An Introduction to the Benefits of Meditation
“If you don’t have ten minutes, you don’t have a life”
Many people wonder about the secret recipe that is needed to become the best version of themselves. Some believe it is the ‘what if’ trap, in which they say, “what if I had x or y, then I could be happy, fulfilled or become the best version of myself ” and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Honestly, there is no secret recipe, but there is something that can help – a particular skill set that when practiced 10-15 minutes daily can dramatically impact your life. By using this simple discipline, you can reduce your anxiety, ego, and self-defeating thoughts and increase your awareness.
About 4 years ago at the age of 17, I began to experiment with mind control, thought experiments and really tried to incorporate discipline into my life. I have always believed in routines and structure and always tried to incorporate them into my daily living, without much success of course. But, as I dug deeper and found out more; I came across this beautiful tool called meditation. In my eyes, meditation was for the ‘woo woo’ type people in the world, the ones without any direction and the ones lacking in motivation. I believed it was for the kinds of people that had so much time on their hands that they had nothing better to be doing. Needless to say, I was wrong. Meditation or a meditative practice is a tool that over 80% of highly successful people do on a daily basis according to Tim Ferriss’ Podcast. Meditation is like medicine, but a preventative medicine, one that helps mitigate things that you once looked at as difficult, stressful or painful. The simple act of meditation is the ability to be totally present and in the moment.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been engaged? Like fully engaged? So engaged you’re not thinking about anything else. Perhaps this has happened when you’re making love, at a party with old friends, playing a game of football or watching a movie. Your state was so alert but yet it had a calm focus, not analyzing, not judging, just simply being and engaging in whatever you were doing? That engaged state is the peak state that would be so blissful if we could only access it more often. Imagine living a life that is lived more in the moment, less focused on the past and less lost in the future – a life that is free from the boundaries of your once limiting mind. Imagine the things you could do, the experiences you could have and the happiness you could feel.
The mind is one of the most powerful computers in the world, but we access very little of it. Imagine a life that is free from mental addiction and spent in a much less reactive emotional swirl. Can meditation help you achieve all of this? Of course, you won’t sit for ten minutes with your legs crossed on the floor and all of a sudden you’re the Dali Lama, but what you will begin to do is notice yourself from a distance. Through a disciplined practice, you can cultivate the qualities of your heroes, literally.
How Meditation Has Helped Me
I have always been a reactive kind of guy. Although I have always loved planning, structure, and routines, they usually went out the window after a matter of days or weeks. But with the simple discipline of consistent meditating, I have been able to lessen the pain of the negative narrative in my mind and I have been able to take responsibility for my actions, often holding myself accountable when nobody else is around. Through meditation, I have been able to self-analyze in situations that once would’ve ended in a flurry of harsh words or maybe even blows. Meditation has helped me notice myself from the third person and see “oh, Daniel is getting angry”, from which I can then take the necessary steps to mitigate this. Meditation has helped me change my state to one that is less reactive and more present state aware.
In the past few years, a study came out, one, which I write about in my book, and that study is about the ‘Wandering Mind’. This study from Harvard researched and collected data from 2,250 people using an app. They people had to say what activity they were doing, how the activity correlated to their current happiness and if they were thinking about that activity when they were actually doing it. What they found was astonishing – they concluded that people spend about 46% of their time thinking about something other than what they’re doing in that moment i.e. they are not present. For more details on the study, you can find it through this link.
As you may now be aware, meditation is not only a preventative medicine for the mind and body, it can also help your perceptions of how the world works. Meditation can help you understand that life works from an inside out basis – hence why everything we ever see or perceive is made up by our biases, morals, view of the world etc. We only see what we want to see and we notice what we allow ourselves to notice – meditation will allow you expand your consciousness and awareness to such a degree that you will be living life from a much more understanding and calm place. You will be living life from the inside out mentality in which you know that you are in control of how you perceive life
This short morsel is an introduction to meditation. Over the coming weeks, we will do a three part series through which you will be introduced to techniques and tips on how to meditate. If you’re eager to start right now, please do. There are some great guided meditations out there. Some of the ones I recommend are guided meditations by Sam Harris, a TED Talk by Andy Puddicomb and my favorite app in the world, Headspace. Headspace is a guided meditation app in which you can do ten days of free meditation, called take ten. It is simply ten minutes per day for ten days and it is the perfect introduction to meditation. Check it out and let us know how you’re getting on.
Photo – (Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland)