Last week I wrote you a letter about my experience with meditation and why I decided to do this retreat that I am finishing later this afternoon. Today, I've got more of a grab bag of mindfulness and meditation links.
Next few sends will be on different topics so I can digest this retreat before giving you my full thoughts!
What's on deck this week:
- 📣 Live Convo on Leaving Your Job (Wed July 12)
- 🎧 Mindfulness Edition (#019)—revisiting a deep dive from 2020
- ✏️ Mindful Elementary—NYC Schools to teach mindfulness
- ☁️ Where'd You Go?—Mind wandering can be good for you
- 👁️ Mildly Anti Buddhist—five loving and relatable critiques Buddhism
📣 Leaving Your Job (Live Convo: 7/12)
Reminder that I'm hosting a live virtual discussion NEXT WEDNESDAY about the emotions, complexities, and mechanics of leaving your job. Have you tended to mic drop, quiet quit, or burn the place down? Will you leave your contact info? Ping the coworkers you like directly? Never speak to them again? Let's talk about it.
🎧 Mindfulness Edition (#019)
I thought I might revisit a piece I first wrote in 2020, with a deep dive into the app war between Calm vs Headspace, the brainwave sensing Muse headset, and some wise words from monk Pema Chodron.
HBO and Calm app is taking that idea one step further and making a season of episodes that apparently is “bedtime stories for grown-ups”. Sounds a little goofy but I wouldn’t mind being lulled to sleep by the likes of Lucy Liu, Idris Elba, Nicole Kidman, and Keanu Reeves.
Guess it makes sense. What else are you going to do with enough funding to buy 3.5 million meditation cushions?
✏️ Mindful Elementary
Mayor Eric Adams recently announced that every public school studen will be required to learn mindful breathing for 2-5 minutes each day. On one hand, major validation for breathwork and mindfulness. On the other hand, feels like maybe a cheap way to check a "mental health" box for students.
Some schools have been doing mindfulness practices for years—here's a quote middle school principal from 8 years ago:
“It’s built into the schedule,” said Linda Rosenbury, founding principal at Brooklyn Urban Garden, a middle school. “Everyone clears off their desks. They shouldn’t be chewing gum, but if they are, they spit it out. Their hands are free. We ring a bell.” A building full of preteens and teenagers goes quiet, she said.
☁️ Where'd You Go?
Mindfulness and meditation are all about ignoring the random thoughts that float through your mind and maintaining awareness on the present moment. But as this NatGeo piece points out, are benefits to mind wandering too—it's a form of subconscious creativity and insight formation. And it too needs time to incubate. I'm sure I did some mind wandering during my many sits this week.
We need to become relaxed enough mentally in order to not try to be productive or reach some goal. With habitual activities we engage in with some regularity, we don’t feel guilty about letting our minds wander—that’s when the mind can reach new places.”
🙊 Mildly Anti-Buddhist
To avoid overhyping this retreat, here's a great set of 5 "mildly anti-buddhist essays" from Sasha Chapin's substack.
Personally, after years of going down the meditative path, life is enormously nicer, but the problems of existence are far from over. I am still capable of making bad decisions that hurt myself and others. I am still capable of wasting my potential and making myself miserable.