“Meditate. I practice Transcendental Meditation and believe that it has enhanced my open-mindedness, higher-level perspective, equanimity, and creativity. It helps slow things down so that I can act calmly even in the face of chaos, just like a ninja in a street fight. I’m not saying that you have to meditate in order to develop this perspective; I’m just passing along that it has helped me and many other people and I recommend that you seriously consider exploring it.”― Ray Dalio
I’m starting this article with Ray Dalio’s quote to consent my deepest appreciation for sharing his best practices of life principles and inspiring others to cultivate one of the most life-changing skills, meditation.
When I started to meditate I didn’t notice any changes at all, only 10–20 minutes of wasted time with my eyes closed.
But here’s the thing.
If Ray Dalio is doing this for more than 20 years and still struggles sometimes to understand his mind, there should be something behind the curtains.
This skill is not something you learn in a day or a week. There are times when you will not see any differences at all. In some cases, you can meditate for weeks or months, and still feel pretty much the same.
Think as if you are trying to grow a muscle. You will easily reach that plateau moment where you don’t see improvements anymore. But somewhere along the line — if you keep doing it — you eventually will grow the muscle without noticing it very much.
Same as with meditation, if you keep doing it you will experience differences with time. For me is the mental clarity, space, and flow in everyday life. It can be the same for you or not. Try it yourself and see.
- 10 minutes of the day, where you can actually sit and do nothing.
- dropping a question into your head without any expectation of getting an answer-back.
- living in the present.
- letting it go. And as Osho said “Is the need for the mediator to understand the nature of the mind, rather than fight with it”
Proven benefits of meditation
- Reduces the time to fall asleep.
- Quality of sleep increases.
- Stress reduction.
- The clarity in your emotions, body, and mind leading to better decisions.
- Increases focus and workflow
Below I’m sharing my personal learning’s from meditation, and I encourage each and every one of you to read this article to start practicing meditation and live your own experience. Each one of us may perceive it in a different way and uncover the truths that he is personally looking for.
1. Emotions and thoughts make us humans.
I know that nobody likes experiencing anger, anxiety, frustration or thinking about something less pleasant. However, they form our personality and we are who we are because of these emotions and thoughts too.
So rather than trying to eliminate the negative from our mind, try to feel it and be present with whatever you experience.
2. Breath is more important than you think
With every breath we take, our brain consumes 15–20% of the oxygen. Breathing is the go-to attention point focus of letting go and living in the present. Focusing on your breath will allow you to slowly reduce the thoughts rush in your head.
3. Navigate the daily uncertainty with curiosity
Meditation teaches you to visualize how the thoughts come and go. Similar to clouds. They come and go.
I found it practical to use the same concept in daily life. Problems come and go. People come and go. Joys come and go.
Be ready to experience many uncertainties and to treat them with curiosity.
4. Be kind to yourself
Don’t judge yourself if it is not working. Just think of an external factor affecting your practice and what can you do to improve your experience the next time.
It will come with time, and you can do it!
5. Focus on the positive
As humans, we always emphasize the bad and downsize the good.
The more you think about an emotion, the bigger it gets.
Shit happens and you can’t avoid it. What you can do is not to focus on it. I deliberately started to think more about the positive and good I have in my life.
You attract what you are.
6. You cannot control what you think or what you feel, but you can control what you do.
Never let your thoughts and emotions dictate your actions. As an example, if you planned to go to the gym today but you are in a bad mood or something else is going through your mind, don’t let demotivate you from going to the gym.
7. Consciousness is less than 1% of your mind.
“The brain processes 400 Billion bits of information a second. BUT, we are ONLY aware of 2,000 of those?” - Dr. Joseph Dispenza
This is hard to understand but think of it like this. The proportion of consciousness/sub-consciousness is the same as a human/planet earth.
The human brain doesn’t have the capacity to process all the elements you see, feel or hear. But it stores this information somewhere inside you, without letting you know. You are much smarter than you think. All the knowledge you need is inside you. It just takes time to find it.
Start your own journey
You’ll feel all types of emotions. In the beginning, I was bursting in laughter when instructed to count my breaths. Then I felt anxious when I didn’t see any changes for more than 3 months.
Sometimes you’ll be frustrated that you don’t do it right. Don’t give emotions or thoughts control over your actions. You have control over it. The more hours of practice you put it, the easier it gets. It’s just the beginning that seems frustrating. After 20 hours of meditation, you will feel much more comfortable stepping into your inner self.
If you never tried any type of meditation, I recommend the free version of the Headspace app.
It’s a guided meditation app that makes this experience a lot more comfortable. By the way, if you already have a Spotify subscription it will cost you only $5 to subscribe to Headspace.
Start with a minimum of 5 minutes per day and slowly progress to 15–20 minutes.
Experiment with sessions in the morning and afternoon. I personally prefer morning meditation as it gives me space and clarity in my thoughts to be productive during the day. Afternoon meditations are very good if you have trouble falling asleep.
In the end, It’s up to you how much time you feel like dedicating to this every day. But its important to stay consistent. If you miss one day, its fine but try not to miss any sessions for the rest of the week.