The Bobby Rock Newsletter #16 (7-15-2021) - This is Your Brain on Meditation
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #16 (7-15-2021) - This is Your Brain on Meditation
Hey Kids -
Big travel day today, and now I find myself in the grand ol’ state of Virginia, where I’ll be hittin’ with Lita Ford tomorrow night. For now, enjoy this week’s Newsletter…
In this Issue:
A Year of Daily Meditation - Just completed this goal this week and wanted to talk in a bit more detail about the upside of an undervalued practice.
Down and Dirty: “Blueberries on steroids!” Meet Maqui Berry… yet another super-potent fruit in Dragon Dirt
July Tour Dates (with Lita Ford)
(Find it Fast: The main BR links in one place)
I mentioned this on social last Monday, but wanted to drill down into the experience a little deeper here for you guys. I believe a consistent meditation practice is one of the most important mind/body activities we can establish for lifelong health and wellbeing.
This is Your Brain on Meditation
This week, I finally hit that elusive milestone of 365 consecutive days of meditation. I’ve had a practice since the late 80s and I’ve been using this Calm app for the past few years, mainly for my shorter medi sessions. It has this feature where it automatically tabulates how many days in a row you’ve meditated, for example: “10 Day Streak.” On one hand, missing a day here or there probably doesn’t matter much. But on the other hand, I figured, it certainly couldn’t hurt to aspire to something like a 365-day streak.
And so my journey began. I would get a few weeks under my belt, and then… "OH SHIIIIIT!" I would miss a day. But on my b-day last year (7-13), I said, “Fuck this. I’m going all the way this time.” And sure enough, that magical 365-day moment arrived on Monday morning.
Did it all matter? Yes. I do believe the DAILY connection time has made a difference—even as the quality of each session can vary radically. Let’s look at a few reasons why:
1) My ability to quickly drop into a focused state of concentration has improved:
As I’ve written about extensively through the years, our ability to concentrate is one of the greatest skills we could ever develop in life, because it involves focusing the mind, and melding with the present moment. But we live in a scatterbrained, multitasking culture of multiple screens and digital distraction where, in reality, we are all practicing the exact opposite of concentration, virtually every moment of every day.
Meditation can be the great equalizer because, when it comes to the practice of relaxed concentration, it’s kind of like weightlifting for the brain. As we engage the “resistance” of blocking out all those thoughts (“like a cluster of ants on a plum pit,” I once wrote), over time, our minds get stronger.
2) There appears to be a closer connection to that “space between thoughts” where new ideas and epiphanies bubble up:
It’s important to clarify, however, that meditation hardly ever facilitates any kind of “supernatural" experience, where genius ideas suddenly come pouring out of you. What can happen, though, is that meditation can gradually clear the clutter from your mind, so those genius ideas that have already been percolating in your noggin can finally find a little space to bubble forth! So, typically, you’ll struggle through a 10 or 20-minute session—which can often feel like a lost battle in terms of truly quieting the mind—but then, four hours later… boom: You are pulling out the journal, notepad, or voice memo app to record something profound, important, or even life-changing. Happens all the time and, I insist, more often when you "weed the mental garden” through a regular meditation practice.
3) My practice of the primary tenets of mindfulness (as I see them) seems sharper and more consistent:
A) Awareness of the present moment through breath: Most of our suffering occurs from regret about the past or anxiety about the future. Consciously zeroing into the present—if only for a few moments—offers us a reprieve from our “monkey mind” obsessions about events or perceptions from the past or future. "Breathe in…. Breathe out… I am here, in this extraordinary moment in time, that has never been nor will ever be again. All is well."
B) The observer’s daily practice of non-judgment and non-attachment: If we can control our thoughts, we can avoid these knee-jerk, emotionally-charged reactions that tend to color our perceptions and send us down regrettable rabbit holes of dramatic chaos. Meditation helps us see things more as a neutral, impartial “observer” of events, where our petty, lizard-brain judgments can be set aside in favor of more mindful, clear-headed observation. This is a gift… both to us and those around us. It enables us to experience, evaluate, and perceive things in a much more objective, nuanced, and multi-dimensional way.
C) Additionally, non-judgment assists in detaching from outcomes and other forms of non-attachment (which is a hallmark of all the great religions, most notably Buddhism). But there is one other aspect of meditation and mindfulness I wanted to mention here: the practice of connecting to one’s inner Life Force. I know this might sound a little “woo-woo new agey” to some, but it’s a real thing. If your heart is beating, you are alive. If you are alive, you are infused with… that thing… that intangible energy that connects all living beings to each other and, perhaps most notably, to that Divine source of creation, whatever you believe it to be. Different cultures call it different things: Life Force, Chi, Prana, Vijñāna, Holy Spirit, or in the world of quantum physics, simply Energy. But it’s all the same thing in my book, and your personal connection to your own is absolutely invaluable. (More on this another time…)
D) The ongoing cultivation of the “gratitude filter:” Once you get in a groove of practicing the non-judgment and non-attachment thing, and you find yourself in a consistent space of neutrality, then a meditation practice can help to reinforce what I believe is a worthwhile “default” filter with which to perceive life: gratitude. Hey, if you are alive on planet earth these days, it is a good time to be around, almost no matter where you live. Yes, there will always be problems, challenges, and setbacks that we must overcome, both individually and collectively. Always. But there has also never been so much opportunity to “follow your bliss” and drink in the beauty and wonder all around us. Always. And I believe a grateful mindset brings us back to the enlightened simplicity of such a notion. We all have a hell of a lot to be grateful for… we just have to take a little time each day to remind ourselves. Spending a part of your meditation time reinforcing these things gets you in the habit of assimilating life’s events through the filter of gratitude.
These are just a few of the key observations from the last year that popped up for me. Obviously, there is a ton more to talk about regarding the actual practice of meditation, so let’s pick it up again soon….
Down & Dirty!
Earlier in 2021, I launched my very own custom-blend superfood powder called Dragon Dirt. In this section, we offer tips and insights for our kick-ass new DD community. Our Ingredient Spotlight provides info into the why, what, and how much of our ingredients in the Dirt.
Meet Maqui... the South American Antioxidant Powerhouse!
Direct from South America’s Valdivian rainforests, we like to refer to maqui berry as “blueberries on steroids.” Loaded with anthocyanins (particularly the mega-potent delphinidins), maqui packs a powerful antioxidant punch that consistently places it at the top of most "world’s most nutrient-dense superfruits” lists. Early on, the Chilean Mauche Indians were said to have consumed a fermented maqui beverage three times per day to maintain their legendary strength and endurance. These days, Maqui also helps to relieve oxidative stress and chronic inflammation around the body, while stabilizing blood glucose and insulin levels. There is a full 1000 mgs of maqui berry in a single serving of Dragon Dirt. Find out about all 18 ingredients at www.drinkthedirt.com.
Remaining July Tour Dates (with Lita Ford)
Pic by Becky Burkett Meier
July 16 - Ashland, VA - The Marks and Harrison Pavillion (with Dokken and Lynch Mob)
July 17 - Roanoke, VA - Berglund Performing Arts Theater (Postponed)
July 19 - Warrendale, PA - Jergel's Rhythm Grille
July 20 - Mentor, OH - Mentor Civic Amphitheater
July 21 - Lorain, OH - Rockin’ on the River - Black River Landing
July 23 - Grover Hill, OH - Wetzelland 2021 (with Molly Hatchet)
July 24 - Columbus, OH - The King of Clubs
July 26 - Cleveland, OH - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Lita and Patrick only - acoustic)
July 31 - Beaver Dam, KY - Beaver Dam Amphitheater - Rock the Dam Fest (with Sebastian Bach and Bulletboys)