This year was the first year I began meditating. I'll be honest, I've gone in and out of it throughout the year, but I'm getting better. After listening to more than a handful of Tim Ferriss Podcasts, I began to realize exactly what he was searching for anyway: there is a pattern amongst highly successful people, and it's the fact that the majority of them (greater than 75%, I'd say) take part in some form of a mediation practice. Now, this could be an interpretation, mind you. For example, for some, making coffee is a form of mediation....ironing their clothes, going to the gym, and of course, other common methods such as sitting still and focusing on their breath could be their form. For me, I didn't know what the hell to do, and I had postponed trying, literally, for years because I didn't know how to do it. So, like most people who are unsure how to do something, I went to YouTube, and searched "guided meditation for beginners." Imagine that. It was a great place to start, but then I heard about HEADSPACE and I like it even better.
Headspace is a website, yes, but it's also an app, which is great because I can take it with me when I travel, as I don't often carry my laptop with me. Headspace offers daily guided meditations that start out as ten minute sessions for ten days straight for free. Their slogan is "Treat your head right" which, to me, is quintessential to doing anything in life. If your head's not right, nothing else will get accomplished as successfully as it would otherwise. Period.
And it doesn't have to be some ohm-ing, zulu experience, though it can be if that's your flavor. Meditation is really just about clearing your head, which is why those random activities mentioned above can often suffice as meditation. BUT, I do encourage you to try a more traditional form as I have found it's honestly an incredibly beneficial experience to be able to literally take 10 minutes out of your day to do NOTHING. I'm going to screw up this quote from Russell Simmons, but he said something along the lines of, "If you can't find 10 minutes in your day, you probably need 3 hours!" I couldn't agree more.
Now, with the idea of getting your head right, we can all think dark, dreary thoughts. And for some of us, life feels dark and dreary at times, if not often. Meditation won't get you to believe in yourself, per se, but it may very well get you in a position where your mind is willing to accept the possibility that you will succeed. Now, I'm not being paid for any of this by Headspace, but I will say this: check out the below quotation. I took it directly from Headspace's pre-meditation animation video that takes place just before your 7th free day of the 10-day freebie mentioned above. It is an amazing analogy, as well as a phenomenal reminder of not only how one can get through a tough time, but also a great reminder of thinking outside of the box is often a great resolution to most problems. Check it out...
Take a moment to imagine a bright blue sky stretching off into the distance. Feels pretty good, right? This is a perfect metaphor for the mind: a blank canvas on which thoughts, feelings, and experiences appear. Okay, so maybe there are just a few clouds. They tend not to bother, or distract us too much. Especially if they're the cute little fluffy variety. This is how the mind appears when it's calm: bright, serene, and happy. But life isn't always easy. Sometimes, there are a lot more clouds in the sky. Sometimes, they might be the dark and stormy variety. Occasionally, you may begin to wonder if there is a hurricane on the way. It gets to the point where it's hard to think of anything else. In fact, sometimes, we get so obsessed by the clouds, that we forget about the blue sky altogether. But it's still there. Every time you're in a plane, and you fly through the clouds, there it is, right? Without fail: blue sky. It's easy to forget that what we're looking for is already here, and that's why we need reminding.