Meditation isn't just for Buddhists
"Algebra was initially [derived through Islam], but it also described some universal phenomena," meditation devotee/ABC News anchor Dan Harris told me. "Yes, meditation is derived from an Eastern 'religion,' but it's for everybody, and it doesn't mean you have to change your beliefs or adopt new beliefs."
And I didn't! I'm still Jewish, as far as I know.
It can make you physically healthier
It all started when I read Harris' book 10% Happier. My mom told me I'd like it, and because I do things my mom recommends (remember, I'm a Jewish man in his 30s), I read it. Harris, a Good Morning America weekend anchor, recounts how he indulged in cocaine and ecstasy, loved the thrill of being a war correspondent, and had a panic attack on live TV. Despite never being cool enough to do any of those things, I found the book hilarious and relatable.
But it was inspiring nonetheless! He got sober, learned meditation, and became 10% happier. Sounds like a reasonable goal. He's also a skeptic, and meditation clearly had a deep and profound effect on him. But what effects?
Harris says the scientific community has discovered measurable benefits to meditating. Even though he feels the science can be hyped sometimes, and that the research is "in its early stages," so far the benefits include "lowering your blood pressure, boosting your immune system, and rewiring your brain to make you more focused, calmer, and less yanked around by your emotions."
Another benefit is that you're generally "easier to be around, for yourself and others." I know for a fact that my "urges, impulses, desires, and emotions" don't control me as much as they used to.