My first attempt to meditate left me very disappointed with myself. Everyone kept saying to be aware of the present moment and to forget and ignore all the other thoughts and distractions. But they kept coming, and I couldn’t really let them go every time! So, my first thought was: I’m not good at this! Meditation is not for me. I suck!
After a few months, I tried Headspace to start guided meditations. It wasn’t so bad. But I would also get so distracted with my thoughts, that sometimes when the guy talked again, he scared the hell out of me! I would forget I was meditating…
This is only to say: Don’t be hard on yourself! Meditation is for everyone who wants a better and more relaxed life. But it’s like any other skill, it takes practice and commitment to become better at it, and to start enjoying the benefits!
If you’ve never tried playing guitar, and if you attempt to play your favorite song, it’s probably going to suck! Still, you will not feel annoyed by it. It’s normal. If you’ve never tried, chances are it’s not going to sound good.
Nowadays, everyone talks about meditation. Everyone knows the benefits of it. Still, there are a lot of misconceptions associated with it. Especially, when it comes to the way to practice it and how it should go.
But in fact, meditating is simply being aware of what’s happening around you, while you TRY AND FAIL to stop focusing on the thoughts that come to your head. You acknowledge them, but you TRY AND FAIL to let them go. The TRY AND FAIL is the key to learn any skill… and it’s not different from meditation.
You can meditate, anywhere, at any time. There’s no need to buy a yoga mattress, yoga pants and to cross your legs and mumble “hmmmmmmm”. In a world where busy is trendy, it is necessary to stop, breathe for a few seconds, and only then continue working. And that doesn’t require any special equipment.
Although there are a thousand good ways to practice meditation, you can do it by focusing on your breath for a few minutes. When you find your mind wandering, thinking about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow, acknowledge that fact, but then bring your attention back to your breathing. You will lose focus a lot of times! Don’t be hard on yourself.
Meditating is noticing what’s around you by living the present moment. Can you do this every single second of your day? Probably not. But if at least, you can have a few minutes of your day, where you practice awareness, you’re already ahead of the game. During the day, focus your attention on your breathe for a few minutes. Set an alarm on your phone so you won’t forget. You can do this while driving or taking the bus, at the beginning of a meeting or while cooking. And this is an extraordinary way of practicing meditating and becoming better at it!
“For example, instead of fidgeting or tapping your fingers while your computer boots up, try to watch your breath for a few minutes. When driving, turn off the radio and feel your hands on the wheel. Or when walking between meetings, leave your phone in your pocket and just notice the sensations of your legs moving.”
— Dan Harris, 10% Happier
When I feel myself getting anxious or irritated about something, I know I must breathe. When I don’t do it, I overreact to things I didn’t want to. I wish I’ve done this more in the past. It could have avoided getting angry and then feeling bad about being angry. It’s a vicious cycle.
If you have followed some successful entrepreneurs, you will already know that meditation is a part of their routines. And they find it one of the best ways to deal with stressful situations.
“I get 30 to 50 percent more done with less stress when I meditate”
— Tim Ferriss
Meditation can help anyone deal with undesired events, because it calms the mind down, and lets you think more clearly about what is bothering you, in that specific moment!
“Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy. Because many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment. And imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one. That is continuous stress.”
― Dan Harris, 10% Happier
I’m challenging myself to live the present moment more fully (not perfectly), instead of expecting and thinking about the future, all the time. It’s a constant struggle. It requires practice and awareness! Because I suffer from anxiety, I have the tendency to worry a lot about things that might happen in the future.
I’ve been trying to calm myself down by writing all the things that are contributing to my anxiety, and how I can deal with them. Most of the times, they are not a big deal. It’s just my anxiety talking louder!
You can and should include any practice of meditation in your own life because it surely will impact your own life in the long run! Give it a try and don’t expect to be Dalai Lama at the first attempt, please.