Stop the World, I Want to Get Calm: Why Meditation Matters

Stop the World, I Want to Get Calm: Why Meditation MattersMeditation is mainstream. You know that, right? There was a time when it came wrapped in a turban and swaddled in mystery, but thanks to modern brain imaging, scientists now understand that meditation and its secular sister, mindfulness, are sublimely effective ways to go deep, get calm and connect to this present moment.

Meditation is like medication, only the side effects don’t include suicidal tendencies, explosive vomiting or four-hour erections. Meditation — over time, practiced with patience, playfulness and purpose — alters you mentally and physically in ways that support health and happiness.

We live in enlightened times: Study after study concludes that adults and kids who meditate regularly lower their stress and anxiety and increase their sense of connectedness and joy. It’s no wonder — or maybe it is — that meditation is practiced everywhere now: in schools, churches, hospitals and jails, at home, at work, and one day, when I take over as Ruler of the Universe, in the currently dysfunctional U.S. Congress.

Think now: What will it take for you to set aside five to 20 minutes a day to meditate? A heart attack? Tax incentives? A free online course? Be still my heart. That last one is exactly what Yoga Journal is offering starting July 9 on the website.

It’s called the “28 Day Meditation Revolution,” a beginner-friendly online program that includes daily videos of instruction and inspiration. The program starts with the basics — how to sit, how to breathe, what to expect — and builds gradually toward the bliss.

Your online host is Sally Kempton, a world-class meditation teacher, writer and guide to what she says is “the enormous resource of love and sweetness that every one of us has inside.” (See what a brilliant plan this is for fixing our broken Congress?)

Kempton — a former swami trained in the lineage of Siddha Yoga — explains in an introductory video online that the reason the course runs 28 days is because experts say it takes about 21 days to establish a new habit.

That’s why they call it the Meditation Revolution. Just 28 days to change your life in ways you will never regret. Go to for details. July 9! By Aug. 9, you will be the change you want to see, if you don’t order doxycycline 100 mg mind squinting a little. Any of you Dear Readers who decide to do it, please let me know how it goes. Email me at, and slug it “New person.”



Once again, women are getting whipsawed trying to make informed decisions about their personal health. Take hormones; don’t take hormones. Get mammograms every year; don’t get mammograms every year. And now the latest bit of confusion, just out last week: A leading U.S. government advisory panel says that postmenopausal women should not take low-dose calcium (1,000 mg) and vitamin D supplement (400 units) to prevent bone fractures. There’s no evidence it works.

WHAT?! Every woman in the world has been told to take both, to reduce their risk of osteoporosis. And now health experts are saying forget it, except maybe calcium and D might be helpful in other ways. Or harmful. More research must be done, says the USPSTF (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force). “Marilynn, what is your view?” a confused and post-menopausal reader emailed last week.

Here’s what I think, briefly. Every woman has her own body chemistry. It’s unique, like a fingerprint. Vitamins, minerals, nutrients and supplements of every sort must be in balance, according to what your own body needs.

So how do you know what your body needs? For starters, get a meaningful blood profile done. Get a baseline measure of your levels of calcium, vitamin D, iron, B12, etc. Have a baseline bone density scan, too. Then sit down with someone experienced who knows nutrition — not your family doctor, unless he or she educated themself beyond the few hours required in medical schools — and figure out what you need, and how you’re going to get it.

And remember: the best way to nourish your body is with real (non-processed) food, not pills or capsules. Supplements and vitamins have a role to play, but you can’t depend on pushy ads and your local genius at GNC to figure out your own needs.


“The only way to connect with the universe outside is by connecting with the power inside.” — Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

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