Why I meditate, tips and suggestions.
Meditation has become mainstream, and that’s a good thing. People don’t question the benefits of it, but most will struggle to start. I, myself, am part of this group. I procrastinated years to get started. And by starting, I mean actually make it a habit, as part of my routine, and not ocassionally, when I had extra time to spare.
It’s not easy, I thought about it for years before I actually sat down. And I tried different kind of methods and had many failed attempts. But two main reasons pushed me to power through:
- Every successful person that I look up to talks wonders about meditation.
When these people talk about what they do to keep their focus, to be high performing, to build judgement, they always mention that one of the key is the practice of meditation, the practice of mindfulness, and that it’s absolutely rewarding. So I thought, if all these smart and successful people agree on the same, there has to be something there!
- We spend so much time training and shaping our body, but how come we can’t control our own mind?
I’m an overthinker. I think about my overthinking, and I think about my anxiety. And then I try to calm down, to remain centered, to relax, but the mind doesn’t work like this right? it’s not as straight forward, and the worst is that the more you try to chill out, the worst it gets. It’s like at night when you have trouble falling asleep… the more you tell yourself to sleep, the clearer the mind thinks and you are there, thinking “oh well… i’m gonna be tired tomorrow morning”.
The realization that I have no control over my own mind, the realization that we spend so much time focused on our body and how we look, and so little to none time on our own thoughts and mind, was actually a main trigger that pushed me to proactively learn how to do this.
But I had a real hard time, to simply sit and do nothing. Naturally, there was no consistency, up until two things happened: at a company training, our coach helped explain a method and guided us through it, and more importantly, told us what happened with our brainwaves when we close our eyes, then opening it half way, and so on. A second thing was understanding how breathing rhythm affects our mind as well as blood circulation.
I’m a very practical person, so understanding the science behind how our body and mind works together, I was able to follow these tips and start noticing the results of it.
As of today, it’s been almost a year now that I have made meditation a part of my daily routine, and I’m very grateful of the benefits I’m getting out of it. So below I’m sharing a few notes that work for me, in case it can help someone in their journey of initiation:
- Find the time that works best for you
When you first start meditating, getting to the zone and focus is one of the most challenging things, and a lot of people give up because of this. So make sure it’s a moment that you are not in a rush and won’t get interrupted, and try to make it part of your routine.
In my case for example, I realized that before my work day starts, and right after my work out and stretching session, is where I feel the most calm and appreciate the present moment the most, to just sit there and close my eyes. I look forward to it now.
- Use the method that suits you
There are so many ways to meditate, just find the one that naturally suits better. A lot of people find guided meditation easier, as there is someone giving you instructions instead of you alone having to sit quietly.
I tried it, and realized for me it works best to just slowing down my breathing, closing my eyes, and then start by thinking about what I’m thankful for, not just in life, but small things that happened in the last 24hs, like a coffee I really enjoyed, or the gorgeous flowers I got in the market.
- Be flexible with what you are allowed to do during meditation
At the beginning I was very strict with myself, and tried just to sit straight and not move at all. But with time, I’ve come to realize that meditation has to work for you, there are no rules about what is acceptable and what not, so now if thoughts come to mind of things I gotta do, I’ll open my eyes and write it down. If new ideas pop up in my head, I’ll again open my eyes and write it down.
Because that’s actually one of the best benefits of meditating: you free up your busy mind, and give it space to come up with new stuff, so why would I sit there and getting anxious about reminding myself not to forget about that particular thought? Write it down, free up that thought for your mind by guaranteeing it that you won’t forget because you made an actual note of it already.
- Understand what is the goal of meditation and prioritize that.
It’s not about having the perfect method or the perfect process. So it doesn’t really matter controlling your thoughts or not.
To me, the biggest value I’ve been getting out of it, is that I actually sit there and think about all the thoughts I have, I observe them, sometimes organize them so I know what to do about it, and then eventually, I will have thought about all the things I have in my mind, all the things that will get be anxious during the day. So now my mind is relaxed and clear, I will continue sitting there but without really thinking about anything else anymore. I literally free up my headspace by thinking about all the thoughts I have in my mind.
- Start small, and then increase over time.
Try 5 minutes to begin with, then over time, start increasing the duration. Don’t be too ambitious at the beginning, set yourself up for a timeframe that you can endure. 5 minutes is shorter than the Bohemian Rapsody’s duration, so there are no excuses.
“The thing about meditation is, you become more and more you”. That’s a beautiful way to put it.