Tag Archives: meditate

Meditation can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be.

Most people don’t even get started with it because they think there is a right way of meditating (there isn’t – anything can be meditation: walking, eating, talking, working out, having sex, playing the guitar).

I was one of these people. I heard about how great it was and all the amazing benefits successful people were getting from their meditation practice. I would even sit down and try it every now and then. But I would always stop because I had thoughts during my meditation such as:

  • “Am I doing this right?”
  • “Should I be thinking?”
  • “This is hard!”
  • “How do I stop thinking?”
  • “What should I eat after this?”
  • “Am I going to become enlightened like the Buddha?”
  • “This is boring.”
  • “I can’t believe I am doing this.”
  • “Is someone watching me and laughing?”

Even if I completed the session I wasn’t consistent with it on a regular basis because I didn’t think I was doing it right and it wasn’t working. I would meditate once every few days or every now and then when I felt like it. Low and behold I was a wannabe meditator.

Then one day I decided I would keep it as simple as possible. After all Einstein said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

I made an agreement with myself that I would set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes, sit down, close my eyes and think whatever thoughts I wanted.

I could do it whenever I wanted to during the day but the goal was to do it once per day. However, if I missed a day it wasn’t a big deal either. I kept it as loose and flexible as possible so I could build the habit. From there I knew if I got consistent with it and started receiving benefits I couldn’t help but want to do more and stick with it.

And that’s what happened. I have been meditating virtually every day for the past 6+ years. Not because I forced myself to do it but because my body and mind have become accustomed to the benefits they gained from my meditation practice (the same as if you have developed the habit of working out and now can’t go more than a couple of days without exercise).

Some of them are:

  • Relaxed focus
  • Calmness
  • Presence
  • Clarity
  • Energy
  • Better decision making
  • Happier state of being

Now after building my practice for over six years I’ve come to realize three simple keys that I like to use to make my meditations fun, simple and easy.

Here they are:

  1. Smile
  2. Focus on your breath
  3. Set a timer for five minutes or less.

You can think whatever thoughts come into your head and even do a terrible job – there is no standard here, set the bar as low as possible. If you just focus on doing these three things you will do great. And if you don’t you will still do great because these are just guidelines, not rules.

The reason they are helpful is because smiling will keep you playful and happy. Focusing on your breath will keep you in your body and out of your head. And setting a timer for five minutes or less will give you an intended goal and keep it short so you can get small wins to build on your success.

That’s it. Those are three simple guidelines I offer to you. You can use them or use some of them. They aren’t the answer to meditation. No guru has the answer. All gurus started off right where you are. The only thing that makes them a ‘guru’ is they stuck with it.

I hope this helps you in your meditation journey.

Please share with anyone you believe will find value from this.

Thank you for reading!

Also, please give me feedback on Twitter.  What did you enjoy or take away from this? What do you suggest I improve upon?  Let me know! Just send a tweet to @naeemmahmood

Make it an epic day!

Naeem

 

One of the most powerful tools you can use to improve every area of your life is meditation.  Most people never start because they think they don’t know how to do it properly or they aren’t good at it.  The truth is there is no right way to do it and the only way to get better at it is by doing it more.

Here are a few of the successful people who claim meditation is an invaluable practice in their life:

  • Ray Dalio
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Russell Simmons
  • Arianna Huffington

When I first decided to start I made the agreement with myself that I will not put pressure to do it perfectly.  I actually promised myself that as long as I just closed my eyes for 5 minutes that was a win.  I had thoughts racing through my mind about the day, whether it was working, if anyone was watching me, etc.

The cool part is that I started to see the benefits it had on my life such as:

  • Getting more done when I work due to increased ability to focus
  • Being more calm in stressful situations
  • Being more present when talking with people
  • Feeling like I have more time in the day (less anxiety and handle tasks step by step)
  • Reacting less
  • Better sleep
  • More energy

As I did it more and more and got better and better I started using different apps, added soothing music and read books to sharpen my practice.  I even got the Muse Headband which is a great product that gives you feedback on your brain activity during your meditation.  I still haven’t taken a formal training on it such as Vipassana or Transcendental and one day I would like to as well.  The point is you do not have to take a class to start meditating!

 

I eventually became addicted to all the positive benefits it was creating in my life and noticed my days were not nearly as productive or enjoyable if I missed my meditation.  As I’ve heard many successful people say about meditation such as Russell Simmons, “If you don’t have 10 minutes to meditate you should meditate for 3 hours.”  The point is that the return on investment of 10-30 minutes of your time will be far greater if you use it to meditate than work.  The reason for this is because meditation enhances your ability to be more productive as studies have shown an increase of 500% for people who meditate.

At this point in my meditation journey I meditate two times per day for 20 minutes each time for a total of 40 minutes per day on average.  Some days I miss one or shorten the sessions.  Other days I go longer.  One of the biggest benefits I got from meditating is flexibility and flowing with life more.   So if I miss or have to cut one short I am totally cool with that also.

If you are new to meditation or are struggling to consistently do it here’s what I suggest.

  • Sit on the floor with your back against the wall (you can put pillows under your butt and behind your back – get comfortable)
  • Set a timer for 5 minutes
  • If you want put on relaxing music or use an app
  • Close your eyes
  • *Pro tip – If you want to focus on something just focus on your breath going in and out

That’s all!  As always I would love to hear your feedback on how this works for you in the comments below.  Also please share this with a friend or anyone you feel would benefit!

 

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