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Exercise + Meditation = Well-Being

Let's start with the, "buts". The excuses. Or reluctance. Or skepticism. Or [fill in the blank]. The "buts" are seemingly unlimited.

The "buts" I hear most often are: 1) Meditation is not for me (I can't quiet my mind); 2) Meditation takes too much time (I'm already too busy); 3) Meditation is too complicated (I don't understand it); 4) Meditation is too weird (I'm a serious person, and I take myself seriously) and; 5) Meditation is too expensive (I can't afford a personal trainer, or regular meditation class-- especially, for just sitting and "doing nothing").

Fair enough. Most of us have a "but" of one sort or another-- maybe something different, or something in addition to-- the "buts" listed above. Whatever the case may be, it is sadly true that meditation is something us human beings don't seem to do naturally, and like all learned behaviors, it takes a bit of curiosity and a dash of gumption. Maybe more curiosity and gumption than some of us have, or wish to muster.

And therein hangs a tale-- a tale that many of us never give ourselves a chance to experience. And meditation is, at root,  experiential. Equally important (for a practice that is an integral part of our well-being) the benefits of meditation and the state that practice cultivates-- mindfulness-- are not readily observable. They're personal They're behavioral. They're internally felt, not easily measurable, like time, speed or the muscle-mass some of us build by routinely going to the gym, or health club.

For me, things like time, speed and muscle-mass are not nearly as important as personal benefits that I can be feel, if not observe. Personal benefits I can experience. Benefits that impact me both personally and professionally. It may be a generational preference, but it needn't be. Physical fitness is absolutely important to our well-being, but so is mental/emotional fitness. Maybe we can train ourselves to recognize and cultivate both?

Everyone seems to be on the physical fitness bus; Let's take care of our minds, the same way we take care of our bodies! The way in which we do that will differ (exercising our bodies is not the same as exercising our minds), and that difference may require us to make certain adjustments to our routines, but those adjustments can be incremental-- consider the 5 minutes that we take to cool down after physical exercise.

Maybe close our eyes (if we are comfortable doing that), turn our attention to the breath, and just sit in silence? That'd be a radical way to allocate our time, not to mention a tremendous way to cool down!

Exercise + meditation really does = well-being!




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