Last week we travelled to California for parents weekend where our son is in college. It was wonderful to see him and experience a slice of his life there. We walked for miles, caught up, grabbed a few dining hall lunches, and dinners out, and enjoyed the programming for the parents. The school put on classes for us old folks and we were able to sit in and think about some really interesting topics. One of the classes we attended was called “Flourishing: The Art & Science of Creating a Life Well Lived.”
The focus was on our fast-paced digital culture. The professor called our phones and tablets “weapons of mass distraction.” He said what we need is more social integration; to experience deep meaning and purpose by plugging into JOY & AWE in our lives; having a tribe of like-minded friends–like a “microcommunity;” physical well-being; and very important was MEDITATION. Meditation can counter the effects and retrain the brain structures that are affected by the inundation of fast-moving information.
As a society we need to shift out of “fight or flight” mode. Our Stone Age brain cannot decipher the difference in threat from a lion versus a “ping” from a text. We desperately need to change that and meditation can do the job, thanks to the neuroplasticity of the brain. With practice a regular meditation practice–gets you into that STATE and eventually you can turn it into a TRAIT. The brain can be retrained in this way. Powerful, right?
The class reminded me how important it is to live more intentionally, more proactively, and more mindfully. To refuel with star gazing, sunsets, friends, and laughter. To stay mindful as much as possible throughout the day–to break free of the reactive and habitual and live with greater intention. THAT is flourishing.
And isn’t that what your yoga practice can do? It creates the groundwork for greater mindfulness. By focusing on breath and movement, turning down the chatter from the brain, the practice is a meditation in motion, bringing you closer and closer to flourishing.