I first posted about meditation back in 2010 in a post titled, Meditate? Me? Since then, I have at least mentioned meditation in 93 posts. Those two sentences would probably make you think I meditate regularly, but I’m willing to bet that more than half of those mentions involve NOT meditating because for all the good I know regular meditation brings to my life, I find it hard to make myself stop and do it (see Stuff We Already Know, Tuesday’s post). I first tried meditation back in the seventies when the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was hyping Transcendental Meditation, capitalizing on his association with The Beatles. Transcendental Meditation, or TM as it was called by friends, suggested 20 minutes of meditation twice a day using a mantra given to you by you instructor in return for several hundred dollars. It was suggested that you sit upright in a straight-backed chair to avoid falling asleep. I managed to stick with twice a day for about a year, even though there was absolutely no doubt it made me calmer. Twenty years later, I would begin to work the 12-Steps, which among other things recommend prayer and meditation. I began to meditate every morning on my way to work (stopped in the park, of course). I found an mp3 track of meditation bells online for 15, 20 and 30 minute meditations, one gentle bell at the start and three at the end. You can find them here. And I reached seventy, still meditating sporadically in spite of the benefits with one more obstacle. Of course at my age, I needed more sleep, a notion I have trouble accepting … so most times I fall asleep, chin-on-chest before my meditation bells ring, straight-back chair or not. The Maharishi would not approve.
Then I began to read about the benefits of Power Napping, 15 to 20 minute naps short enough that you aren’t groggy for hours after you wake but long enough to be refreshed and alert. There’s a nice article on Lifehack titled How to Design the Perfect Nap that gives some good pointers on how to do it and some technical details on why it works. One thing the author, Brian Armstrong, suggests is experimenting to learn how long it takes you to fall asleep so you can set you sleep timer so you get the desired sleep time. Bingo. After years of using twenty minute meditation bells, I know the chin drops to the chest after about fifteen minutes. And thus was born Medinapping, in which I recline my chair and set my meditation bells for thirty minutes, combining a fifteen minute meditation with a twenty minute Power Nap. Perhaps I’ll rename it Transcendental MediPowerNapping. All I need is some young rockers … maybe Bully or Neon Waltz … to me take on as their guru and I can be the new Maharishi.
In the meantime, it’s a good way stay on top of my fatigue and reduce my stress levels. Medinapping once a day. Let’s see how long that lasts !