Science finally finds your “higher consciousness”

A happy and mindful Monday to you! This week:

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In a definite “told-ya-so!” for some of us, University of Sussex researchers are now confirming that tripping really is a kind of “higher¬†consciousness.”ūüėā ūüėā ¬†Specifically they found that people on psychedelic drug trips had a greater diversity of brain signals than people in other states of consciousness. (So that’s why you never found your lucky rabbit’s foot…)

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This week brings us more news from the ongoing study of mindfulness and its effects on students, with a new study in American College Health showing that an 8-week mindfulness makes college freshman less likely to experience depression, anxiety and alcohol-related incidents like hangovers and blackouts. Sounds good to us!

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This week also offers the somewhat controversial news that mindfulness may be more effective for men than women, according to a new Brown University study. We at I Won’t Commit don’t like gender dualism, but we’re pretty into evidence-based science, and findings like this could help design better mental health and wellness treatments and programs in the future.

What do you think about this study? Let us know in the comments!

Mindful Monday for April 17, 2017

Happy Happy Monday! This week:

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The Star Tribune offers a profile of “yoga enthusiast and fat femme” Jessamyn Stanley and her new book Every Body Yoga.

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The trend of animal yoga carries on with a heartening twist in Ohio as an animal shelter offers yoga classes with adoptable animals.

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And in the continuing adventures of “where WON’T people do yoga?” this week brings you yoga on paddle boards!

What are you looking forward to this week? Let us know in the comments below!

Mindful Monday for March 27, 2017

Happy Mindful Monday! This week:

Spreading MS awareness through yoga: Fox 2 Detroit speaks with yoga therapist, author and entrepreneur Mindy Eisenberg, director of Yoga Moves MS, who highlights her organizations efforts to help those with MS and similar conditions through yoga practice.

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Dr. Stanley Rodski highlights “colourtation,” a practice named following findings that five minutes a day coloring can have benefits similar¬†to an hour of meditation.

In the ever-developing world of animal yoga, CNN this week highlights cat yoga:

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[Not actual cat yoga. lol]

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Cari Vander Yacht

And finally this week, the New Yorker offers a little satire with Puritan Yoga.

Say hi in the comments, and let us know how you’re being mindful this week!

Jack Donaghy: guru?

A lot of people Рmaybe Americans Рseem to view mindfulness a lot like Jack Donaghy:

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Having never meditated before, Jack exhorts himself into an altered state and discovers the answer he seeks just by seeking.

Bad news: it doesn’t work that way.

That part’s probably intuitive, though. It’s funny to us that Jack thinks he can meditate perfectly by saying “meditate perfectly,” because even those who don’t meditate¬†get that that’s probably not how it works.

Today I’d rather talk about the implications of this, though.

Even though a lot of us understand that mindfulness requires practice, diligence, and attention, and even though we know it is a pursuit that some people spend a lifetime engaged in, always growing, nevertheless:¬†we still get pissed off at ourselves when we don’t “meditate perfectly.”

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I submit this comes from applying¬†consumer¬†logic to wellness. In the market, we’re driven to buy things that meet our needs and desires. The acquiring of a thing is equivalent to the enjoyment of a thing.

Mindfulness culture has a strong consumer component, too. You can’t pet a live cat without self-help books, meditation workshops, crystals and soothing candles all clamoring for your money and attention. In our society, you can go to a bookstore and¬†buy enlightenment… right?

The tin never says, “involves lifetime commitment to difficult, arduous practice that will challenge your assumptions about yourself and the world.” The¬†tin always says “be a better mom, lover, and business partner in three hours!”

We’re familiar with “some assembly required,” so we’re often willing to put in those three hours. And when those three hours don’t work out, we might be willing to put in three more hours to have someone tell us why the first three hours were never going to work. Any multiple of three hours later, has anything had an effect?

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So damn, maybe you think. Look what I’ve done. I’ve spent this money, and this time, and I’m still unhappy. I meditated like three times and I still have problems!

THESE CRYSTALS ARE BROKEN!

It sounds funny, but if you’re anything like me, you can really beat yourself up about this.

When you want to buy a TV, you buy a TV. It doesn’t take years to realize the benefits of having bought a television. You plug it in, you get your S.O. to figure out how to connect it to all the other devices, and in half an hour,¬†you’ve got a TV.

It’s just not the same for inner calm. You have to understand that you can meditate and have a panic attack on the same day, and it doesn’t mean that 1) you’re bad at meditation or that 2) meditation isn’t worth it.

You can go to yoga and still end up flipping someone off in traffic. You can drink chamomile every waking minute of every day and still not be able to abide your mother-in-law.

Becoming aware of mindfulness doesn’t make you mindful in the way that buying a TV makes you the owner of a TV. And you didn’t “do it wrong” if you failed to attain nirvana within 12 minutes of deciding to try mindfulness.

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When I was 19, I went with the Jewish outreach organization Chabad House to New Orleans to help clean up after Katrina. I used to tell this story more often (it’s been over a decade since then), but back then I noticed people always asked, “did you build houses/work with Habitat for Humanity?”

We did briefly work with Habitat for Humanity for a day, but in most of New Orleans when I was there, it wasn’t time for that yet. Most of our days were spent tearing down existing structures left standing by the storm but so damaged as to never be livable again.

You can’t build fresh on top of rubble. It’s in the way. It will spoil new plans. And you can’t expect yourself to build a fresh new psyche – in minutes or hours, no less – on top of everything that’s happened to you in your life.

You will have to clear the rubble away.¬†You’ll have to scrub and disinfect and then shower and wake up and do it all tomorrow. You will. But if you stop thinking you can and should do it all in an afternoon, the journey will be that much easier.

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