It is unclear to me how to start this post. On the one hand, I want to write about what I think has improved my life but on the other, I don’t want to sound like a pretentious dope and say things that aren’t true. I will do my best to tell you things that I’ve experienced while attempting to meditate in 2017.
Meditate, meditate, meditate; we here it all the time. Lost your dog? Meditate. Can’t lose weight? Meditate. Been abducted and probed by aliens? Skip meditation and go right down the hall to the kind gentleman in the white coats. One reason I started using Headspace was because successful people do it. In Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris, one of the few underlying daily habits of extremely successful people is a daily meditation practice. If it’s good enough for them, good enough for Bert. Another reason I gave it a shot was I was tired of my thoughts running my life. They still do to a certain extent but I feel mildly more in control. Another reason? I recall buying 6 months then getting 6 free which was the real catalyst in my jump into meditation if we are being honest.
I feel like people have tons of different ways to interpret what “meditation” even means so I will throw my interpretation in: being aware of your thoughts, noticing them then continuing on with your day; limited chatter and slightly more calmed mind.
Wherever you stand on the subject and I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t meditate, science has come to the general conclusion that mediation can improve your health, happiness, decrease anxiety and depression, decrease stress, increase compassion, help regulate your emotions, makes you more perceptive, can increase the mass of your brain (gray matter) improves focus, productivity and improves memory
People will say “But I don’t have time to mediate! I have 4 kids, a husband who looks at his secretary a few seconds longer than I feel is appropriate, I haven’t gone to a spin class all month and the raccoon keeps getting into the backyard!” I’ve been there…trust me. There’s a quote somewhere to the effect that if you can’t find 10 minutes to meditate, you need 3 hours. I started at 10 minutes but have moved up to 15 but have no real desire to make the jump to 20. You can do mini meditations during the day, a few concentrated breathes during your lunch break or if you really want to go Dali Lama, meditation retreats where I’m sure you will encounter a cast of characters not soon to be forgotten. I’ve never done one but could easily be convinced to do a 10 day silent meditation retreat. Why not? I feel like I have the time.
Where to begin? I started with Headspace because it gives you the first 10 days free. Here is a popular guided meditation by my main man Sam Harris:
Here are a few videos that elaborate more on the positive side of meditation.
Loving kindness. To the extent that I understand it, loving kindness is a type of mediation where you imagine one or two people you love, and just imagine them being happy. Picture them smiling and having something wonderful happen to them today. That’s it. I wish for this person to be happy. Feel it. And you’re done. Other variations but if you are feeling down, picture someone you love being at 100% bliss.
The key to seeing results is making it a daily habit. The minimum “dose” is around 9 minutes to see benefits. The key is daily.
To sum up, meditation has been around for thousands of years and there just might be a reason monks are finding remote caves to get their meditation on. I use the Headspace app almost every day and I think my life is better because of it. Sam Harris has an app and there are tons more. Try it if you think it would help. Don’t try it if you don’t think it would help. I wish you a pleasant morning/evening.
"Many a false step was made by standing still."