Meditation is good for you
Meditation is great, do you practice?
I do, at least I used to every day. I’ve fallen out of practice and am trying to rebuild the habit.
This post is more a reminder to me to do so, but you’re free to read along.
The main takeaway of this post is that meditation is a great way to ground you in the present. When you aren’t worried about the future all the time you can get on with tasks now that will help you prepare for the future.
There is no right way to meditate. You can take as long or as short as you want, The more you do it the more you will notice yourself becoming calmer and more chilled.
Fair warning this is going to get hippy dippy from here on out. I’m going to be using words and phrases that I probably shouldn’t be using.
Meditate early meditate often
Looking at the stats over the two meditation apps I use I’ve spent over 170 hours meditating over the past three years.
If you’ve never meditated before let me be your guide and dispel some of the myths.
There are myths that you need to spend hours with your legs crossed, eyes closed chanting “om”. That isn’t the case.
You can take as little time as you want. If you want you can take a minute. If you’re starting out, I would say at least five-ten minutes is a good length of time. After a few months, you can either lengthen that or shorten that as you wish.
The purpose of meditation is to focus on your breath. To bring your mind back to the present. Become more aware of what is going on right now. All you have is the present. The past is gone, and the future will never come.
All you have is now.
Humans are terrible at predicting the future. You spend so much time worrying about what might be that it can spoil the appreciation of how good you have it right now.
Take five or ten minutes at the start or end of your day and sit in silence.
Set a timer on your phone and place your phone on the other side of the room.
Sit on the floor, straighten your back and focus on your breathing. Count each breath once you get to ten, start again. In through the nose out through the mouth.
If you live with someone, ask that person not to disturb you. If you have kids, I’m not a parent, get up before them or maybe if they’re watching TV or playing with their tablets do it then.
Whatever your scenario you have the time.
The importance is to build the routine in the first place.
There is no “right” way to meditate.
The instructions I gave you are arbitrary there is no right way to meditate. What matters is that you believe yourself to be meditating. If you think it’s stupid and isn’t working for you, you’re right. If you believe that you’re finally getting the hang of it, you’re also right.
Even I’m still a bit sceptical as to whether meditation works.
Experiment with meditation. It’s quiet time for your mind. It’s about slowing down and chilling out.
In fact, meditating and the “proper” way to power nap aren’t that different. In the book Tired but Wired, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan tells you the proper way to power nap.
Sit, don’t lie, keep your eyes slightly open and take deep breaths.
Walking in nature is a form of meditation.
This is my favourite form of meditation. You and I live in a world dominated by technology. Smartphones and the internet control our lives. The technology explosion is recent. Humans have spent the majority of our existence among nature.
Nature, forests, woods and trees are part of who we are and to lose that connection isn’t right.
You and I need nature. The colour green has a significant effect on our mind. To step away from the modern world and go back to basics is good for you.
Drive to a forest, leave the phone in the car and go for a walk.
Disconnect to reconnect.
What to expect from a meditation
Your experience will be different from mine.
One meditation it felt like hours had passed when I’d only done ten minutes. It felt like I had just woken up from a great sleep, totally refreshed and full of energy.
Meditation is almost like a deep sleep in waking state. I don’t always have that experience but when I do it feels like my mind has opened. Through repeated meditation, you’re increasing the chances of having an experience like that.
My hypothesis on the point of meditation
I’m going to make an analogy comparing brains to computers. This won’t be that persuasive but bear with me on this one.
When you meditate, I consider it to be cleaning out the recycle bin on your desktop. It’s uninstalling the unused apps on your phone. That unnecessary noise your brain picks up throughout the day. You may not notice but it clogs your mind. After a while, you can’t concentrate. Like when you have a load of tabs open and the computer grinds to a halt. You meditate as a form of task killing.
This is why I’m building the habit of avoiding my phone until noon. As soon as you let a little in it comes in flood.
You open an email, follow a link that leads to twitter. That tweet leads to Facebook that leads to Youtube. You click on a suggested video before you know it you are in a comatose state of endless scrolling.
Meditation is a form of safeguarding against the background noise that gets louder throughout the day.
There are a few apps that you can use to get started in meditation. There is Headspace. I don’t know about you, but the guy’s voice began to grate after a while. It has a paid subscription that you can use, but I can’t really recommend the service.
I bought a two-year subscription that still has a few months to go but I don’t use the app anymore.
I recommend Stop, Breath and Think. It has a load of free meditations and is easy enough to use. They’re moving into the paid subscription space, but you don’t need to use that.
There is also this guided meditation on Youtube.
Hope that you found this helpful and that at some point you’ll come round to the idea of meditating.
On Thursday I’ll be talking about gratitude.
See you then.