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Should Meditation Be an Olympic Sport?

This post was written by Anna
on July 27, 2012 | Comments (0)

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Robert Butera, author of The Pure Heart of Yoga and the new Meditation for Your Life.

Today we welcome the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games. It is known that a high percentage of Olympic athletes meditate, visualize, or use some form of mental concentration practice to enhance their performance. Individual performers, be they swimmers, gymnasts, or runners, are known to visualize each stroke, move, and step. Team performers have various meetings where they practice a form of group consciousness via a formal prayer or a common intention. Since a majority of athletes are using meditation and related topics, the question may be asked, “Should meditation itself be an Olympic sport?”

One major stumbling block here is measuring outcome. A trick of many a meditation teacher is to observe the eye movements of the meditator. Still eyeballs equal a high level of concentration. The active eyeball illustrates an active mind. It is very hard to cheat on this eye activity. Of course, physical stillness is another sign, but that is easier to force upon one’s self.

Another conflict to merging competition and meditation is that meditation requires a certain level of “desirelessness.” In other words, the “I want this or that” impulse must be released in order to still mental activity. In a hypothetical meditation event, the contestant cannot want to win; they have to “want to be.” What follows would be an unusual medal ceremony where the winning meditator would be the most selfless person and not wish to receive an individual honor.

Like most individual Olympic events, each event in the Meditation competition would be very hard to enforce, as the meditator is silent during the session. My research shows that there are six major methods of meditation, so would there be multiple events with a “meditation-off” at the end, or would all be lumped in one big group with measuring devices attached to their heads to determine who had the fewest brain waves?

All levity aside, what I would like to share is that daily meditation improves performance in all the important daily life tasks. Whether you go to work, raise children, or go to school, your level of clarity promotes peak performance. However, to increase personal power via meditation, it is helpful to use the type of meditation exercise that suits your personal preferences.

Meditation is no easy task, and empirical research also shows that so long as the mind quiets the method is not important. The teachings say that if the ladder gets you to the next level of consciousness, the brand of the ladder is less important. So, if Visualization is not working, try Mindfulness or a Mantra or a Prayer or Contemplative Inquiry or Breath Meditation. The point is that like an Olympic athlete, find the type of meditation the brings out your quietest mind and practice it—you may not be in the Olympics, but you will reach your peak performance in the important role that you play in our world.


Our thanks to Robert for his guest post! For more from Robert Butera, read his article “What Is Meditation?

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