Meditation: The Scary Inward Journey

Meditation has been around for centuries, and there are many benefits from meditating. If you google the benefits of meditation, you will find an almost endless list. First there is the 12 science-based benefits. Science based is a popular term now. The benefits are, reduces stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional heatlh, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, may reduce age related memory loss, can generate kindness, may help fight addictions, improves sleep, helps control pain, can decrease blood pressure, and last but certainly not least, accessible anywhere. Whew, I am exhausted already. Something called the EOC Institute (I’m not sure what EOC stands for) but they are in San Franscisco, say there are 141 benefits to meditation. Needless to say, I am not going to list them. There are other sites that will tell you the benefits of meditation, with the numbers ranging from 6 to 12. Some are into the word science based, while other sites will use the term surprising, when referring to the benefits of meditation. So, if there are so many benefits to meditation, why don’t more people meditate? Even a meditator like myself, really does not believe that meditation can have that many benefits. So, it is no wonder people that don’t meditate are skeptical. There are a lot of opinions of why people don’t meditate, found on the web. Those sites are also into numbers, like 5, 9, and 10 reasons people do not meditate. I was surprised that no one had 141 reasons people don’t meditate, because I bet there are. After reading about 10 articles, on why people don’t meditate, there seems to be a consensus of about 5 or 6 things that keep people from meditating. They range from not enough time, too difficult, being associated with spiritualism and religion, I could never do it, and I think it is just plain stupid.

None of the articles covered the reason that I think that people do not meditate, or if they start, they suddenly quit, and never really get back to doing it. One of the benefits listed above was enhanced self-awareness. This is the big stumbling block when it comes to meditation. Getting to know yourself, like you have never known yourself before can be very scary. The fear of knowing who you really might be, and facing some of your not so good qualities, can be quite traumatic. Fear is the most powerful emotion known to man. When fear is defined, it is always outward forces, that are defined as fearful. What happens when the source of your fear is you? There are many things that a person may not be proud of, or want to forget, rather than have them explained. We have all made decisions that may have affected other people badly, that really did not need to happen, but did because of our actions. There are always things that we feel we should or could do better. Everyone needs to take that inward journey in order to face and resolve issues, that have been caused by unwanted behavior and emotions, that have originated from within. Anytime, we have done things in the past, that were not very kind, we have tried to rationalize that behavior, by blaming someone else’s actions. There is no question, when you meditate you cannot escape yourself. You will get very close to exploring some of that behavior, but you will pull back out of fear, to keep from learning what kind of person you are. That fear may keep you from ever meditating again. Does this explain why people never even start to meditate. Yes, I think it does. Even though you do not meditate, or maybe have no intention of meditating, you still can not totally escape what you know to be true, deep down in your inner sanctum. For people that do meditate, and have faced their inner being head on, and continue to nurture and be kind to themselves, despite their faults, are the ones who can be kind to their fellow man as well. Even though meditation is a simple and easy process to do, and really takes only 20 minutes per day, it still takes lots of courage and guts to face and love the real you.

Sports: The College Football Final 4, Unfortunately not 8

We have a final 4 for the College Football Playoffs. The teams, in order of their ranking, are Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, and Cincinnati. The other 4 teams, that should have a chance at the National Title, are Pittsburgh, the ACC Champ, Baylor, The Big 12 Champ, Utah, the Pac 12 Champ, and Notre Dame. In my view, Notre Dame should be in the final 4. How a team can lose a championship game by 17 points, and it wasn’t even that close, can still have a shot at a National Title, is beyond me. I do not care what you did previously. Getting your face stomp into the ground, should just eliminate you. Georgia is even in the third spot. This is the way I would have ranked the 8 teams, to meet each other, the weekend of Dec 17 and 18. Michigan, Alabama, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgia, Baylor, Pittsburgh, and Utah. Notre Dame and Georgia would have played on Friday night. The noon game on Saturday would be Michigan and Utah, followed by Alabama and Pittsburgh at 4. The finale on Saturday night would be Cincinnati and Baylor. I have it all figured out, except for one thing, the NCAA stupidity. It is a shame that such a great product, does not really have a legitimate playoff system, that can determine a true National Champion.

You would think having an 8-team playoff system could be the main cause of global warming, the way the NCAA talks about it. Come to think of it, if it was the main cause of global warming, then we probably would have 8 teams. With the way the conferences are set up and then having 3 at large berths, this 8-team playoff would just seem to jump right out at you. What a great weekend, of meaningful games, that would be played. Do I think that Pitt, Baylor, and Utah have a legitimate shot of being National Champion? No, I do not, but it would be nice to find out. This playoff formula would make winning a conference title very significant, which now is pretty much meaningless. It would also give a team that has found itself toward the end of season, like Utah, a shot at real glory. The NCAA is only interested in showing that they are a powerful brainless organization, that cares little about the health of the programs they oversee, or the athletes that they rule over. This organization is well known, for punishing student athletes for crimes that were committed by coaches and alumni, when they were not even attending the university. The biggest reason that the 8-game playoff has been nixed in the past, is the too many games argument. This can be easily solved by eliminating the massacre game. Alabama does not have to play Mercer. Michigan does not have to play Western Michigan or Northern Illinois. Cincinnati does not have to play Murray St. Georgia does not have to play Charleston Southern. The big excuse for these games is that the small schools get to share in the big gates that these large stadiums hold. Forget the fact that many of their players could be seriously injured. There is an easy solution. Just give them the money that would have been made on those four mythical games, if 8 teams are in the playoffs. There is also the lure of the big upset, that does happen once in a while. But really, is that enough, not to have a real playoff system.

Despite my disappointment in a sport, I love to watch, I will be watching when the 4-team playoff starts. I won’t be watching much of the other almost 40 meaningless games that are bowl games. There are a few interesting match ups but are any of them worth a career ending injury. ESPN and the NCAA certainly think so. Remember, player protection is their number one priority, besides ratings, money, and forming moronic committees and broadcast teams. Boy, do I feel better.

Sports: Only in NCAA College Football

Tonight, starts the Championship weekend in college football, when Oregon plays Utah in the Pac 12 Championship game. There are 4 other Power 5 Championship games and the AAC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars, which has playoff significance. Before we get to the, only in NCAA football, part of this blog, let’s look at the current playoff standings. The top ten from top to bottom are Georgia, Michigan, Alabama, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Mississippi, Baylor, and Oregon. Ohio State and Mississippi do not play this weekend and have little or no chance of getting into the top four. Notre Dame does not play either this weekend, but could move into the top four, depending on the outcomes of the championship games. It basically boils down to 8 teams for 4 spots. From here on in we will refer to this happening only in college football, leaving out the NCAA part, even though we know this is all their responsibility.

Only in college football would a major conference champion not have a shot at the national title. There are no Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the top 10 with Pitt being the highest ranked at no.15. There is no scenario that will put either Pitt or Wake Forest in the final four. It is very possible that as many as 3 conference champions will not have a chance at a national championship and remote possibility that only one conference champion will be in the top 4. If Alabama beats Georgia, and all the underdogs win, Alabama will most likely be the only conference champion in. College football really knows how to devalue a conference championship. Even if Oregon would win big against Utah, they have only a very slim chance of getting into the playoffs. At minimum two conference champions will not get in.

When it gets down to playoff time, other sports love the saying, it’s time to win or go home. Only in college football does that saying get changed to win and go home. This could easily happen to the Cincinnati Bearcats. If they have a real nail biter against Houston and win, and Oklahoma State wins big against Baylor, they could easily move up to the fourth spot, and push Cincinnati right out the door. Let’s face it, the pressure on Cincinnati this week is enormous on all fronts. To make the final four would be historic for a non-Power 5 Conference team. Their coach, Luke Fickell is being considered for many top coaching jobs, and there can be no movement on that until Cincinnati is out of playoff contention. It would be one of the great coaching accomplishments of all time, if Cincinnati wins the National Championship. Let’s hope if they win, they’re in, will come true. I am not too sure in the crazy college football world, that this is going to happen. On the other side of the coin, Georgia can lose, and still be in the top 4. I do not even think there is a number they could lose by, that would throw them out of the playoffs, even though I think there should be. If Alabama wins by 21 or more, which is highly unlikely, would that be enough to make the SEC prejudiced committee, remove them from the top 4. My guess is no.

Only in college football could not playing to make the playoffs be a good thing. Notre Dame, who refuses to join a football conference, does not need to have many things go right for them to make the playoffs. If Alabama loses that may be all that is needed. If Cincinnati and Oklahoma State do not look good winning, and again you could only write something like this when discussing college football, this would only solidify their position. The final four would then be Georgia Michigan Notre Dame and the toss up would be between Oklahoma State and Cincinnati, instead of Notre Dame being in the toss up equation. All Notre Dame is going to do this weekend, is to watch football just like I am. Unless there is total chaos, Notre Dame chances of playing for a title should be as remote as the other teams not playing this weekend.

Only in college football would people wonder, what is going to happen if there is total chaos. In any other sport, Iowa, Baylor, Oregon and Pitt/Wake Forest would be in the playoffs and playing for a national title if they won this weekend. The only team that might sneak in, would be Oregon, with other three teams having no chance at all. If that scenario happens then Alabama might lose and still get in, with the way the committee thinks. The above results are very unlikely to happen, but if by some chance it does, the four teams that do get in, will only get in, because it can only happen in college football. It’s a shame, because college football is one of the most entertaining team sports to watch. it is much more fun to watch than the pro game. It is a shame that the NCAA does nothing to help it out and makes a mockery of the playoff system. It is a sad commentary when the best thing you can say about the college football playoff system is that it is better than nothing. Despite that, I will enjoy the games this weekend, with a secret hope for chaos, just to see what happens in the goofy world of committee football.

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