2 Sides Of The Same Coin: Materialism And Meditation

The growth of technology is paradoxically intertwined with the increasing awareness of mental clarity and ‘stillness’ as shown in activities such as meditation.

As technology continues to grow and machinery becomes ever more advanced (ala Crispr, and Artificial Intelligence) so is the rise of life coaches, meditation techniques and Yoga classes.

As we come closer and closer to merging with technology, we are also becoming more interested and intertwined with achieving a ‘clear and peaceful’ state of mind.

It is kind of paradoxical to think (and see) the exponential growth of technology and the increasing amount of people who strive for ‘mental gainz.’ It’s like we are all chasing for the newest cell phone and the most advanced drones all the while trying to reach enlightenment.

It is without a doubt that meditation can relieve stress and physically alter parts of your brain. [1] In an article done by the Washington Post, it was revealed that yoga (and meditation) can increase the amount of gray matter in certain parts of the brain. These areas of the brain corresponded to the control of senses, memory and decision making.

But despite the increasing popularity in books, apps, articles, and videos in regards to how to practice meditation there still seems to be a lack of ‘enlightened’ people out in public.

Is this because we are practicing meditation the wrong way or simply because the characteristics of materialism are just too tempting?

Or maybe, most people AREN’T practicing meditation, and they are merely pretending to be ‘enlightened’ or ‘#woke’ for social media.

But a look around the (western) world will reveal that those who do have all these possessions and material goods are not truly happy or sufficiently fulfilled.

Time and time again we see celebrities (whom we believe to be truly happy since they have all the material goods one could want: money, sex and fame) end their lives despite the high regard that we hold them in. (I argue that fame is a material, tangible good since fame can be measured by things such as Grammy awards, Instagram followers, or movie appearances.)

This is pretty indicative that material possessions don’t make us happy (yes, they can buy you lots of cool stuff) but why is it that so many of us refuse to give our brains 10 to 15 minutes a day to wind down (not counting sleep.) Or why is it that more people are interested in the newest iPhone as opposed to the newest techniques in thoughtfulness?

Meditation can be anything. It doesn’t necessarily have to be reduced to sitting on an uncomfortable cushion with your arms crossed and eyes closed. It can simply be performing a task that helps you relieve stress and ‘wind down.’

In a recent podcast on the Joe Rogan Experience, Tom Papa and the great Joe Rogan himself had a brief conversation in regards to meditation.

Tom Papa regarded his love of bread making as a sort of meditation. The act of making bread was something that he thoroughly enjoyed and considered relaxing. On the other hand, Joe believed that kickboxing could be a type of ‘moving meditation’ since it requires your utmost attention to be present (who likes being kicked in the face?)

And that’s exactly what meditation is. Being present. It’s not so much focusing on a breath, or reciting a mantra. It is the ability to stay present and NOT multitask. Too often do we have too many tabs open, too many goals in mind and too many thoughts running through our head. Meditation can simply be doing a task that forces you to do that one task only.

Who knows, maybe the combination of technology and biology in the future will inevitably lead to a simulated mind that can achieve perpetual ‘stillness’ and ‘present-ness’ while remaining efficient in society.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/?utm_term=.b419fcc2d771

 

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