[Editor's note: From my brilliant and wonderfully imaginative fellow blogger Maria Popova, on Brain Pickings]
In his poem about how to meditate, penned decades before neuroscience as we know it, Jack Kerouac described meditation as the way to pump the brain’s “good glad fluid.” Half a century later, neuroscientist Sam Harris made an eloquent case for how meditation stretches our capacity for everyday self-transcendence. But meditation is somewhat like poetry — a lamentable number of many people hold a stubborn resistance to it, a resistance that “has the qualities of fear,”borne out of a certain impatience with learning a new mode of being that doesn’t come easily but, when it comes, brings tremendous and transcendent satisfaction.
This lovely primer by journalist Dan Harris in collaboration with Happify, animated by Katy Davis — who previously animated Brené Brown’s wisdom on vulnerability, human connection, and the difference between empathy and sympathy — explores how to overcome that self-defeating resistance and reap the enormous, far-reaching benefits of meditation:
Harris examines the more granular aspects of meditation and self-reflection in his book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story (public library).
Complement with Wendell Berry’s beautiful poem about how to be a poet and a complete human being, which begins with a most meditative invitation: “Make a place to sit down. / Sit down. Be quiet.”