(written May 8th)
I just didn’t get it, meditation wasn’t for me.
I’ve always had a rocky relationship with meditation, or so I thought anyway. I’d constantly read up on the theory and how beneficial it is and then try again, but lose interest by about the 10th day. I’ve tried all of the big meditation apps, I’ve tried youtube, I’ve tried just using books – each time, my practice would just fizzle on out.
I think like many in our industry, I’m used to seeing an end product from my hard work and the constant daily hustle we find ourselves in. For me at least, sitting still, focusing on myself and chasing some mythical enlightenment with my legs crossed just didn’t make a huge amount of sense. How do you achieve or measure success in something that has no end result anyway?
I think in a lot of ways I was defeated before I’d even begun, I had this weird misconception of what meditation was and ‘the type of people’ who meditate – thinking it’s just some weird hippy bullshit. Whenever I’d sit down to meditate I’d be in a constant battle with my overactive mind, the belief that I was doing it wrong and the conclusion that I was gaining absolutely nothing.
When this lockdown began, I made it my goal to give it another shot and it’s slowly turning into one of the most important skills I’ve learnt in recent memory.
So what changed?
It’s tough to actually know what the turning point was but if I had to guess, it was a Joe Rogan video with our man Sam Harris and colleague, Dan Harris (no relation). They mention that even in all their years and experience meditating, writing meditation books and creating meditation apps that they still get distracted while practising. But, the mere act of noticing the distraction, feeling or emotion and getting back to the breath was, in their words, a bicep curl for the brain.
It flipped all my previous misconceptions right there on the head and reaffirmed that all of my original issues with meditation were intact completely normal and part of the process.
Suddenly all the frustrations caused by ‘not being able to focus’ and ‘doing it wrong’ were gone. Being distracted, irritated or upset simply became part of the process and being able to identify and understand these moments before moving back to the breath was simply part of the training.
Some days are easier than others, some days I struggle but each day I’m beginning to understand why. This is then transferring to other areas on my life with great benefit and reward.
So where am I at now?
I’m about 5 weeks into my meditation routine, missing only a couple of days along the way. I’ve found smashing it out in the morning to be most beneficial, not only because my mind is less cluttered from the day but I’m less likely to find reasons to push it off. Leaving it until later in the day often leads to it being pushed back, feeling like a chore or simply not doing it because you feel your mind is a big hot mess and it’ll be a waste of time – it’s these days where you need it most.
If I then want to meditate again later in the day, I can opt-in rather than feeling guilty about opting out of something I set out to do. My evening meditations are typically been based around something called Metta or loving-kindness, a meditation-based around sending good intentions out into the world. A really nice way to finish a day.
The first 12 days of The Waking Up app were very important for me – I’ll do a bigger write up on it another time but it essentially progressed in this fashion.
The breath can come and go.
Sensations in the body can come and go.
Thoughts often come and go.
Sounds too will come and go – we can’t hold onto them any longer than they appear.
Emotions are often no different, they too will come and go.
Being able to observe and understand these moments and emotions has been super powerful, especially when the other option is to latch onto them.
There are two main points when it comes to the Hospro message:
- Knowledge is power
- Control what you can control
Meditation provides me with better knowledge and understanding of how my brain functions which in turn then provides me with better tools to control whatever situations are put in front of me. Meditation is a superpower and something I very much intend to continue forward within my life.
It may still be new to me but somehow the sound of birds, the wind and the sunshine all feel different these days. It’s tough to explain but these small daily sensations are far more intense and beautiful while the big emotions that once derailed my day now have context. I’m still only scratching the surface but I’m really excited for where this journey leads, finally content that the final destination could be nowhere.