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Can a 10-Minute Meditation Change Your Life Forever?

15 April 2014

Allison listened to the 10-minute guided meditation session Dr. Deepak Chopra led from the steps of the University of Virginia Rotunda on 15 October 2013. Six months later this experience is still making a meaningful impact on how Allison approaches meditation.

Tags: allison read, balance, happiness, mindfulness

On 15 October 2013, Dr. Deepak Chopra and Ms. Ariana Huffington visited the University of Virginia to celebrate the newly formed Contemplative Sciences Center. It was a day of many special events, presentations, and conversations. My favorite experience was the session on the U.Va. lawn where Dr. Chopra and Ms. Huffington shared remarks about their thoughts on meditative practices. Additionally, Dr. Chopra gave a great overview of how the brain works and how you can use the STOP formulae to manage stress so that you can hardwire your reptilian brain to stop getting you into trouble. (Stop, Take three deep breaths and smile everywhere in your body, Observe your body, and Proceed with love and compassion.). He then guided hundreds of people through a 10-minute mediation.

photo courtsey of U.Va. Contemplative Sciences Center

The day of the event I blogged about Ms. Huffington’s work to encourage research and dialogue about The Third Metric. She and others are challenging “...the current model of success -- which equates success with burnout, sleep deprivation, and driving ourselves into the ground." On that day, I thought I would write about the guided meditation the following Tuesday. However, as each Tuesday has come and gone for the last six months, I’ve found myself asking, “Do you have anything to say yet about Dr. Chopra's meditation?” And the answer has always been, “No,” until today.

Do a quick internet search and you’ll find a wide variety of approaches to meditation. However, more often than not, I find people think they have to get to a “silent” mind to achieve a meditative state. That is one approach, but the experience we had with Dr. Chopra clearly showed me how a meditative experience can also be a state of self-observation and conversation with myself. He told us this meditation could change our lives forever and that in just 10 minutes we would, “engage in a little bit of self-awareness, a little bit of self-reflection where we ask meaningful questions without worrying about the answers, and a little bit of transcendence.” (Paraphrased.)

You can watch the 30 minute presentation and learn how this practice might be different than your current notions of meditation. I think you’ll appreciate the introduction he provides about how your brain works and often responds to stress. (It might even help convince your doubting rational mind that this meditative stuff is worth doing.) However, you can also just go straight to the meditation at the 12-minute and 30-second mark.

photo courtsey of C-VILLE Weekly article
by Graelyn Brashear

While it’s a bold claim, I do believe that Dr. Chopra’s meditation can change your life forever. I think we’re never the same after an experience like that. However, the real change happened for me in the late 90s when I began incorporating some form of relaxation, affirmation, or meditation into most of my days.

There are plenty of days I forget or don’t make time, but when I look back on those periods in my life, I can always notice a difference in how I felt. I know what I’m supposed to do if I want to practice mindfulness, choose happiness, and keep my life in balance, but I find those things are harder for me to do if I’m not engaging in a little relaxation every day. Sometimes it’s as much as a 10-minute meditative session. Other days it’s just taking myself through my go-to breathing exercise when I feel the stress rising in my body.

It’s been a while since I committed to do the same meditative practice for a period of time so starting today I’m going to meditate “with” Dr. Chopra on the Lawn at least every other day for three weeks. I’ll blog about my experience on Tuesday, 6 May and hope you’ll return to find out what I learned. Maybe you’ll even try the experiment yourself.


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