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How Did Meditation Get So Cool?

25/04/2014 13:07 BST | Updated 24/06/2014 10:59 BST

Scroll through just about any lifestyle website or magazine, and you will have noticed a big influx in advice on the benefits of meditation. It seems every week is met with new studies from a team of researchers about its health benefits. At this rate, meditation is fast becoming the new fruit-and-veg, with future generations warned of an early grave unless they get their 5-a-day yoga sessions - with tight hamstrings the new heart disease.

Even yoga has stopped being an activity stereotyped exclusively for women, gay men and perverts with a spandex fetish. For some men, yoga has escalated itself as the mental equivalent of the sacred bench press, without a single shred of embarrassment. Not only has it become a prominent fixture on our well-being radar, but it's also become wholly fashionable.

So how did this happen? How did meditation get down with the cool kids? Like a lot of people I grew up believing mediation was a reserved activity for men that knelt over and shaved their heads. Now my friends are gushing over it, the 'here and now' is coming up more in conversation and Britain celebrates over a new found ability to touch one's toes with emphatic ease.

My take is that Britain are currently in the midst of the worst concentration crisis we have ever dealt with. If concentration were money, our economy would be so bad we'd be scrambling over left-over's in a third-world country not even on the radar of gap year students. Everyone has somewhere else to be, as if on a hypothetical lead from their iphone. Eating food isn't enough - it needs to be done alongside watching TV, talking doesn't require the focus it used to because texting and talking has become as natural as breathing.

Even sex, notoriously famous for holding people's attention span, is under threat from an online ocean of porn so big it recently beat senseless Nuts Magazine and forced it into closure. My Dad putting on his vinyl record of Dark Side Of The Moon, lying on his bed and listening to it for its full length, has been replaced by me skipping my ipod forward to the 'good part' of a Knife Party tune.

Of course, this has been happening for quite some time now in the 21st century, but I'm starting to get the impression people are not only fed up of other people not giving them their full attention, but fed up with themselves.

It's like being in the midst of a book in its closing stages, you're reading and taking in the words until your mind wonders and you realize you just went over two pages without taking in a single word. Then you're shocked, because the book mentions something unexpected but you didn't even notice because you weren't taking it in. Scratching your head in confusion, you go back and read the chapter again.

Except in life you can't go back, and you're left confused because you weren't paying attention to what was going on. This was me, until I tuned into meditation. After a year of sitting still as much as I could and doing nothing, my conversations are deeper, people open my mind more and I can focus on things better. In fact as I write this it's only been 30 seconds since I last checked my phone.

What meditation does is draw a line between your thoughts and the things you can feel, see and hear. It doesn't stop you thinking, it just turns your thoughts into a noisy neighbor you can sometimes listen to and sometimes ignore while you're enjoying yourself on your own premises.

If everyone were to dedicate a certain amount of time each day to meditation, I suspect we'd be see a little less texting and a little more focus on the conversation in hand. Don't let life be that book you couldn't read because you were too busy thinking of tomorrow.