Women meditating
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Celebrity scandals, low-carb diets and miniskirts are all trends that will probably come and go. Some might even add meditation to that list of "in" things, but Ed and Deb Shapiro explain why meditation is, was and always will be here to stay.
From Madonna to Christie Turlington, from Sting to Richard Gere, and from East to West, meditation is what's happening. We use the term "sexy" because meditation is now the "in" thing, with more and more people—both young and old—who are chilling out by doing it. Also, cross-legged yogis and monks can be seen in television and magazine ads selling everything from hot cars to herbal teas.

You do not have to be a hippie or on a spiritual quest to meditate. We have taught housewives, athletes, musicians and therapists, in yoga centers and town halls, high school gymnasiums, on ski slopes and on television. We were invited to teach meditation in Thailand to corporate CEOs because more businesses are incorporating stress-release and meditation techniques into their lifestyles.

But if meditation is so available and as well known as it appears to be, why is it not already an integral part of everyone's lives? If health reports are saying how good meditation is for coping with stress, heart conditions and psychological issues, why do we ignore it or find excuses not to do it? Why do you think of something as a waste of time when research tells you it is immensely value?

Perhaps it's because meditation just doesn't seem that sexy. The mind seeks constant entertainment and much prefers being distracted than facing the endless drama racing around inside it. The idea of sitting still and watching your breath can appear boring, meaningless, even a time-waster, and not at all fun, challenging or creative.

Yet meditation is all of this and much more. It is about discovering your authenticity and the magic of being alive. It's sexy because it feels great and there is nothing more joyful.

Meditation is simply about being fully present in this moment, no matter what we are doing. If you are washing the dishes, then let any thoughts and distractions dissolve into the soap bubbles; if you are ironing, then become one with the rhythm of the movement; when you are eating, be aware of every bite, the tastes and textures. In this way, everything can be an awakening experience.

Connect with the beauty within you

Ed and Deb Shapiro
Photo: Courtesy of Ed and Deb Shapiro
Try the appreciation meditation below to connect with the beauty in both yourself and the world around you.

Appreciation Meditation

Sit comfortably with a straight back. Spend a few moments watching the natural flow of your breath.

Now begin to feel a deep appreciation and gratitude for the cushion or chair you are sitting on and for the building around you, appreciating the space they provide so you can meditate. Silently thank those who made the building and the work that was put into its construction.

Then extend that appreciation to the world around you: to this earth that sustains all life, for the tress, plants, animals, birds, the oceans and fish, the sun and the rain.

Now extend your gratitude to your body, appreciating how it cares for and nourishes you, how it is connected to the food you eat and the water you drink, how it is within this body that you experience love, joy and happiness.

Now bring your appreciation and gratitude to your breath. Become aware of the flow of your breath entering and leaving your body. Spend a few moments appreciating your breath and the life it brings you. Then take that appreciation with you into your day.

Ed and Deb Shapiro are the authors of Be the Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They are featured weekly contributors to Oprah.com, HuffingtonPost.com and Care2.com. Ed and Deb write Sprint's The Daily CHILLOUT inspirational text messages. They have three meditation CDs: Metta: Loving Kindness and Forgiveness, Samadhi: Breath Awareness and Insight and Yoga Nidra: Inner Conscious Relaxation. Deb is also the author of the best-selling book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award.

More from Ed and Deb Shapiro:
How meditation can calm your mind
Why meditation is the greatest gift you can give yourself
Is meditation your friend or your enemy?


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