A bit of my story…
I’ve been meditating for over 15 years now, and have experimented with a variety of different techniques and styles. It wasn’t always easy but I do believe there are ways to make it simpler.
Much of the that time I wondered what the hell I was doing as I struggled to walk on painful legs and spent day after day sitting with no obvious end in sight. I kept going anyway and carried on attending retreats, workshops, and silent programs where the basic meditation is for hours at a time and for days on end.
Now I have a small, dedicated space in my apartment where I do relaxing meditation at least once a day. I’ve found inner peace and improved performance from having this solid, reliable, meditation routine that I can continue on my own terms.
This has brought many benefits to my work and personal life and this is exactly what I want to share with you.
There are so many books and courses on the best meditation to use that it’s hard to find a suitable approach that works for you and fits with your life situation.
It can start to get complicated when you try to include all the mantras, the postures, and the rules that seem to exist. It would be better if it was more straightforward and clearer and made meditation easier not harder.
Not only that, much of the time meditation techniques seems to come ready bundled with a series of religious connections and formalities.
It’s okay recognising our spiritual natures, but it can be a nonstarter if there are beliefs wrapped up into the basic meditation process that you just don’t agree with. It would be better if you could keep your own religious preference and beliefs AND meditate at the same time.
The Power of Meditation…
Many people often think that it’s a bit weird to be sitting around not doing anything, spending hours in meditation out of choice. It can be hard to convince friends and loved ones that this is something that you believe in and want to prioritise in your life. Sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly why you want to meditate at all.
But, latest research from LIFT developer Tony Stubblebine is that there is a high influx of entrepreneurs working on meditation techniques. He discovered that the benefits of meditation for performance were incredible.
Rather than being pursued solely as a spiritual practice, the practice of developing mindfulness control and becoming anchored in the present moment are skills that come up a lot for entrepreneurs.
Meditation can help develop these abilities.
Imagine you are at work trying busy compiling and sending 30 or so emails, then you need to prepare a presentation, then a call comes in that needs your urgent attention. Focus needs to be switched quickly and FULLY. In meditation terms this is exactly what mindfulness is.
But, okay you say, I tried meditation and it didn’t work. In fact, a lot of the data that Tony learned is that many entrepreneurs failed to consistently apply the basic meditation techniques. They sort of started with it but then really struggled to keep going.
Blocks and Barriers…
The main obstacle to regular meditation is simply being able to stick with it. There are pressures on all of our lives and is easy to skip sessions when you don’t feel in the mood or that you have the time. I’ve come up with a simple two minute meditation that you can try right now as you are reading this.
Alongside the physical difficulty of sitting cross-legged for long periods, it’s no wonder that people give up on meditation without really having experienced its deep benefits and powerful performance effects.
I remember dabbling with sitting meditation for a number of years but not ever being able to establish a core meditation practice. There was always something else that came up. I used to think that, overall, everything seemed okay so I just let things kind of trundle along.
Then, straight out of the blue my partner of 14 years walked out on me. Not only that, she was seeing someone else. I had no reference points to deal with this and inner strength to protect me. I crashed and tumbled into an emotional hole.
Every day and every night I would be fixated on going over the events in my head. Imagine what it’s like being trapped in this negative cycle of guilt, anger, and accusations.
I seemed to have very little control over my thoughts. Every day, and long into the night, my mind was still spinning it’s wheels about what had happened. I couldn’t get away from it. All I was doing was reliving the details over and over again. Why did this happen? What could I have done differently? How could she have done this?
Whenever people tried to put a positive spin on things it just seemed to make the whole thing come back into even more intensely. I knew that I had to find a way to move on but also find a way that would help me control what was happening to me mentally.
One Door Closes…
I decided to try meditation again, seeing some hope in the potential of regular and consistent practice. I signed up to a New Year retreat up in the North of England at a Buddhist centre near to York. I paid for a single room and got myself out of London and into the arms of the most open, non-judgemental group of people that I had ever come across.
Over the next few days I tried chanting, walking, meditating, bowing, and learning acceptance. There was no miracle cure but instead I found something real of my own deep within myself.
When I returned home I had a centre to work from and a new way of looking at my approach to circumstances and the world around me.
As I continued my practice at home I started reading: Osho, Alan Watts, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Eckhart Tolle, to name just a few. In time I found that the Buddhist rituals and procedures weren’t really working for me so I began trying meditation from different perspectives using different techniques. I started to combine them into a practice that I could maintain and be consistent with; that is the real key to meditation success.
This was very important for me because I found that could make my meditations fit to whatever difficulties I was experiencing in my life.
I used active, energising meditations when I felt lethargic and ineffective, I used breathing techniques to calm me whenever I was stressed or anxious, and I used the simple mindfulness techniques to nurture my understanding of acceptance of my higher self.
Just taking one small step each day with my practice has led to me building an incredibly strong source of strength that helps in all areas of my life. I know that each time I sit and meditate I am building on the foundation that I have created before.