I recently finished a mediation streak of 180 days, and I would like to share my experience with it.
I used an app called Headspace, which has guided meditations, unguided meditations, and special packs that focus on different “results”.
Headspace has a streak feature, which I used to push myself to meditate every single day.
Meditating is not easy. At least not for me. My mind is very very busy, and meditation is somewhat of a struggle for me. I usually never get into a perfect meditative state, where I am completely “in the moment” for a very long time. My mind wanders a lot.
I guess people are different. Some people more naturally get into a calm and present state. I don’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s not “working”, or that it’s a waste of time. It just means I have to work hard.
If you ever feel that meditation is hard and you just want to give up, let me give you a piece of advice:
Don’t give up. And don’t give yourself a hard time whenever your mind wanders. Just notice it, and get back to meditating.
Don’t expect anything particular from meditation. Just do it, and try to learn something about yourself.
What I’ve learned
How busy my mind is, and how I can deal with it
I never fully realised how busy my mind really is, before I started meditating. My mind wanders. Very easily. I keep chasing interesting thoughts and ideas all the time.
After meditating for a while, I also started noticing this in everyday life as well. My mind is very buys when I am not hyper focused on programming or some interesting task.
Learning this has been very valuable for me, because it allows me to see what is happening, and course-correct. I have learned to gently pull my focus back to what I am supposed to be doing.
Being aware of your mind and what it’s actually doing has had a big impact on my patience. It’s a lot easier to see irritation coming, and keep it calmly at bay.
This is something I certainly need to keep working on, but being able to be aware of these things are very important to be able to do something about it. If you aren’t aware of it, how do expect to work on it?
I sometimes get easily stressed. This is probably in part due to my buys mind, always analysing, always thinking. Sometimes that can be helpful to solve problems, but too often it’s just not productive.
Learning to be aware of the things that start stressing me out is the start of being able to deal with it in a meaningful way.
The act of meditation in itself also has a stress reducing effect, so that helps in itself also.
To conclude, what I’ve really learned is to be aware of what my mind is doing. I’ve also learned that mediation is hard. I have learned a lot about myself, and how I “work”. I feel like I have better insight into what I can do to solve my own problems.
Given the things I have learned about myself, and the results I do see, I will absolutely keep meditating.
I am currently meditating from a few exercises in a book, just to do something different than the Headspace approach. I like to mix it up, and broaden my perspective. It’s the only way for me to learn more about this.
If you are curious about the book, it’s called Teach Yourself To Meditate
That said, if you want to get started, Headspace is a pretty good way to do that.
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