Holy crap. I have officially sat down to be silent with my own thoughts for 10 full days of meditation. Although it may not seem like a big deal, it’s a damn big deal to me!
So here is a quick wrap-up of some of my observations from the first week. (I’ll follow up at the end of the month with an even longer ramble + much back-patting, obviously.)
1. Setting a dedicated time and place is helpful to maintaining a regular practice.
Although this isn’t always possible, and I believe in squeezing meditation and mindfulness in anywhere you can, my most impactful sessions have been in my solarium, first thing in the morning (with my chubby dog quietly warming my feet). Whenever I miss this specific time slot in my beloved place of peace, I find it harder to then stick it in elsewhere in my day and find myself starting to make excuses.
2. Meditation gives me super powers.
Well, maybe not quite Marvel-like super powers, but I have seen a significant decrease in anxiety and stress levels since beginning this challenge. And its not like I’ve suddenly become impervious to every-day problems, I am just able to better manage my reactions to them. Instead of reacting, I am learning to use my growing mindfulness to respond instead. (I’m thinking of renaming the blog: http://www.mindfulnessninja.com. Oh wait, it already exists…….)
3. Guided meditation apps are a great gateway into a regular practice.
As mentioned previously, I’m using Sam Harris’ Waking Up app to build my meditation practice. My untrained monkey brain is too wild to go at it alone yet. I love the structure of the lesson + meditation of this particular app, and the ability to track my progress as I go. I hope to eventually take my meditation training wheels off, but I think guided apps are excellent for newbies.
4. Everyone knows meditation is “good” for you, but it still feels impossible to many.
The general consensus from friends and family who I have talked to about my challenge is: “OMGZ! That is so awesome for you. I know [insert friend or colleague name] who swears by meditation! And doesn’t [insert celeb name] do it too? Man, that’s so cool. I just don’t think I could ever do it! I’m too busy doing [insert plethora of excuses].” I remember feeling this way when meditation was still a far-away concept. Despite my initial apprehension, it continues to get easier each time I plop my ass down and just do it anyways.
5. Starting with 5 minutes a day is better than giving up after a few hour-long sessions.
Tortoise and the hare, people! Have you ever heard of kaizen? It is a concept developed by American business management theorists during the Depression era dedicated to small continuous improvements over time versus trying to make radical changes in a short period of time. I’ve basically done the opposite of kaizen my whole life up until a few months ago, and spoiler: this shit is magical.
I’ll leave you with the wise words of a wise man:
“Little strokes fell great oaks.” –Benjamin Franklin