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Meditation Productivity Sigh

The Matt Murdock Meditation

Daredevil’s real superpower

Introduction

As far as Super heroes go, Daredevil is definitely my favourite. Daredevil, secretly Matt Murdock, has motivations that go beyond the vague outlines of responsibility and guilt. While the devil of hell’s kitchen obviously believes in the notion of ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’, he has on several accounts shown the willingness to cross the boundaries that these responsibilities and sometimes even has. He is guided by a sense of justice (Matt Murdock is an excellent attorney) and religious mythos.  A devout catholic, Matt Murdock views his powers as a parcel (he hesitates to call it a gift sometimes) from god, as a way to carry out god’s will in his own city, but since God doesn’t get his hands dirty, the Devil is the one that punishes mortal sin, hence the persona of Daredevil. Matt’s ‘powers’ are in the form of enhanced senses, exposure to radiation as a child left him blind, but enhanced all of his other senses, as a result of this, Matt has a type of sonar and sense that allows him to picture his surroundings, his sense of touch is so acute that he can sense changes is temperature or air pressure, his sense of smell allows him to track down criminals or allies when needed and all these senses combined make him a human polygraph, being able to pick up the tiniest of tells and giveaways.

On several occasions. Whether it is in the comics or the Netflix Show, Matt has harnessed the power of meditation to fulfil certain purposes, to heal or to think clearly. Based on Matt’s reported childhood, his enhanced senses weren’t always beneficial to him, rather he had to learn to tune the unnecessary stuff out, the superpower was once the cause of sensory overload and anxiety. Essentially, Matt has to constantly pay attention and concentrate to live life as a normal inconspicuous human, something that has definitely become easier over the years of doing it, but still requires effort. In meditation circles and lingo, this act of paying attention and concentrating is called Mindfulness.

Mindfulness

With the growth of the popularity of Meditation and several different meditation services coming up, Mindfulness is a word that has heavily been associated with meditation, to some extent many people have started regarding it as the only benefit and form of meditation, which is not true. Meditation can be done for several reasons, and it is performed in several forms, such as Spiritual Meditation -> Which emphasises on connecting to a ‘higher power’ or amplifying the power of the soul; or Movement meditation which, unlike spiritual or mindful meditation is carried out while walking, moving and carrying out other physical activities. Some people believe that Mindfulness is not a form of meditation at all, such as Melissa Eisler from the Chopra team that says the two aren’t interchangeable terms, and while Mindfulness is a definite benefit of meditation, it is not the same thing. Author, podcast host and TV Host Dan Harris defines Mindfulness as ‘the ability to be aware of what’s going on in your mind at any given moment without being carried away by it’

Taking from him, and some other sources, I’d say that Mindfulness is the quality and ability of being aware about your internal and external environments. These seems very easy by the sound of it, “Of course I’m aware of my internal and external environments – I’m sitting in bed with my phone in my hand and my shoulder against the bed, I feel bored and this wonderful article by The Puranik is the only light in my life right now” – but it goes deeper than that, mindfulness isn’t about knowing your feelings and your mind at a time when you’re calm, tired and happy, it’s about being aware  of your emotions as they develop, a mindful person can literally feel their anger rise and choose to not let it do something explosive, a mindful person can feel and acknowledge their emotions without letting them affect their behaviour unless they choose to do so, the result is a person that gives themselves time to process emotions before acting on them –  a person that lives alongside his emotions, rather than under them. This extends to your external environment too, not as deeply as realising your emotions and guiding them, but rather as being aware of all the information you’re getting from your multiple senses, understanding and acknowledging this information, calming you and your body in the process to optimise your body’s ability to sense.

Daredevil’s Mindfulness

In Season 1 Episode 7 of Netflix’s Daredevil, we see a young Matt struggling to deal with all the information that is being relayed to him by his super senses. He screams and writhes in bed as all his senses are under assault by the busy streets of Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. When his mentor – Stick (because he always carries a stick?), shows up and begins to teach him how he can hone his senses, beginning with meditation. The Mindfulness that Matt develops as a result of a long regimen of exercise, meditation and more allows him to become an effective radar that can:

  • Do parkour and other acrobatic stunts to the extent that he can compete with the likes of Spider-Man
  • Become a human satellite – collecting information from far away – if he really concentrates
  • Control his body internally to heal faster

Now that we have seen what Matt can do as a result of his mindfulness – I’m jealous and I want to try it myself.

The Matt Murdock Meditation Experience

Disclaimer:

I am not going to try to jump of buildings while blindfolded, neither am I going to try to cook while blindfolded like Kevin Byer on Unleash Superhero.com. I am doing this challenge to design a meditation exercise that is inspired by Matt Murdock, and compare it to a normal, conventional, Mindfulness meditation experience.

Preparation:

  • You can’t just start meditating and expect the benefits to suddenly show up, people devote their lives to this discipline, so I’m going to meditate every day for 14 days in order to get acquainted with the feelings and effects of meditation and also learn how to meditate effectively.
  • I’m going to be using a guided meditation app to get into the groove of it, the app I’m using is called Medito. It’s a user generated and user run application that is completely free, donation based, and provides high quality guided meditations for mindfulness, sleep, anxiety and other purposes.
  • I’ll be meditating in my room, turn the lights off, and use noise-cancelling headphones to reduce distractions initially. I’ll also be meditating after everyone else in my house is asleep to minimize the chance of being interrupted, I’ll also try maintaining a journal to keep a record of my feelings and any perceived effects of the meditation exercise.
  • I am also off ALL social media platforms except WhatsApp, and my phone will be switched off when I do this.

Expectations:

I don’t expect to develop an awareness of nature and deep thoughts that bring about a change in my life, setting me on the path of enlightenment and rejection of all worldly pleasures that plague the modern man, but I do expect to be calmer, more alert and more focused as the exercise continues.

Methodology:

First: In order to mimic Daredevil’s Mindfulness, I will sit on the floor in an open space like a field or my terrace, back up-right and eyes closed, with no headphones this time, I will not focus on my breath as mindful meditation usually dictates, but rather on the surrounding sounds I hear, and the inputs of other senses like touch (Wind speed, temperature, etc.) to be as aware as I can be about my surroundings.

Second: I will walk to my neighborhood coffee shop (around 20 minutes away from my house by foot) while looking downwards and focusing on the surrounding sounds and sensations. In no way will I be ignoring cars or causing any disturbances to traffic or endangering myself.

Results

After 5 days of meditating, I was positive that I had started seeing some changes in myself. Most prominently – I found it easier to refocus on something after zoning out – be it class, or a conversation with a friend. Sitting in the balcony and not doing anything was a whole new experience because I was now so much more aware about everything, I am definitely calmer on command and although I’m not less distracted, I am more aware about the distractions.

After 10 days of meditating, my earlier observations drastically improved. Being aware came normally now, I was able to identify and process my moods and emotions and consciously deal with them instead of letting them affect my work and the others around me. Focusing on anything was much easier, I was able to work in short bursts of focus, finishing tasks quicker, and better. Being alone was no longer anxiety inducing, it was enjoyable because I was noticing so many new things that I hadn’t paid attention to before, like the creaking sound of my bed every time I sit down on it and more. After the 10 days the visible results became harder to discern, there wasn’t much change in my observations between day 10 to day 14. I read that the reasons behind this is similar to why you may lose a lot of weight during the first few weeks of going to the gym but then don’t see progress until you increase any of the variables involved.

On the 15th day I set out to conduct my experiment.

I sat on the terrace and closed my eyes for 10 minutes, I devoted all my attention to the inputs of my senses and by the end of the 10 minutes I was in a weird trance like state, everything was so bright and everything seemed super amplified. While I was doing the meditation I was taken aback by how many things I could make sense of and recognize just by their sounds, like the sound of the horn of the trash truck that comes around every morning stopping outside my gate, the sound of my neighbor attending a zoom call and talking about sending an email by the end of the day (damn she’s loud). I could recognize the sound of the utensils being used to cook lunch downstairs. I want to emphasize that meditating did not improve my hearing or anything, these are sounds I have noticed before, I just never paid attention to them, obviously these sounds themselves didn’t make the experience any more valuable, I have nothing to gain by knowing what my neighbor is doing today, but being super present and just aware about what was going on in my surroundings was extremely pleasant. Another thing I noticed was my body and how I was physically feeling at the moment, I could mentally picture my body and how I would look to a second person looking at me from different angles, it was surreal.

In the evening of the same day, I set out to walk. I walked while looking down at my feet and trying to guess what a certain sound or smell was. To clarify, I haven’t walked this route more than once before, so I couldn’t just guess what the thing was from memory. Throughout the entire journey, I was able to accurately identify the following:

  1. The size of 3 different cars that crossed the road attached to the sidewalk
  2. The sound of 2 doors being locked as I walked past them
  3. The sound from another person’s earphones playing a Bollywood song (I could recognize the song too, and damn that guy was going through some stuff)
  4. The sound of one of those cement mixer things that was being used for the construction of a new shop

I’m not trying to say that meditation will turn you into a radar, but being mindful made me feel so much more aware and present in my surroundings, if I was just scrolling or listening to something while walking, I would have mindlessly went about my day, I probably wouldn’t have noticed that the new shop and I definitely wouldn’t have been empathetic to the guy going through some shit. none of these two things are great learning, but it was a good experience.

Conclusion

Daredevil is an amazing character that has an amazing amount of deapth, his powers are interesting and his personality is admirable, perhaps most endearing about the character is that he is constantly mindful by default, rarely slipping out of it, something that we can all aspire to achieve. Would I do this again? Why not, the walk to the shop didn’t really have a lot of benefits, but I recently found out about something called walking meditation so I might try to do that, the rooftop exercise was amazing and I will probably start doing that regularly. I recommend trying out mindfulness meditation, and definitely reading Daredevil, especially the runs by Soule and the ongoing run by Chip Zdarsky, I’m also into the Hawkeye comics so maybe I’ll do a post about improving your aim next time? Who knows? I hope this post brought you value and inspired you to meditate, see you later!

 References

  1. https://www.catholicbridge.com/catholic/punishment.php
  2. https://www.7cups.com/qa-spirituality-47/what-is-the-difference-between-spirituality-and-mindfulness-or-meditation-8282/
  3. https://chopra.com/articles/explaining-the-difference-between-mindfulness-meditation
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/types-of-meditation#focused-meditation
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wlj8St0inLE

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