What's the deal with meditating?

 
“I think too much to be able meditate - it’s not for me.”
— most people when they first hear about meditation

Mindfulness Buzz

Heard all the buzz on meditating and thought above? This, my friend, is absolutely false. Meditation, although everyone’s experience is different, simply provides self-awareness and ability to get out of your own way to see what's going on around you. To live a little more. Even if just a smidge more; even if just for a few moments a day, it may provide you comfort and bliss to your daily life.

The word ‘meditate’ I think has the false advertising that ‘global warming’ has; leading to people to debunk it. “Global warming doesn’t exist; the world can’t getting warmer, look at this polar vortex!” When I, or I’m sure you as well, heard ‘meditation’ it has an instant connotation with something (a hippie sitting around all day doing nothing, hugging trees) that makes people shy away from it. “I’m a busy, productive, successful person, I don’t have time to sit cross-legged and do nothing all day; nor do I want to.”

Although there is great benefit in meditating more, and has been practiced for 1000s of years as a spiritual pursuit towards enlightenment that I think is wonderfully positive, that does not mean you cannot incorporate a little into your daily life and benefit from it. It will change your life subtly without changing the life you want to lead. I promise, you will thank yourself.

How I started meditating:

It is definitely daunting and intimidating to start. I started a few years back with Headspace  free ‘take 10’ - 10 minutes for 10 days. I highly recommend it and am so happy they have become so successful. I now try to do 10-15 minutes every morning when I wake up (weekends with friends it tends to slip). My headspace app tells me I have done 573 sessions and 117 hours meditating.

Although mediation is supposed to be the journey not the destination, I feel (and still hardwired to feel) quite accomplished with how much I have meditated with the slow consistent habit.

Benefits of Meditating

It has given me more space between my thoughts and actions; less anxiety and more patience. I am not walking on a cloud all day, but I now am able to pause and take in the present moment here and there thought out the day. Those moments are so blissful, and I’ve learnt to appreciate so much in those moments, before jumping back into the 500 things that need to be done and the to do list I have over-committed to doing that day. It makes the busyness easier.

But I’m still thinking: Y Tho?

Now after 100+ hours meditating, no, my head is not clear. I did not manage to miraculously stop thinking like people assume, but I’m much kinder to myself when my mind wonders. I still get wrapped up in my thoughts and still get distracted with them when meditating. The main thing it has done is allowed me to compassionate with myself, and continue to bring my awareness to the sensations around me and the feelings I have in that moment.

An inspiring friend and female psychologist, Dr. Di Guilio, did a breakfast presentation on Mindfulness in Daily Life I attended a few years back (Reference, or to watch the whole presentation here. Could just leave hyperlink) geared to busy professional women. She said something that really stuck with me that helps me be less critical of my wandering mind. The average person has 50,000- to 70,000 thoughts per day! Thats 35+ thoughts per minute! How could I not possibly have thoughts during my 10 minute meditation? This is a slow path of minimizing that, not stopping it.

Your Mind + Puppies

Like training a puppy, you can’t get mad at the cute puppy when you ask it to come and it does not listen the first, second, or 100th time. How many times do you have to repeat and condition your furry friend to even understand what you are saying? Not to run away? Treat your thoughts like the wandering puppy, if you chase it, she will think you want to play and run further - which will be exhausting and counterproductive.

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Meditation is the long leash you put on your mind to let her know how far she can go. It is not aggressively tugging her in and scolding her every time she tries to move. The leash will keep her in from running off. Eventually, if trained well, you can take her off her leash and she won’t run away on you. Be patient with your mind the way you would be patient with a puppy.

And if you aren’t patient with puppies, still start meditating so you can be :P.

Personal tips on next blog.

Stay tuned for personal tips I have learnt in next blog.