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Alternative Health: We Dare You To Meditate For 3 Minutes

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Public Display of Meditation by Suasoria via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
In keeping with our month-long theme of good health, this week is all about satisfying the dirty hippie in you with alternative methods of wellness. Yesterday, ScientIST gave you some traditional and non-traditional suggestions for kicking your smoking habit. Today, we bring you a challenge: meditation.

Meditation is an age-old way to relax your mind. As you slip into mindfulness, nagging thoughts of the cold recession, and tonight’s blind date with your accountant's cousin will dim. Redondo Beach resident Jay Stinnett believes that you can begin this path with only three minutes. Bring a friend, too. Meditation is for everyone.

“The rap about meditation is it’s somehow ethereal, says Stinnett. "It's actually blue collar.” Stinnett’s website is 3 Minutes of Silence. It offers easy-to-practice guides to many world culture’s means of mediation. “Meditation’s like picking your favorite brand of coffee,” he offers. “You try different types until you see which meditative practice fits best for you.”

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“Three minutes a day is more than enough time to actually start the process.” And don’t worry about it holding you up. “We live in Los Angeles. You can be late to anything,” believes Stinnett. He also thinks that starting short is best for newcomers. “It’s an organic thing -- it’ll grow over time if you keep showing up, and keep doing it.” But keep it simple. "The only thing that’s important is to clock in and clock out."

Different Means To A Zen End

Stinnett two different types of teacher. “One is Joel Goldsmith who says it’s better to do a minute mediation many times per day -- once per hour is classic -- than to sit down and do a twenty-four minute mediation. I also have a teacher Father Thomas Keating who does the Centering Prayer exercise. That’s a recommendation of doing 20 minutes per day, two times per day.”

Exercise: “I always encourage people to take a look at is the Awareness Exercise. That’s Dulcie Smith going through how you can find the separation between the mind and the awareness. And how do you drop into silence in the middle of a busy Los Angeles day.”

Not A Solo Act

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Stinnett says that meditation has improved his life greatly. “The difference between Marriage #1 and Marriage #2 is that we meditate together.” But meditation doesn’t have to be done with an intimate. Even if “you have roommates, it’s always much easier to meditate with someone else.”

“Our experience is meditation is not a destination, it’s a journey," says Stinnett, who jests that the only drawback to regular meditation is missing out on “money spent on psychotropic medications, and traffic tickets.”