Maharishi, The Beatles and me
It's a technique that has been used by religions and philosophies throughout history, but you no longer need to visit an ashram or retreat for guidance. These days, you can download an app onto your smartphone to bring "clarity, joy and peace to your daily life". Apparently.
So of course I tried a couple of free samples. The first provided relaxing music until disrupted by an annoying female American voice telling me to be calm The second had the smug male upper-class English voice whose owner deserves a smack.
I learned Transcendental Meditation 40 years ago and met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who taught the Beatles. Two 20 minute periods a day reciting a mantra to ease away stress. It worked. Trouble was, managing to set aside two 20 minute periods with the demands of work and family.
Over the years I have often returned to TM and it still works in short bursts if I need to relax in stressful situations, such as when I visit the dentist or prepare my tax returns.
Others say music, jogging or long walks in the country help them.
But how about sheep?
Calm, one of the foremost meditation app providers, has release a film called Baa Baa Land, which shows sheep grazing in a field for eight hours. They are hoping people will flock to it.
Of course, it could be that people start counting the sheep and find it so relaxing they fall asleep and wake up at the end wondering what they missed.
"What happened to the big black one?"
"And the little lively one?"
Which might be a reality upon which it is best not to ponder for anyone searching for mindfulness and stress relief.