In this chapter, Harris explores meditation.
Epstein was a proponent of meditation for taming the mind but Harris had no intention of doing that:
- He had experience with kids yoga, forced upon him by parents
- He pretty much imagined meditation to be every cliché of eastern philosophy rolled into one – bells, ‘ommmm’ hum noises, cross-legged positions and so on
- He considered himself to have a low attention span
His therapist suggested he read book about the medical benefits of meditation. He found that it:
- Decrease stress
- Lower blood pressure
On a weekend away with friends, he went to his bedroom and decided to give it a go. He simply focused on his breathing as he lay on the ground. If his mind wandered, just forgave himself and went back to focus on his breathing. He tried it for 5 mins and found that rather than being a weird, hippy activity, it was “rigorous brain exercise, rep after rep of trying to tame the run away train of the mind.”
He resolved to do it every day, even though it wasn’t easy for him to try to break the habit of wandering thoughts.
Harris began to see life’s in between moments – red light, waiting in line etc. as a chance to focus on breath or take in the surroundings, to be in the moment.
The second half of chapter six is about mindfulness and I will leave that for another day.
I found a website called Christian Mindfulness (www.christianmindfulness.co.uk) and they look at mindfulness from a Christian perspective. They also have some guided meditations based on meditating on specific bible scriptures.
I have downloaded a few of those to try out.