''I can't sit there for minutes on end, and just listen, and do nothing - I always need to be doing something, I'm too fidgety.''
You have just read a direct quote from me from early 2022. I do not think I am alone in thinking this way, or believing that I am not capable of doing what is outlined above. A series of people had told me multiple times how meditation had helped them sleep better, be more emotionally balanced, have more energy and so on and so on. It all fell on deaf ears with me, and I would always begin to spew out the same string of words that you read above.
What have you got to lose? A question frequently asked, by my better half who is a seasoned meditator. I always resisted with excuses about 'looking or feeling strange and awkward' and because I used to be a drummer I cannot sit still. Fast forward through the trench battles I had with numerous people who tried to convince me that it would be good for me precisely because I could not sit still; one day I did it. (surprise surprise, this article is not about my continued resistance toward the topic. I actually did it)
I remember the day well. It was a pretty terrible day, so I thought to myself what have I got to lose? Only this time the difference being, the question came from myself, not from someone prodding me to do it. My phone in hand, with the app 'Calm' downloaded I started my first session. (In this case, a meditation crash course by Lama Rod Ownes titled 'Radical self care') I had no idea what I was doing, I felt all the feelings I had anticipated in my resistances, but after the session done I did feel a bit better; accomplished some might say.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't open my eyes after my first ten minutes of guided meditation and felt like I was 'healed'. Quite far from it. If I'm being honest, I don't feel 'healed' of my concerns to this day and I still meditate. What I do know is that I feel better than I did before starting, which in itself is worthwhile.
'Radical self care' had come to an end, and I had sat through ten consecutive days of meditation. (around ten-twelve minutes a day). It felt as if I had now built a habit of doing this, and could continue this in a semi-automatic fashion. I felt pretty good after completing the 'crash course' as I went from someone rabidly resisting meditation to someone who knew the slightest bit about it.
Six months down the rabbit hole
I was still meditating every day. Some days were tough to adhere to it, but I got it done nonetheless. Life often got in the way, but since most of us spend time in bed at night, (I hope: link to my previous article on sleep is here) I found it most natural to begin my meditation just before dozing off. The days went by and I didn't miss a single session as I was so eager to keep a streak. (Which can also be tracked on calm or most larger meditation apps)
I will not lie to you. I have not meditated every day of the year since I started this literally a year ago. That's alright though. As heartbreaking as it is to have lost streaks along the way, I now know that meditation can be used as a tool to slightly enhance your days, and thus in a snowball effect; weeks and months. There is no downside to doing it every day, I just fell out of the habit of doing it every single day. I do it most weeks. Perhaps writing this article will keep me accountable for doing it again every day. The important thing is that I started doing it, and I still do it. Even after a year, I'm happy it didn't just fall off the wagon after six weeks.
- As I learned in my time working at Apple, I was a costumer at first and then I became a promoter. I now recommend meditiation to everyone I can, and I bet that if you give it enough time and dedication you will too. (plus the nifty side effect of feeling a bit better over time)
- It's okay to meditate for shorter amounts of time. I used to think if I don't meditate for at least ten minutes then it would be pointless. I started doing shorter sessions, three minutes, five minutes etc. Still counts. You have 1440 minutes in a day, you usually sleep for 480 of them. I'm sure you can 'sacrifice' five small minutes.
- You don't need to sit upright, stiff and uncomfortable in a wooden chair or on the floor to meditate, nor do you need to be a monk. Go to bed, a couch, go to wherever you want to and meditate. There aren't many rules.
- The soundscapes and sleep meditations on the app that I use (Calm, which is one of the two most popular apps along with Headspace) are absolutely awesome. Another knock on effect from meditation is that I (usually, not always) slept better. Turns out it helps if LeBron James whispers stories into your ear.
- Artists (as not everyone on the app is a meditation teacher, I will call them artists) I enjoy listening to include: Chibs Okereke, Jeff Warren and Camilla Cabello. (yes the musician)
- You don't need a new year to start meditating and getting to be a better version of yourself. This applies to everything. I don't set new years resolutions purely for this reason. I refuse to have society dictate a norm to me which is the 'traditional' way of enforcing change in your life. For most people, as soon as February comes these resolutions get thrown out the window anyway.
- If you find all of the above useless when starting meditation and adhering to it, know one thing: You started something, and are sticking to it. That's worth a whole damn lot in today's day and age.
Until the next one,