“Mindful meditation has been discovered to foster the ability to inhibit those very quick emotional impulses.”
– Daniel Goleman
If you’re anything like I used to be, meditation makes you think of prayer beads, chanting, Buddhism, candles, and a slew of other stereotypes. If, also like me, you were raised in a religious household, you may even have further fear of meditation as being something that goes against your beliefs. Let’s pause there for a moment though. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly, let your breath return to normal and simply feel your breathe, closing your eyes if it helps enhance the sensation.
If you followed the above, you’ve done it, you’ve meditated. Fortunately you didn’t need to convert to a different religion or sacrilege your existing one. Though in a society that suffers from dozens of sources trying to steal your attention at all times, it can be difficult to take that moment or two and simply breathe. From ads on TV or online, your phone notifications, your family members, everything is in competition, trying to snatch away your attention.
Though if I’ve learned anything in the past couple of years, it’s that if you could only do one single thing that could drastically improve each aspect of your life, meditation is it. Not in four hours a day, but even two minutes when you have a moment to yourself. There is a lot meditation can do and even millionaires billionaires do it.
You don’t need to believe in any of the religious or spiritual aspects of it, imagine how a calmer mind with less clutter would react in different everyday scenarios. There’s 10 things you need to do today, they would take 6 hours to complete, but you’ve only got 4! You could panic and struggle to decide which to do, wasting the precious little time you have, or simply spend a few minutes sorting it out in your head and simply beginning. If you get through 5 of them, great. I won’t get into the subject of delegating tasks or setting reasonable deadlines for people here, but realize the potential of a calmer and directed mind in a scenario like the one above.
Hot Tip: So you’d like to start meditating, but aren’t quite sure where to incorporate it to have it become a habit in your daily routine? Wake up 10 minutes early, wash your face, have a drink of cold water and a quick stretch, use the last few minutes of your bonus time to meditate. You’ll find starting the day with an emptied mind and not preemptively worrying about all that could go wrong, builds momentum for a great day.
How about relationships? Could they possibly benefit from a calmer, and less reactive mind? Why, yes dear reader, they would! It doesn’t matter if you’re single and dating, or have been married for 40 years. Having the ability to return to a place of equanimity means not escalating an argument, it means not acting needy or desperate when your partner is in a slump.
Meditation was what started my whole transition, it gave me the power to find answers to questions I didn’t even know I had. It allowed me to start building an awareness in terms of how I’m feeling at different times, as well as what’s going on around me. You won’t have to go out and buy any books or prayer beads, the right pillow to sit on isn’t nearly so important. If you’re in a place where you can safely close your eyes for a few minutes and simply breathe, you’ve already got all you need to incorporate this super power into your life.