This Quarantine has given me a lot of time to work on something that I always say I should do more of. And that’s mediation. I have baked mediation into my morning routine and have been enjoying it as a way to start my day off right. It can be difficult with a busy work schedule to get it done in the morning, but if you’re able to, I promise it is worth the time investment. I’ve been interested in mediation since college when I first read the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. In the book it demonstrates the importance of living in the present and the power of mediation in our life. A couple of my close friends also read the book and we got into a little mediation routine in college. We would mediate before going out on the weekend, before a big test, before a job interview, and the list goes on. We truly experimented with it. I will say this though, we really didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t know proper technique whatsoever. Since then, I’ve consistently weaved mediation into my life by trying out new techniques and practicing.
Up until a few weeks ago, my technique has been summarized by concentrating on the slow breathes while trying to keep my mind in the present. I’ve been in and out of guided and unguided version but always came back to focusing on the breath and blocking out everything else. Then, I discovered a new technique that caught my attention after listening to a podcast with Naval Ravikant. Naval is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever listened to. He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever discovered both intellectually with business and about happiness and life. He is a big advocate for meditation and described the technique he uses. I trust this guy so I thought I’d give it a shot. The new technique I use is unguided. More importantly, there is no focus. It only requires you to monitor your thoughts. Thoughts will pop in your head throughout the practice, but we don’t need to bring attention to them or try and block them out. All we need to do is acknowledge that they’re there and move on. Ask ourselves why we are having this thought and let it go. Imagine you are on a park bench and watching the cars go by. Your conscious is you on the bench and the thoughts that pop into your head are the cars that go by. Look at the cars, ask why, and let them go on their way. Monitor your thoughts. It takes no effort or concentration. Simply just see what comes in your head.
The reason behind this is because resisting thought will counteract the purpose of mediation. The purpose of mediation is to be in the present and with your own self. We can’t be in the present if we are resisting everything that comes into our heads. For that reason, just monitor your thoughts. Don’t judge them, or change them, or resist them. Just monitor what your mind comes up with and chooses what to focus on without you tampering with it. I haven’t been doing this method for long, but I can say that I am really enjoying it so far. I feel clearer and more in control afterwards. And that’s a very energizing feeling. Difficult tasks with work or personal life seem less cumbersome and stressful. It’s as if you let your mind filter out all the junk that’s in there for 15 minutes, then get back to work. The clearing of the junk is so liberating. And I was surprised with the results of it. You’ll notice that your mind ponders the biggest things on your mind. And the simple act of accepting its presence in your mind and being ok with it, lets it free in your mind. Resisting tends to make us think about a subject even more. But by accepting, you can let this car drive right by. Another benefit that I like about it is that it feels short. It doesn’t feel like 15 minutes. I do only 15 minutes, but feel free to go longer. Other methods that I’ve used make the mediation feel like forever. And that’s a problem for people trying it out for the first time. They feel it’s boring and get discouraged by the idea of sitting alone with your thoughts. This method of just watching your thoughts and not focusing on anything makes time go by much quicker, and in my opinion is more effective too.
I hope you give meditation a try. If you already have a good technique that works for you, then that’s great. Feel free to share your technique and other tips that you think would be beneficial. 15 minutes a day is all it takes. If you can’t find 15 minutes every day, then you’re simply too busy and I feel bad for you. Don’t resist your mind. Let it run its course so you can get back to clarity and living in the moment.