Meditation. The very word often conjures up cliche imagery of Buddhist monks in a temple somewhere, motivational internet memes, or the Dalai Lama himself. But what many may not realize, myself included at one point, is that meditation can be incorporated into our daily lives with just a little effort.
It was 2014 and I was going through the daily routine, the grind, as they say, and not feeling particularly fulfilled or always at ease. I’d wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, go to the gym, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, and repeat. To this day I still follow that regime, but with more clarity, peace of mind, and a sense of calmness that I hadn’t had before. Over a relatively short period of time, I managed to change my outlook on those otherwise daily activities, and approach each situation with a more balanced viewpoint. It was due to regular meditation practice, specifically the practice of mindfulness, which is simply to be aware of the present moment. As simple as it sounds, it’s even more beneficial.
Meditation was not completely foreign to me. I had been given a few token lessons during grade school, and again in high school. I had seen some videos and read articles about how athletes, which I was, can use meditation as part of their off-season and in-season routines. I never fully developed the practice however, and forgot about it for many years. A random conversation with my beautiful friend Christine in 2014 fully rolled back the veil when she reminded me about meditating, and in her really wonderful way (she has a lot of those), encouraged me to give it a try again. I did, and have not looked back since.
I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, so I started by trying several free guided meditation apps on my iPhone. Some were better than others, depending on the exercise, but I eventually settled on Headspace, which I’ve now used for over a year. I wake up every morning a bit earlier than needed, and dedicate at least 10 minutes to practice. It’s become a valued part of my daily routine, which is now not so mundane because I’m able to start it with a clear mind, a sense of self-worth and groundedness. In short, it’s helped me deal with stressful situations better and focus on the moment I’m in, rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future. That in itself, is the concept of mindfulness. And it works.
Like many good habits people form, my only regret is not starting my mindfulness practice sooner. But, as you learn in mindfulness, it does little good to look back, 20/20 vision though it may be. Instead, it’s better to focus on now. Not yesterday and not tomorrow. This is the principle lesson, and when applied regularly, can really help you achieve a sense of balance and calm.
Special Thanks to Christine, who made herself even more endearing with a subtle little nudge, barely a suggestion, from which the positive effect cannot be measured.