At its most effective, group therapy is successful primarily because it destroys the fallacy that we are alone in our sufferings. To discover that another individual has the same feelings that you have but thought were unique to you can be a revelation. We tend to see the face that others put on in order to get through the day and forget that the person we are viewing has many of the same fears and frustrations that we have but are also hiding. We look at the frozen smiles in Instagram posts and believe the stories that they tell us, which may not look like our own.
Meditation can be difficult and sometimes it doesn’t feel as rewarding as we are led to believe. In his daily blog, Grind Well, Jon Mitchell takes his readers through a life informed by a meditation habit. Mitchell doesn’t shy away from the difficulty of the practice, or even of the skepticism that pops up about the importance of having a meditation habit. His posts make you feel like you are not the only one who struggles with meditation.
The subject of the daily (except on Shabbat, as Mitchell is an observant Jew) posts vary, but always center around the practice of meditation and mindfulness. In a post entitled Mindfulness Politics, Mitchell writes about politics from a perspective colored by the calm and detachment that can come with regular meditation.
This is what’s frustrating about this era’s political, religious, and otherwise tribal upheavals. There is some threshold of scale at which human beings — from their default perspectives enmeshed in worldly concerns — will consider a problem important enough to fight about, and that scale is not nearly big enough.
His point in the post is that a meditation habit can be part of taking care of ourselves in a way that helps to alleviate suffering, increases compassion for others and put distance between our impulses to anger and our sense of positive awareness. These are certainly things the world needs more of right now and an honest look at how meditation can help is most welcome.