I’ve always been a little skeptical of meditation. It felt like mumbo jumbo, touchy-feely stuff, until I tried it. What I learned early on is that meditation is about training your mind, like a runner trains their body. I realized pretty quickly that my mind could use a little training.
I’m still very new to meditation, and as such, still learning. But, here are three things that meditating for 30-days has taught me.
- My mind is a mess. It’s called monkey mind, when the mind is unsettled, restless and jumping from thing to thing to thing like a monkey through the trees. This shows up most during my attempted down times. When I’m trying to play with my kids, and my mind won’t stop racing, thinking about work or other things. Or, when I’m at work and attempting to give a conference call my full attention, but feeling that tug to check my email or basically do anything else.
- I learned better control over my emotions. Though I have practiced meditation for 30-days, they weren’t consecutive days. I found that on days where I was unkind to my wife or snapped at my kids, those were often days I had not practiced meditation. This is because meditation gives me more control over my emotions. I’m able to see myself almost as a third party observer, better recognizing the full reality of my situation rather than my narrow, perceived reality. Mind you, I’m not very emotional generally, but meditation has allowed me to temper minor emotions like annoyance, frustration, and anxiety, which has been fantastic.
- I learned to focus more intently. A part of meditation is learning to focus on something intently. Focussing on the breath, for example, is a common meditation practice. I find that if I can focus on the breath for 10-minutes, capturing and re-capturing my wandering mind, I am increasingly able to focus on other tasks with more intensity as well.
I plan to continue to practice meditation. I have been using the waking up app. If you are new to meditation, it’s a great primer to ease into it.
I’m finding that being a more mindful person has many more benefits as well. I’ll be writing about those soon. But, for now, I’m curious, have you tried meditation? And, if you have, what has your experience been like?