Use meditation in your daily life to begin your journey to inner peace.
Back in the '90s, when I was a business reporter covering the tech industry, I wouldn't have dreamed of bringing up meditation with my subjects—Silicon Valley's hard-driving entrepreneurs whose sole focus seemed to be on the Next Big Thing that would result in megawealth. But in recent years, I've heard Twitter's chief technology officer, a Google VP, a hotshot venture capitalist, and others among the Valley's brightest stars reflect on how meditation improves their lives. Some credit the practice with providing a baseline of calm and compassion that not only makes the day-to-day more enjoyable but actually improves their creativity and productivity.
That's just one indicator that our collective view of meditation is broadening. Once taught mainly in ashrams or spiritual centers and considered an esoteric practice, meditation is now promoted by doctors and corporate wellness directors as an effective remedy for stress. It is proving to be a powerful tool for addicts in recovery programs and for war veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. A growing body of evidence shows that meditation practices measurably improve our ability to handle extreme challenges as well as run-of-the-mill anxiety and disappointment.
Given the profound benefits of meditation, which include a sense of calm well-being, the ability to think more clearly, and an opportunity to integrate difficult emotions and experiences in ways that don't overwhelm us, it's not surprising that the practice is gaining in popularity. Classes are everywhere: at yoga studios and community centers, in private homes, and in office conference rooms, not to mention online. There's even a grassroots movement to bring meditation squarely into the public eye with large group meditation sessions in well-trafficked parks and plazas.
Curious? Beginners and experienced meditators alike can enjoy the beautiful introduction to yoga nidra, taught by esteemed meditation teacher Richard Miller. (Find an audio version at Peaceful Reflection.) With his emphasis on welcoming your feelings, Miller invites you to experience something even better than becoming a more enlightened version of you: the peace that comes from understanding and accepting who you are, right now.
About our author
Kaitlin Quistgaard is an editor at large for Mindful. She was previously editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal and senior editor at Salon and at Wired News. She lives with her husband and her daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she continues to write about yoga and meditation and, not surprisingly, works at a startup.