M E D I T A T I O N
If you're anything like me, it can feel impossible to quiet the mind. I constantly have 10,000 tabs open and my mind jumps from one to the next to the next to the... Wait, what was I talking about??
This frenzied pace can be draining! Emotionally/physically/mentally draining. It's particularly problematic when you're lying in bed desperate for ZZZs. Isn't it maddening when all you want is to slide into dreamland, and your mind is buzzing?? Torturous, it really is.
And/or maybe you feel the days' stresses getting to you throughout the week. You constantly feel like you're in a reactive state, and just need to come down from all of it. Back to steady. Back to good. Back to zen (or at least some semblance of it!).
Or maybe you're facing a major issue/problem, and unsure what to do. Internationally-acclaimed business guru, speaker, author, and productivity expert Brian Tracy advises whenever you have a problem, an obstacle, a frustration, or a challenge in your life, you should sit quietly in silence for 30 to 60 minutes. In his Get Smart book (amazing book - I'll link it under resources), he asserts, "The very first time you do this, almost without exception, the answer to your biggest problem will come to you, almost like a butterfly alighting on your shoulder." He adds, "Many of my students report to me that problems that had concerned them for weeks or months were almost instantly resolved by their first practice of a session in solitude." He further promises your answer that comes will be complete in every way and will address every detail of the problem or difficulty. It will be simple, clear, and entirely within your capabilities to act. When you apply the solution, everything will immediately resolve itself.
Tracy acknowledges your first session in solitude may be extremely difficult. You'll almost have to hold yourself down for the first 20 to 25 minutes. KEEP AT IT, because then your stresses will melt away and you will enter complete relaxation. Uh, yeah! Sign me up! At this point, your mind will begin to flow with thoughts, ideas, insights, perspectives, solutions to problems, and other inspirations, any of which may change your life!
For years I intended to meditate. I knew of its wide-ranging benefits (enhanced memory, improved sleep, heightened energy, regulated emotions, etc!). I'd had doctors recommend it to me. I think I resisted it for so long because: 1. transitioning from hyperactive mind to quiet mind seemed too daunting; and 2. I always justified a better use of my limited time. Finally, after yet another wildly successful person attributed their success to meditation, I decided to give it a go.
The shocking part?? It was SO MUCH EASIER than I expected! It was as if my mind breathed a massive sigh of relief. I started with 15 minutes, and am now up to 30 minutes. From the first session, I started actually looking forward to it!
One meditation method does not fit all. You have so many options! You have moving meditation, guided meditation, silent meditation, etc. Explore, experiment, and find what works for you! For each session, I personally set an intention or two, and meditate for clarity/guidance/peace. Then I just sit comfortably (comfort is key!) and focus on my breath. I'll focus on relevant affirmations. If my mind wanders, I'll gently encourage it to return to the present. That's really helped me - adopting a laid-back approach and not getting hyped up if my mind wanders or a distraction arises (cue barking dogs!). There are many meditation apps to simplify the process. I'll list some below.
However, as Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche notes, "Meditation is not just for relaxation. Its primary purpose is to develop the capacity to respond skillfully and gracefully to life's difficulties as well as its joys." It allows you to be mindful and live in the moment.
Meditation helps you live a proactive instead of a reactive life. Still not sold? Put it this way: Meditation helps you create and live the life you want, instead of the life others create for you. It helps you decrease emotional reactivity. As Tim Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Workweek and Tribe of Mentors, and host of the Tim Ferriss Podcast) puts it, it helps you pause before blowing up, helping you "actually get the result you want, instead of the conflict that might be very gratifying for a second then creates a whole host of other issues for yourself." Win win!
All of this still may not resonate with you. I get it. Or maybe you're unsure of where to start. The easiest place is using the app called Headspace. Simply do the "10 and 10" which is 10 minutes for 10 straight days. That's it! You'll get a taste of what meditation can do for you.
Meditation has the power to improve every single aspect of your life. And when you finally do get to it - you'll wish you started it sooner. TRUST.
R E S O U R C E S:
Get Smart by Brian Tracy
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
The Model Health Show: The 5 Biggest Myths about Meditation with Light Watkins
Headspace (iOS, Android, Web)
Insight Timer (iOS, Android)
Stop, Breathe, and Think (iOS, Android, Web)
Take A Break! (iOS, Android, Web)