July 29, 2021

"Your daily tooth-brushing routine is a great opportunity to... try doing calf raises, squats or lunges... to meditate by focusing on the taste of the toothpaste and sound of the water."

Ludicrous advice in the NYT, in "Day 7: Brush Your Way to a New Habit."


Ann Althouse said...

Ted writes:

"Using an electric toothbrush is a far more passive activity than using a manual one, and it is kind of boring. But I'm pretty sure everyone with an apartment-size bathroom (every dude, anyway) already has something to do while standing in front of the sink during those two minutes. After all, the water has been running, you've got the urge, and the toilet bowl is right there...."

Ann Althouse said...

Chris writes:

"Years ago a spiritual director taught me to take ordinary activities during the day and to use them as opportunities for contemplation. An example was my morning shower. While showering to think about the water, imagine the water as a divine cleansing, washing away past sins, regrets, and mistakes, so that I could start afresh that day. And so on through the day, taking ordinary actions and allowing them to have a deeper significance. So on the surface, meditating on toothpaste does sound silly, but really it's not totally wide of the mark. It's pointing to a very old spiritual practice. All daily human activities (at least lawful ones) can become an occasion for meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Starting with the simple action of watching the sun rise, which has had a spiritual significance for human beings for millenia.

"No doubt the Times story is ludicrous. I was just noticing a fragment of truth in it."

Ann Althouse said...

Mary writes:

"That’s so funny. I’ve been doing this teeth cleaning and exercising on and off for a long time. when I use my Sonicare toothbrush I’ll do a back rear leg up to my butt and hold it standing on one leg, this lets me focus on my teeth, not the toothpaste! (That’s stupid) But the general idea is not ludicrous. And I get a little mini-workout without the extra time. I definitely don’t meditate but it makes me feel whole.
You should try it, but then you’re running each morning and probably don’t need it."

I'll say:

Balance exercises are good and so is meditation, but I think both should be done without a second activity going on. I just pay attention to getting my teeth properly brushed (and maybe listening to a podcast).

Like you, I think concentrating on the *taste* of toothpaste is really ridiculous. It's savoring a taste that's just not good enough to deserve it.

Ann Althouse said...

ALP writes:

"I may be a little late to comment on this post. But I had to let you know that your blog has confirmed how cutting edge I am - twice in one week! I was smiling at black folks over ten years ago. Now my practice of exercising while I brush my teeth is vindicated. I have been doing various physical therapy exercises while brushing for years. My left ankle is a mess from being broken a couple of times - exercises to strengthen the muscles around your ankle are easy: just stand on one foot and challenge your balance just a bit. Eventually I came across the fact that our ability to balance declines with age - so I do this with both sides regularly. I throw in a few sets of deep knee bends from time to time. That damn Sonicare seems to take forever but I know its only two minutes. It helps an impatient person pass the time.

"Everything comes in threes. I look forward to the third vindication of something I've been doing for years. What will it be? I have a few things in mind - we'll see if it comes to pass."