I was always curious to try meditation so eventually I would get inspired and start, then after some failed attempts I would give up. I wanted to be the smart one, trying to do a Lotus pose for extended time (Ended up with the numb leg and pain to follow for weeks). Tried to do smart programs like Brain Evolution System which had a great impact on me but restrained me to the long timings (every session would take at least 30 min) and I could not simply find half an hour every day for it which eventually led to giving up.
Why bother you may ask?
“It’s really good if you’ve had addiction issues. Meditation is highly psychological, and very beautiful, and overwhelming, and real, and trippy!” — Russell Brand
Good question. This is an unconventional practise and may not be for everyone. In fact for those who are unaware of the benefits it may seem like a waste of time and a silly thing to do. People may laugh about it, which is why some individuals tend not to share it at all.
Steve Jobs used to meditate regularly, Hugh Jackman is big on it too. Cameron Diaz is a long term fan of this practise together with Sir Paul McCartney and that’s just to name a few.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation. It’s a tricky concept to understand especially for those who have never done it before.
“In meditation, I can let go of everything. I’m not Hugh Jackman. I’m not a dad. I’m not a husband. I’m just dipping into that powerful source that creates everything. I take a little bath in it.”– Hugh Jackman
Through this practise a numerous beneficial effects can be felt. I personally felt increased focus, clarity in my mind, ability to concentrate on one task at hand better, increased productivity, complete stress relief – it took my headaches away in less than 15 minutes every time, feeling of letting go, better sleep, calming my mind, better breathing practises and that’s not all…
How to start and keep yourself going?
Forget about the Lotus poses and other ‘Meditation’ techniques you have seen on TV, all you have been taught about meditation is probably wrong. All you need is a comfortable chair or even lying on the bed would work as long as you don’t fall asleep. It all starts with the breathing and not the fancy poses or cool programs.
“In moments of madness, meditation has helped me find moments of serenity.” — Sir Paul McCartney
I learn through sound best so I did have another program at hand in the audio book format called Taoist Breathing by Bruce Frantzis which is awesome for beginners. It starts with the very basic explaining how to starting breathing properly, where to keep your tongue, how to keep your mind calm and all other essential bits and pieces which will help you develop quickly as long as you carry on using it appropriately and don’t rush through the chapters. In fact I am not even half way through the program and it has been 70 days since I have started, I am repeating the same chapters until I get the results that are expected of me in the program.
5 minute sessions for 7 days, felt very excited to start it. Few beginning sessions were very interesting but then I felt nothing at the end of the week, it was almost impossible to keep my mind at bay and I struggled to control my thoughts.
Week 2 – 3
7 minute sessions for 7 days, then 9 minute sessions for the second week. I felt excited to extend the time but struggled to proceed with the program. It was teaching me the basic 4 seconds breath 2 on the inhale and 2 on the exhale. Seemed difficult to keep it at the same pace and I kept on drifting away, however at the end of the third week I started to feel like I had more control, I knew what to expect and where it will take me. I knew what to do. It felt good to do it regularly, I finally started to enjoy it.
Week 4 – 5
I had a short break in between week 3 to 4, as I went for holiday. Week 4 was 11 minutes sessions and week 5 was 13 minute sessions. As I came back I didn’t feel like I was a beginner any more, I knew what I had to do and I started to feel the benefits.
Had a couple bad sessions – never meditate after eating a large or moderate sized meal, this will ruin the experience. As you must breathe only through your belly, when meditating this is absolutely fatal, full belly will give you the feeling of sickness. Empty belly – terrible idea, it will keep your mind drifting away and you won’t be able to concentrate on your breaths.
Week 6 – 7
15 minutes for 7 days and then 17 minutes for 7 days, this is the time when I started to really get a hang of it. I was confident with my 10 seconds breath (5 seconds on the inhale and 5 seconds on the exhale) as I was working on different parts of my belly moving while breathing I started to feel the euphoria after each good session I had.
My breathing became deep and satisfying, I could feel my belly moving seamlessly and I could focus on driving all the thoughts away for the meditation time.
Still almost spacing out a few times due to full belly or sleepiness I managed to get through it easier and easier.
One day which was 18/3/16 I meditated and had my best session so far. As I completed my session I turned towards my tasks which I have been procrastinating for some time and just exploded with the ideas and action. I could not get distracted, some one kept on trying to talk to me, drift me away from my work but I felt invincible, I simply could not get distracted.
In less than one hour I did more work than the previous day. This blew my mind off and at this point I knew I could not stop meditating as the benefits were so clear to me.
Week 8 – 9
17 minutes is the best session time for me, which I am sticking to for now. Reaping the benefits and increasing my ‘success’ rate as I get more information of what works better and at what circumstances. Before I used to fail more often and now my success rate is about 80% + which is a great achievement. I seem to get the same benefits and on the best mindfulness days I still get the feeling of euphoria, the high and extreme focus. This is generally does not happen as often but is very rewarding when it happens.
“Meditation is helping you to tap into something that’s already inside of you… that’s you, in essence. That’s something that was super-empowering for me once I grasped that.” — Cameron Diaz
I have picked up a new habit and I will call this one a successful experiment. I doubt I will ever stop meditating as it provides me with the huge amount of benefits. I am looking into doing another experiment where I will focus on the Taoist practises trying to achieve a more sophisticated levels of being, which would allow me to find my Dantian and to feel my Chi energy.