Written by Parker Gates
Posted January 22, 2015

Clear out the inbox, take several calls, sit in on some mentoring sessions, teach a workshop, prep for project work. This is the space my head lives most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty good about taking time to work out, be with family, and of course eating and sleeping. But more often than not, my head is busily running from one task to the next without much time to reset or recover.

About 3 years ago, my best friend was sick with cancer and the prognosis was bleak. One day, after months of surgeries and chemo treatments, I physically felt like I was going to explode due to stress and sadness and helplessness. The only thing I could think of doing was sitting down and taking some deep breaths for a few minutes. And it worked. I didn’t explode, and eventually I cam to be calm and see things for what they were. This idea of doing nothing worked, all the way through the loss of my friend, and to this very day.

The whole stoke.d team has been experimenting with meditation in one form or another for a while. There’s finally lots of good research on meditation helping you live a happier/fuller life. Most of this research does a great job of explaining the scientific value of meditation for those of us who are naturally skeptical.

Looking through a lens of creativity and problem solving, I also believe that there are benefits to sitting still and allowing for solutions to come as well as giving yourself space to see a problems more clearly. Or allowing for themes to present themselves.

There seem to be many great reasons to sit down for 10-20 minutes and do nothing in a world where we are all moving at breakneck speed to accomplish everything.

This past year we discovered Headspace. It’s an app that provides guided meditation of varying lengths and covering varying topics. These sessions are all narrated by Andy, a former Buddhist monk whose mission it seems, is to deliver the benefits of mindfulness to all regardless of spiritual inclination. The app is free and allows 10 trial sessions for you to really get the feel of things. You can then move to a subscription basis if you like it. There are several short, helpful animations as well.

Like everything we do, I say embrace experimentation and draw your own conclusions about meditation.

 “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
-Herbert Spencer