Most of you know that I am a fan of meditation. We have discussed it here on more than a few occasions (the art of the pause, silence is golden). Recently I passed a personal milestone with my practice: 100 consecutive days. I have been practicing for a lot longer than that but decided to make a conscious effort this year to make daily meditation a habit.
Like any behavioral change a little positive reinforcement can go a long way. There are lots of different mediums and types of meditation instruction one can access. Along with books and talks, I have found it particularly helpful to use an app called InsightTimer (there any number of others that are popular as well: headspace, calm, or aura). They are all similar in nature, with the same end goal in mind; to create the habit of meditation. It’s funny because you wouldn’t think that a few gold stars and bells would help motivate, but at some basic level we humans are fairly predictable animals.
As I reflected on this personal milestone I became curious to explore what it has meant for my life. Has meditation really changed things? Is there really something behind all the books, articles, and science? Here are a few things I have learned over the past 100 days.
- It takes practice. Like learning any new skill, repetition is your key to success. Whether you are learning to play golf, play guitar or just be kind to yourself, constant practice and repetition are vitally important. It’s hard work and there are times you want to just skip it, but in the long run it’s worth it.
- Flow. Deliberately making space for quiet time translates into more natural flow in your daily life. Things just seem to move at a different speed. The funny thing is that you still accomplish just as much (if not more) than you ever did before.
- Opinions. You discover that they matter far less than ever before (especially your own). When you consciously practice silence, you don’t feel the need to interject quite as often. You spend more time listening you come to realize that most opinions are just that, opinions.
- Clarity. Seeing things with more clarity is always helpful. Situations which seemed huge before, take on far less urgency when you practice meditation.
- Ease. Similar to flow, life takes on a sense of ease. This doesn’t mean that life gets “easier”; it actually doesn’t change the regular comings and goings one bit. What it does change is your relationship with them. Your ability to side step the trivial things and pay more attention to the present moment creates the space which allows for a better sense of ease.
- Blind Spots. By practicing meditation regularly, one is better able to see the defaults and blind spots that hamper us on a daily basis. When we can recognize our less desirable habits and apply a touch of self-compassion then we can work with them in a positive way. This also applies to our judgements and interactions with others. We can truly begin to experience the idiom “to start anew” and recognise the potential for life to be new in each new moment that arises.
Thanks so much for reading.