Since coming to Japan, I’ve dabbled in a few things: I’ve banged taiko drums with elementary kids; I’ve been thrown to the ground by middle schoolers; I’ve done  yoga with grandmothers. As fun as these activities are, what I’ve really stuck with (besides Mama-san Club Volleyball on Thursdays) is meditation. I guess it all started about four months ago while reading online chapters from UVa Psychology Professor Jonathan Haidt’s (who teaches PSYC 101 – one of the most interesting classes I took) book, The Happiness Hypothesis. In it, he discusses what we can learn from both ancient wisdom and modern research to lead happy, meaningful lives. Usually not a big fan of self-help books, I really enjoyed reading this one, particularly when he mentioned meditation. Don’t get me wrong, I do think I lead a happy, meaningful life – I’m greeted daily by ridiculously genki Japanese kids, after all – but I’ve always wanted to try meditation. My roommate in college and I had talked about meditating (and I think tried once, before getting distracted by DDR), but it wasn’t until reading Haidt’s book that I was reminded of it. That, and going to monthly Zen meditations at the local Buddhist temple here, convinced me to try meditating daily. And four months later, I am surprised to discover that I am still at it. From what I’ve heard, meditation results are very gradual, and I’m still at the very beginning, but I definitely notice some changes – calmer, relaxed, more…Hakuna matata.

If you’re at all interested in meditation, there are a ton of online resources, but I found to be the most informative. It’s there that I read this funny warning, which pretty much sums up why I meditate:

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:

A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

A loss of interest in judging other people.

A loss of interest in judging self.

A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

A loss of interest in conflict.

A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)

Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

Frequent attacks of smiling.

An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the
uncontrollable urge to extend it.

WARNING: If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.

Copyright © 1984 Saskia Davis.

And I don’t actually do any OMMing. Just makes for a catchy title.


One response to this post.

  1. I think you exhibited all of those symptoms long before you started up meditation.


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