If you’re anything like I was, prior to this experiment, you’d be reading this with absolute certainty that I’m some sort of a phony who got abducted by a cult in the last 30 days. I get it.
I know plenty of people who believe that meditation wouldn’t add anything to their life and is a complete waste of their time. I get it.
And I also know people who meditate, almost every day and claim that they’ve benefited a lot from the practice. However, when I ask them about what exactly these benefits are, the answers are always vague, at best.
It was only recently when I was reading a book called 10% Happier by Dan Harris, that I was introduced to the subject of meditation in a much more digestible way, for my appetite. He wrote that you should think of meditation as a workout session for your brain. Sit comfortably, with your back straight and for 10 minutes simply focus on your breath. In and out. Every time your mind starts to wander off, bring it back to your nostrils. And every time you do this, it’s an extra rep at the gym. You’re training your mind’s muscles to stay focused and not wander off. According to the author, practicing this consistently would give you the ability to be more mindful of everything you do, leading to more mindful decision making in all aspects of life and hence a happier life.
If something so simple, which takes away only ten minutes from your day could actually make you happier, why would you not want to give this a shot, right? I decided to give meditation 300 minutes of my life spread out over 30 days.
So, for the next 30 days (almost), I sat for 10 minutes every morning to meditate. To avoid any disturbance, I’d plug in my earphones with some soothing music on. Breathe in and out. And every time my mind wandered off, I brought it back to my breath and that’s all there was to it. To be honest, it’s harder than it sounds.
Just after four weeks of doing this, I started to notice something different about myself. I now understand why everyone found it so difficult to pinpoint how meditation had affected their lives. Nonetheless, I’m going to try and break it down for you; the changes, I was starting to notice.
So I found myself on a call with a friend and he happened to say something that was like a sucker punch to my ego. Although I’m sure that wasn’t his intention because he didn’t even realize it, I was fuming with anger. How this scene usually plays out for me is like a boxing match. You punch me and I return the favor, hopefully with multiple stronger blows to knock you out of the ring. You see, I have a knack for saying extraordinarily mean things when I’m angry. Things I don’t really mean to say and will regret once I’ve had the chance to calm down. But it’s always too late and there is nothing more left to do than apologize over and over again and feel guilty.
But what actually happened this time took me by surprise. I politely excused myself from the call and told him I was going to call right back.
My mind, as if it was going into some new found default mode, went straight for my nostrils and was trying to hold on to my breath. In and out. A minute later I found myself deeply analyzing every thought I was having only to realize that most of it didn’t make any sense. Two minutes later I called my friend back and continued the conversation we were having. No harm was done.
Did I just finally break out of the previous pattern I had built for myself? I think I did.
Imagine being inside your own head and having the ability to pick each of your thought, one by one, and playing it out on a large screen, accepting what made sense, altering what didn’t, until you’re left with a clutter free mind.
That is what meditation did for me!
Have you tried meditation yet? What changes did you notice, if any? Or are you still skeptical about the whole thing? Do share them with me.