Learning to meditate can make you feel foolish. Are you falling for something? Does this really work? I was skeptical too, but I tried it even though I didn’t know how to start meditation. I felt foolish and frustrated until I found out what meditation really is. Practice. It’s a daily drill, a dress rehearsal for the real thing. Relieve your frustration and skepticism, and enjoy a laugh, by joining me for a typical meditation session.
Meditation isn’t what you think it is. Sure, it’s that thing all the gurus tell you to do. It’s not a transcendent state, emptying your mind or an OBE (out-of-body experience). It’s just practice focusing your thoughts, which is pretty much impossible. Practice still helps, though. Meditation is simply a practice of focusing thoughts on the present moment instead allowing them run wild into ruminations and drama.
Why mediation seems hard.
We don’t need to read Stephen King. We invent our own horror stories, things our brains think are reality, but will never happen.
We can practice, though, practice focusing thoughts on reality. If you’re having a bad enough day or if you’re job has you chronically stressed enough, your mind can quickly turn a sniffle into The Stand (or Contagion or some other story about a super-flu pandemic). Those sniffles are probably just allergies or a cold.
Mediation is just practice.
It’s reps. It’s like curls or squats for your brain. Perhaps more of a plank with a few pushups. Use it or lose it!
Don’t get frustrated by expectations of perfection. In fact, you can find humor in the difficulties, like I did right here.
Sit back and relax as I take you on this little journey into the mind of one of your world’s favorite Shaynes! Here is a typical mediation session:
A Typical Meditation Session
Start a meditation on your Calm app. Or just close your eyes and breath.
Focus on the breath.
Thoughts soon roam off to…
That tyrant makes my life so miserab–“Back to the breath.”
There’s one rep.
A Little Calmer
I can’t believe he thinks I’m going to jus–“Back to the breath.”
A Glimpse of Composure
I’ll just march right up to him and tell him to go fu-“Back to the breath.”
Where Thoughts Go When They Go
Jillian Michaels yells in your ear, “Transformation is not a future event. It’s a present activity.”
They are totally ruining this compa–“Back to the breath.”
There’s three. Or is it four?
Let’s see Number two was–“Back to the breath.”
Heart Rate Slowing
Now it’s Bob Harper. “Believe in yourself. Trust the process. Change forever.”
I wonder how much he spent on all those tat–“Back to the breath.”
Number five. Ish. Almost there.
I haven’t watched The Biggest Loser in–“Back to the breath.”
Heart Pounding Less
Hugh Jackman. With claws. “My father taught me that losing your temper is a self-indulgent act.”
You’d play Wolverine again if 20th Century Fox let Marvel feature you in an Avengers movie, wouldn’t you, Hu–“Back to the breath.”
How many is that?
A Little Taste of How Peace Feels
Tamara Levitt says you can open your eyes.
Same time tomorrow.
That’s how it works. You don’t empty your mind, become one with the Ch’i of the Universe or summon the Iron Fist. It’s just practice realizing when your thoughts wander and bringing them back to the breath. Awareness, not control. Presence, not emptiness. It’s just practice. Even better than the real thing.
For a few more ways to practice mindfulness throughout your work day, check out.
For another great way, check out the ?? way.
Watch your thoughts. Save your sleep. Rescue your life.