Lifestyle & Culture

Wake Up


By Andrea Rouda

IN THE 1930s and ’40s, there was a Lucky Strike ad that claimed doctors prescribed smoking cigarettes as a good way to relax and achieve health. Then it was discovered that actually they were a good way to get sick and die.

Doctors are not gods, gurus or seers. Some are clueless about what really helps in many situations. For example, they rarely suggest the practice of meditation as a legitimate route to wellness.

Unfortunately, not many people engage in meditation on a regular basis. Instead, a lot of us are hooked on a raft of serial TV dramas. Even reading books has fallen by the wayside for the average American, including those of us who made our way through gigantic tomes like Beowulf and Moby Dick in high school and college.

I’m one of those average Americans who no longer reads books for an hour a day and instead plays Words With Friends on my iPhone, telling myself that it’s good for my brain and since my mother died of Alzheimer’s I pretty much have to do it. This is, of course, hogwash.

Fortunately I was recently introduced to the wisdom of Sam Harris, which he dispenses in a podcast called Making Sense and an online meditation class called Waking Up. His observations on how we squander our thoughts and thereby waste our precious time have been helpful in calming my anxiety, dissipating my anger and most importantly, relieving my pervasive sadness. Google Sam and sign up for a free trial.

—Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid

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