Downtime for the Stone Age Brain

michaelmindfulness science3 Comments

by Michael W. Taft Recently, I found a meditation retreat center in rural Massachusetts. Its super-affordable price included a room of my own, and delicious, organic hippy food. As I was moving to a new city anyway, I let go of my apartment, put my stuff in storage, and went off to the center for three months. Ninety two days of silent (absolutely no talking) meditation in a cabin in the woods. There were about thirty other people there, the size of your basic hunter-gatherer tribe in the Paleolithic. Because I have been meditating for decades, I had no trouble sinking into the groove of long sits for many hours a day, every day. But that was not all I did. The retreat center was in the woods, surrounded by trees, brush, and wildflowers. There were wild animals everywhere, as well as insects. Each day between hours of meditation, I would go for a walk and encounter birds, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, turtles, as well as horses, dogs, and cows. Each evening I would hang out with a rafter of turkeys as they settled into the branches at sunset. I ran into an otter playing in a swamp, and once even … Read More