cognition, and attention which is the mega-benefit as far as I am concerned. Trying meditation has been on my list for a while, and I have finally decided to tackle it: during March I will be trialling meditating everyday.

I don’t really know how you are “supposed” to meditate, but from what I gather you can’t really get it too wrong. I am going to start by following this illustrated guide, and I have lined up an evening course through the Sri Chinmoy Centrie to try and pick up some basics. I also have book on the way, “Mindfulness in Plain English”.

Dalai Lama

With that out of the way, let me tell you about the monks. These guys have decades of full on meditation training, and they can pull off some freakish skills. For years it was thought that there was an automatic physical “startle” response to loud noises. Even trained police marksman and CIA agents could not suppress an involuntary muscle spasm on hearing a gunshot, even when they knew it was coming. Researchers had never found anyone who could repress this startle.

That is until they got the monks in the lab. They got them meditating, counted down from 10 to 1, BANG, and not even a flich. One monk described it: “If you can remain properly in this state, the bang seems neutral, like a bird crossing the sky.”

I’m telling you, these monks are dudes. They turn different meditations on and off like taps. Oser, the monk in the above experiment, described his three hour MRI—normally a hellish experience for anyone—as a “mini retreat”.

In another test with a different group of monks, they wrapped themselves in near-freezing wet cloths, meditated, and steamed them dry. Any other person would have succumbed to hypothermia. Check this video. Other feats such as epic heart rate control have been recorded.

In a word, meditation makes you more awesome. I want in.

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