Financial LIFE Planning: Meaningful Meditation

Meaningful Meditation
Meaningful Meditation

If you ask me, I don’t think it’s coincidence that “meditation” and “medication” are but one consonant apart. As introduced in my last post, academic research indicates that a few minutes of daily meditation yields countless physical and emotional benefits … without any of the usual fine-print, like: “Do not drive or operate heavy machinery after taking meditation.”

Once the purview of those who sprinkled their conversations with “groovy” and smelled of Patchouli incense, many of today’s most successful businesses are recognizing the value that making room for mindful meditation can bring to both human and financial resources.

A recent blog post by Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post is a good case in point. In her post, “Mindfulness, Meditation, Wellness and Their Connection to Corporate America’s Bottom Line,” she expresses these ideas and more:

  • “The effects of stress reduction techniques are equally dramatic on our productivity, creativity, energy and performance.”
  • “Stress-reduction and mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier, they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one.”
  • “‘There is no work-life balance,’ says Janice Marturano. “We have one life. What's most important is that you be awake for it.”

Google, a leader in progressive business strategies, with the long-term success to show for it, routinely provides its team with enlightening seminars. One of my favorites is on Mindful Meditation, presented by University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Professor of Medicine Emeritus Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Your own meditation habits do not have to be elaborate or complex. There is no need to achieve pretzel-like poses your body hasn’t experienced since kindergarten. You need only two things, both of them free (if you’ll allow them to be): your mind and a few minutes of your time.

As Dr. Kabat-Zinn explains in a Time magazine interview:

“Mindfulness is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation. It’s not about Buddhism, but about paying attention. That’s what all meditation is, no matter what tradition or particular technique is used.”

I’ve found Susan Pivar’s Open Heart Project to be another useful source for practical ideas on mindful meditation. For example, here’s a sentiment I found helpful from her recent e-newsletter to me:

Relax.

Rather than trying [to] find better and clearer and more sophisticated understandings, let go. Keep letting go. Relax with joy. Relax with sorrow. Relax with rage. Relax with sleepiness. Relax with ambition. Relax with desire. Relax and let go of what I just said!

Ah. Where was I? Oh yes. As you’ll see on some of my Facebook page posts, I try to mediate at least a half-hour daily. I’ve found this, in combination with my daily gratitude log (as described in my last post on gratitude), to be an invaluable power tool in my daily life, helping me keep my mind clear and prepared to respond optimally to my own and my clients’ financial decision-making needs.

Don’t worry. If you are fond of Patchouli oil and peace rallies, that’s groovy too. In my next blog post, I’ll discuss the benefits of making room for community in your life.

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Sheri Iannetta Cupo, CFP®, is Founding Principal of SAGE Advisory Group, based in Morristown, NJ, an independent, Fee-Only Registered Investment Advisory firm, specializing in providing busy professionals and their families with holistic financial life planning and investment management services. You can find more here: www.sageadvisorygroup.com You can also connect with Sheri on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

3 COMMENTS

  1. There’s so much truth and simplicity to this. A half hour a day of meditation or yoga will do you wonders. People think they need to ‘know’ how to meditate, which consequently deters them. The first step to meditation is your breath. If this is all you ever focus on, then you will ‘know’ how to meditate. It’s that easy. Nice blog.

  2. Thank you Ana. At first blush it seems a little crazy that a mere 5 to 10 minutes of daily attention to your breathing can make such a huge difference to one’s well-being, but that is all it took for me to sleep better and find more peace in my day to day activities. And now I find that a half hour daily is even better. But the key is to simply start – 5 minutes of focusing on your breath. Just begin. As you state, it is just that easy…. Namaste.

  3. And when even five minutes seems like too big of a commitment, simply observing one or two breaths as you wake up in the morning can make a significant difference, opening an inner oasis that people didn’t know existed. Anything we do makes a difference, and as you found, Ana, when we find a good thing, we tend to want a little more.