What Convinced Me to Start Advocating For Meditation
How meditation makes my life better
Counting today, I just finished a daily meditation streak of 30 days. This may not sound like a big deal. I have been meditating on and off for the past ten years. I’ve done a bunch of different types of meditation and I try not to proselytize. Meditation is getting enough press – I figured you’d do it if you were interested. So what changed?
This month reminded me that meditation may be one of the easiest and cheapest paths to mastering yourself and thus your life. After a month of meditating every day, I am calmer, slower, and happier. Who I am this month is much closer to the person I want to be. Who I am this month is much closer to the person I want people to remember at my funeral.
This month meditation helped me:
Move forward on projects
Pause to appreciate the beauty of our wild exploding red rose bushes
Discover a snail sliding along the bricks
Deal with hard things while remaining even keeled
Why meditation is hard
You’ve probably read at least one article crowing about meditation. Maybe you’ve tried it, maybe you’re on a good stretch, maybe you’ve started and stopped. I’ve been there. There is a lot that gets in the way of meditating consistently. It is hard to start meditating. It’s hard to meditate regularly, even when you believe it works. Research suggests that people who are just starting meditation may be thrown off by doubts that meditation won’t “work” and frustration that their mind isn’t doing it right.
Which of these statements look familiar to you (adapted from the Early Meditation Hindrances Scale by Russ, Maruyama, Sease, & Jellema, 2017)?
Meditation doesn’t work for me, I don’t feel calmer when I do it.
My mind is way too active for meditation.
I don’t see how counting your breaths can actually make your life better.
I’m not spiritual, I don’t think meditation would work for me.
Meditation is easy to describe and hard to do. And it gets easier. Everyone feels these things, I promise. Everyone has an active talkative mind. And yet meditation can be a tool to train this wild mind.
Inspiration to Meditation
Leonardo da Vinci said, "You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself … the height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment."
Meditation teaches you to know your mind and emotions without being ruled by them. It trains you to act from a place of intention and calm. Meditation can help you handle stress, be kind to yourself and others, and help you perform at your intellectual peak. So how do we start?
Here are a few apps that I like:
Headspace - A ton of people like this one - very accessible with free starter pack. (One of my buddies has been using Headspace daily for 5 years! now that’s an endorsement.)
Waking Up with Sam Harris - My own daily app of choice, I’ve been impressed with the 50 day starter package, guided meditations that lead you through breath focused meditation, open awareness practice, and compassion work.
Calm - this is a nice option for people looking for a timer, pleasant nature scenes and sounds too.
Stop Breathe & Think - my good friend loves this one, I enjoy the kids version.
Insight Timer - industry standard, one of the only truly free libraries of experts guided meditation.
And a few more suggestions from the fabulous Neighborhood Meditation Group
Soulvana App : Excerpt from their description “Connect with the world’s best spiritual teachers, healers and thousands of evolved people like you on the most transformational online group meditations, chakra healing, sound therapy, manifestation sessions and spiritual experiences on the planet.”
Simple Habit: Excerpt from their description: “the best meditation app for busy people. Breathe easy and relax with guided meditation chosen for your life and situation. Meditate for just 5 minutes a day to reduce stress, improve focus, sleep better, relax faster, breathe easier, and more.”
More to come in the weeks ahead. Till then, wishing you joy and peace.