The most crucial practice I’ve formed in the last four years has to be meditation.
Meditation changed the game for me. It helped me to become more peaceful, more focused, less worried about discomfort, more grateful, and attentive to everything in my life. I’m far from perfect, but It helped me to come a long way.
Most importantly, it has helped me unlock my mind. Before I started meditating, I was walking asleep through life. I never thought about what was going on inside my head — something would pop in my mind, and I would follow its commands like an automaton.
These days, It still happens, but I am more aware of what’s going on. I can choose to act on my thought or let it pass away. I understand myself better than ever before, and that has given me more self-control and freedom.
But in all honesty, developing the habit didn’t come without its bumps. It took hard work and dedication. As with everything good in life, it takes patience and consistency. Two words most people despise because they want the quick fix, the shortcut. But acquiring a habit isn’t a shortfall. It demands planning, practice, dedication.
Also, Meditation isn’t like riding a bicycle; When you first learned how to ride a bike, you or I had trouble staying on it and at the same time ride the bike. But one’s it clicked you never had to learn it again. Well, the same can’t be said with meditation. You need to practice consistently, or else, you’ll fall off.
In other words, if you make a conscious effort to stick with meditation, I promise you, it will radically change your life. Over time, you’ll feel like a different person. Just realize that the benefits outweigh the discomfort you will feel. One’s you get the ball rolling, it becomes more comfortable.
Now, this all doesn’t mean you have to go all out. You don’t have to wake up the next morning and start meditating for 20 minutes right off the bet. That will probably be too much. It’s easier to start small and built your way up. The wall of China wasn’t built in a day either. Just remember that consistency is vital.
So when I started to meditate for the first time, I did it for 3 minutes a day. If that sounds too daunting, leave it at two or lower. You could make it so ridiculously easy that you’re mind won’t bother to negotiate with you. Let’s say 30 seconds, over time, ease up the volume. After about 2-weeks you’ll be meditating for 7 minutes straight.
To have some guideline on how to get started here’s my 10-minute meditation practice
My 10 Minute Meditation Practice
Before I get started, I use a small journal called 5-minute journal. It’s a journal where you take 5 minutes in the morning and in the evening to write down what you’re grateful for and positive affirmations for the day. It’s all about putting as much focus into the present. After this, I feel more at ease. You don’t have to do this but highly recommend it.
After that, I start meditating for 5 minutes. I do this in a quiet room — being in a place without distractions makes it easier to focus — and with a guiding voice in the background. The guiding voice is there to make it easier to come into mediating-process. For the guided meditation, I use an app called Waking Up from Sam Harriss. You could also use Headspace
What makes Sam’s app so different, but in a pleasant way, is the level of effort put into this app, it’s extraordinary; The content is excellent. Lessons are super interesting. Also, it doesn’t shy away from hard challenges. Great to check out if you’re interested in meditation. If you want more of stress-relief type of practice, you can use Headspace
At the same time, I also sit cross-legged on a pillow and place my hand in my lap. I close my eyes and do deep breathing, not breathing from the chest, but my diaphragm. Simultaneously, I listen to Sam’s voice, which has a calm tone to it.
About a few moments into the session, the thoughts will start flowing into your mind. Occasionally, you will find yourself lost in thought. If you noticed that happening, return to the breath, observe the idea itself, and let it pass away.
Then, as a bonus and if I feel like it, I add a breathing technique into the mix called Buteyko breathing for 3 minutes. The first thing to remember when practicing Buteyko style breathing is to breathe in a very controlled and shallow manner air shouldn’t be sucked like your last breath, it should be a gentle rhythm of breathing in and out. You don’t want to breathe from your chest but your diaphragm.
What makes this form of breathing so great is that it teaches your body to tolerate both high levels of oxygen well as carbon dioxide. As a result of having higher levels of carbon dioxide, it shoves the oxygen into the tissues. It is called the Bohr effect. You will feel more energetic and more clear-headed.
Here’s a Youtube link If you want to learn more
Most people run their day by default; they chase the day and let life act on them. They don’t think about it. But if you make it a priority to be more mindful, even for a few minutes of practice a day, you won’t be reacting all the time. You will walk out into the world, ready to face whatever life has to offer. You will act proactively.
Being mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to do extended long-periods time spent sitting or feel the flow of the breath through your nostrils.
It’s about being aware of your thoughts and actions in the present, without judging yourself, and without being distracted by stressful experiences from the past (e.g., how crappy the day before was) or stressful anticipation of the future (e.g., everything you need to get done that day).
So if you find yourself in a tight spot, remember to take a brief moment to relax and meditate for a bit.