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Dan Harris: How Meditation Helps Me Survive This Era of Angry Politics

Dan Harris: How Meditation Helps Me Survive This Era of Angry Politics
From TIME - January 4, 2018

Meditation is by no means a cure-all for our era of mean tweets and mindless tribalism. Ive been meditating for years, and yet during one of the Trump-Clinton presidential debates I stress-ate a family-size bag of popcorn. I didnt realize what Id done until I looked down to see my feet surrounded by stray kernels. Nevertheless, I really do believe meditation can help you survive this season of discontent and division.

When youre blinded by outrage, youre unable to understand the views of people with whom you disagree. A consistent meditation practice can help you know your biases. Does your heart soar every time the Mueller probe inches closer to the White House? Or do you own a mug emblazoned with the words Liberal Tears? When youre more aware of your own tribal instincts, you may be more inclined to venture out of your ideological bubble and examine opposing views. Next thing you know, youre refraining from nasty tweets and even having civil conversations with your uncle. Cutting down on wasted emotional churn frees up energy to do things that really make a difference, like volunteering. Multiply this by enough people and it could inject significant light into Americas chasm of toxicity.

I recently took a road trip across America, with the goal of meeting wannabe meditators and helping them get over the hump. Time was clearly the biggest obstacle. The good news is that five to 10 minutes a day is a great way to start. The better news is that if five to 10 minutes is too much, one minute still counts. The instructions include just three steps:

1. Sit comfortably. You dont have to be cross-leggeda chair will do.

2. Close your eyes and bring your full attention to the feeling of your breath. Pick a spot where its most prominent: nose, belly or chest.

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