It began somewhere in the middle of August 2013. Inspired by so many benefits of Meditation, I decided to give it a try. It’s been almost 17 months and I thought it’s a good time to reflect and share what I learned from my experience with meditation.
I read the remarkable book on meditation called Mental Resilience Training and got inspired by the simplicity of this technique. It’s basically a simple meditation practice where you focus on breath and label thoughts as they arise. Eventually, there comes a point when mind starts giving up thoughts and automatically gets focused on the breath. The whole practice itself might need another article altogether. I will write a separate post for it later.
Going back to first few days, I still remember that the meditation sessions were full of thoughts and I could not focus on breath. On rare occasions, I found calmness for a few seconds. I noticed how difficult it was to attain “real focus” in meditation. Sometimes, thoughts can take you for a long ride without notice. With practice, I discovered that I become a better observer of thoughts and letting go (using labels) got easier.
There was a profound realization: I am not my thought, I have thoughts. I am the thinker of my thoughts.
Getting into the habit
Just like any new habit, getting into the practice of meditation was hard. It came with lots of ups and downs. Initially, I started meditation immediately after waking up. Later on, I experimented doing it after workouts. Even the location changed quiet a few times. For the first few weeks, I meditated inside the office room, but nowadays, I prefer to do it in the nearby park. Both have it’s pros and cons. While meditating in the room, the silence factor helps focus better. On contrary, a closed room robs you of the fresh air which is so full of oxygen in the morning. At the park, beautiful sounds of birds and swinging trees adds a whole new dimension to the experience. But on flip side, there is noise from people walking and traffic from the road, especially when it’s late.
Key lesson: Things aren’t going to be perfect with a new habit. There are always going to be hits and misses. Instead of worrying about misses, it’s better to trust the process and be patient. Eventually, things will settle down and habit will be formed.
During this period, I travelled to many places and every time, meditation went for a spin. Different surrounding and uneven schedules made it harder to stay grounded in the habit of meditation. Someday were better, but most of the days, I missed. Eventually, I decided to create some sort of a schedule for meditation early on and ensured that I never miss it. Even 5 minutes is fine.
Key lesson: Unless a habit is strongly grounded, it’s going to take a spin with changed surrounding. While travelling, use a shorter version of a habit to ensure that it doesn’t break.
When I did meditation, the quality of focus and mental clarity increased and this factor glued me back every time I had long gaps. In case of longer breaks, it took me 3-4 days to get back on track.
Now after 17 months, things are finally settled. Meditation is an intrinsic part of my lifestyle.
Apparently, the days I meditate and the days I don’t meditate, wouldn’t look different. But only on surface. Upon deeper observation, I noticed that meditation positively impacted several aspects of my work and life. Here are some of them:
- Surge in creativity– The number and frequency of creative thoughts have dramatically increased
- Improved focus – Despite all sorts of distractions, I can focus on a specific task with relative ease
- Better self-awareness – Becoming an observer of self is a gift and meditation brought that
- Calmness – I am a calmer and peaceful person. I rarely get angry and even when I do, it’s a controlled anger
- Enthusiasm– Sparing a few stressful situations, I am at my best level of enthusiasm
- Better forgiveness – My power to forgive has significantly improved
After experiencing so many benefits of meditation, I am now a strong advocate for it. If you are thinking to start meditation or you want to pick up again, there is no day better than today and no time better than now. Do it when its convenient. Do it when it’s not convenient. Because your brain needs it, your soul will enrich from it.
What has been your experience with meditation?