“I have too many thoughts to meditate.” This is exactly why I so highly recommend meditation. Meditation is a gift from the heavens – so simple and so easy.
Yet rejected by so many.
For my first meditation session I walked into my home office feeling like everyone was going to laugh at me. I was afraid of judgement and criticism more than the mental chaos I experienced daily. What I didn’t realize is that the fear of judgement was directly because of the mental chaos.
Sitting on my floor, I opened my timer app, set the timer for 3 minutes, hit the ‘start’ button, focused on my breathing, then felt frustrated as I noticed a thousand thoughts swirling in my head.
It was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever experienced. I’m glad I didn’t stop that day. Because I didn’t stop and I built a solid meditation practice, I feel increased calm, confidence, courage, and clarity daily.
My growing business was built on the foundation of meditation.
Why Is Meditation So Hard?
It’s estimated that the average human being has approximately 60-80,000 thoughts per day. Executive leaders and entrepreneurs are more likely to approach the 100,000 mark due to the level of responsibility and forward-thinking involved in their roles. These numbers are staggering. Mental chaos is the main reason why so many people are medicated.
When beginning a meditation practice, it is important to know that you will not be good at it. In fact, you will straight up suck. It might be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done – especially if you are expecting it to be easy. We all have a tremendous volume of thoughts, and when you sit silently and still and notice your thoughts, you’ll really see the chaos of your mind.
The initial challenge in meditation is to just simply be. When you sit in meditation and just allow the thoughts to come and go without judging yourself or your thoughts…
Then you’ve become good at meditation.
Your brain’s #1 function is to keep you safe and alive. Until now it has done amazing work! Sadly, keeping you alive has come at the expense of internal peace, joy, and happiness. Your mind reminds you of your past failures, and alerts you to future potential problems in an attempt to protect you.
And when you have 60-80,000 thoughts per day and you keep on breathing guess what your brain assumes? It’s natural inclination is to assume that all of the work it has done – all of the torment it has inflicted on your mental and emotional states have worked!
By driving you crazy, your brain aided you in survival, so it gives you even more of what has caused you to remain alive. And in doing so, it increases your brain activity to keep you safer and even more alive. Even if your thoughts are causing you distress!
Meditation reconditions your brain to recognize that you are safe in mental peace and calm. By sitting still and in quiet, your brain comes to realize that there is safety in the peace and calm of nothing. In doing so, your internal state becomes more peaceful, and as your inner world changes so does your external world.
How Do I Get Started?
Getting my clients started is my hardest challenge. The hardest session is the very first session. There is a stigma or even a dogma about meditation that it is woo-woo and for monks in orange robes. Nothing is further from the truth. Meditation is for those people who crave calm, confidence, courage, and clarity above all else.
- Get comfortable wherever you are, sitting or lying down. Position is not important at this point.
- Download the Insight Timer on your phone or handheld device.
- Set the timer for 3 minutes duration with a 1 minute warm-up period.
- Do not choose a background sound – sit in quiet for your first few sessions.
- Start the timer, close your eyes, and begin breathing normally.
- During the warm-up period simply relax and begin paying attention to your breath.
- Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
- When the beginning bell chimes, focus exclusively on your breathing, and notice and feel the air entering and leaving your body.
- When you have a thought – and you will – notice the thought and bring your attention back to your breath.
- Resist the urge to check the timer. Trust.
- When 3 minutes ends, open your eyes when you are ready.
That’s it! You’ve meditated!
Repeat this same process 3-4 times per day for the next few weeks. I recommend extending the first meditation of the day to 15-30 minutes as you get more comfortable with the process. Just do what feels good, but make certain you practice! Long term, you’ll thank yourself.
Why Do I Feel More Peaceful As I Continue To Practice?
Your brain’s left hemisphere is for logic, facts, data, analytical reasoning, etc. – what we can prove objectively. The right hemisphere is for creativity, intuition, beauty, love, peace, spirituality, etc. – or what we perceive subjectively. When you were a child, unintentionally, your parents and teachers conditioned you to respond only with your left brain, and your right brain atrophied. So we are a bunch of walking left-brain beings needing evidence and proof of everything in order to trust. This lack of trust is what creates pain. Meditation re-builds the bridge from the left brain to the right.
When the hemispheres are bridged, we see reality through the context of trust, intuition, creative expression, beauty, love, and peace. Our belief in what we cannot see increases, and we become more peaceful in the present moment.
During this process, brain activity slows, and you begin to feel a greater sense of calm, peace, and joy in the dawning of a quieter mind. Your brain begins to normalize and feel safer as a now quieter mind – capable of relaxing in the present moment.
I’ll again state that the biggest challenge of meditation is actually practicing, knowing that the practice will drive real results. You need to allow your current state and force nothing.
What It’s Like Now
Since I started, my inner critic has slowed, I feel calm and clear, and, I am able to better focus on what is most important. It only took me 43 years to start a practice (tounge-in-cheek). My family and clients recognize my focus and powerful presence, where once I was just chaotic.
My own health, my family relationships, and my income have never been stronger. Focus creates internal and external power. I can’t make you meditate, I just invite you into a better life. Ultimately you either choose your current state or better. But the choice is yours.
The truth is you can’t master your outer world without mastering your inner world.
I have written a meditation guide as well as a guide to achieving mental discipline. They are available for download here. If you have further questions about how to get started, reach out to me here.
If you’d like to schedule a free conversation with me about meditation or executive coaching, schedule 45 minutes with me here.
I hope you choose to build a healthy meditation practice. For me it has been the foundation of self-mastery and business-mastery.
Maybe you’ll recognize the same.
Until next week!