‘Mindfulness’ is perhaps the most sneered at word this century. Thanks to Instagram shills turning yoga mats and detox tea into an alluring Jealousy Industrial Complex, mindfulness and ~wellness~ have become two of the most profitable industries since artisan almond milk. The kicker? They’re not even selling anything.
That’s the cynic’s take, anyway. The truth is mindfulness, when taught by genuine individuals, is a goldmine for your mental health. It’s then quite a shame that misanthropic perceptions of the industry are running rampant. As mental health professionals keep telling us: putting our stiff upper lip attitudes (and egos) aside every now and then could free us from a world of pain.
That in mind, a photo taken by a DMARGE correspondent early this morning at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, provides a glimmer of hope. The image shows three men sitting calmly on the wall at south Bondi, with their eyes closed.
Two of the men appeared to be together, while the third left separately at the end of the unguided meditation session. This is not the first time Bondi’s ‘meditation mile’ has been caught on film. Photographer Amaury Treguer posted some eye-catching images to Instagram last November, which can be seen below (third photo in the series).
Interest piqued? DMARGE spoke to Luke McLeod – a mindfulness meditation teacher and the founder of Soul Alive, Australia first dedicated live-streaming meditation platform – to bring you the down-low on what meditation can do for you.
“I’m sure most have heard of the numerous benefits of meditation (reduced stress levels, better sleep, greater focus),” McLeod told DMARGE. “All of which are true and have been proven through clinical studies.”
“But what most people don’t know is that if you head into meditation with the goal of it solving one of these problems, you will most likely be disappointed or become frustrated with it. The reason being is because meditation achieves its goals through letting go. Stepping back. A releasing of the expectations.”
“Therefore, instead of talking about the benefits, I prefer to recommend that people just enjoy the process and experience itself. By approaching meditation in this almost ‘carefree’ manner, it is then able to, paradoxically, deliver on all those common benefits associated with it.”
Capische? McLeod also told DMARGE meditation is “definitely a growing movement, particularly in the West.” McLeod said the market value of the meditation industry is poised to double from $1.2 billion in 2017 to nearly $2 billion by 2022, and that he “would like to think this is because people are becoming more curious about the mind and consciousness.”
“However, the real reason is due to the increasing levels of depression and anxiety people are experiencing and if we continue to face further natural and viral disasters, like COVID-19, then I only see this increasing even further.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. “I know this all sounds quite negative,” McLeod added, “but there is a silver lining which is the fact that more people are giving meditation a go and that can lead to some real, deep positive changes in them.”
Food thought for thought.