Late in 2013 I had a life-altering experience.
I tried mediation for the first time. First, I’d like to tell you exactly why I did it.
- I was stressed out
- Anxious/nervous frequently
- I couldn’t shut my mind off at night to sleep
- I couldn’t get a good night sleep
- I felt worn down and tired
- I wasn’t thinking as quickly and clearly as I needed to be
- I clearly wasn’t being myself
If you’re feeling any of these currently, and want to change your life I believe meditation is the solution. I’m now going to tell you exactly how I do it, as my process is a bit of a hybrid of what you may read elsewhere.
7 Keen Steps to Meditation
- Get Alone – I retreat down to my basement to a room that functions as my office from time to time. The floor is carpeted and extremely comfy. I close the door and begin my process.
- Shut Off The World – The only thing I take with me is my phone (which may sound counterproductive) but it is turned to airplane mode so I can receive no calls or texts.
- Close Your Eyes – This will be challenging for some. It was extremely challenging for me in the beginning. The goal is to keep my eyes closed for the entire 20 minutes of meditation.
- Turn On the Noise – I use an app called Relax Melodies. You can find it on the App Store for iPhone. I turn on the sounds of: the ocean, a piano, a fire, etc. It varies a little from time to time. I’d also like to note I wear headphones at the time to tune out any other sound. This helps me get a tremendous amount of focus and I set a timer for 20 or 25 minutes.
- Breathe – After reading a great deal about mediation this is something I crafted slightly on my own. I start every setting with my legs crossed in standard meditation position. I breathe in as much as I possibly can through my nose, until my lungs and stomach feel completely full. I then slowly release the breath through pursed lips (like you would exhale through a straw) and count. I try to get the count to 20 or 30 with each breath.
- Stretch – This is my unique rendition. As I breathe I added in a stretching routine. I did some basic research on the most beneficial stress relieving stretches. A great deal of my routine involves loosening up my hamstrings, neck and back (where I carry my stress).
- Positive Talk/Prayer – I also use my 20 minutes of alone time to be thankful and reinforce my thoughts with positive talk. This too is a unique wrinkle I’ve added to my routine. It may or may not be for you. I believe the more my mind is reinforced, the better performance I can expect from my own abilities.
So, how would I have described mediation before I started: weird, hippy, liberal, tree-hugger, yoga pants, eastern practice, etc. But, after seeing Russell Simmons thoughts on mediation, and knowing Phil Jackson is a student of the practice I had to give it a try. They seem to be pretty successful (insane understatement)!
ACTION ITEM: I hope you at least give mediation a try. My life is measurably better because I adopted this ancient practice and I believe yours can be too.