You’ll get more by meditating for 4 min than using that time to read this post.
It’s easy to get distracted. I’m not here to distract you. If you’re looking for something to read that will save you from your reality. Then I advise to skip over this post.
What do you truly know?
Does that come from something you’ve read? Or does that come from something you have practiced, experienced, tested and retested?
I was speaking with Tristan de Montebello earlier today and he asked me:
“What blogs do you read?”
I paused for a second and replied:
“I don’t read any.”
When hearing myself say that out loud, I realized that I get more out of meditating for 30 minutes than reading blogs for the same amount of time.
I have read fantastic posts. But to read one piece of remarkable content and implement its teachings, I have to swim through a sea of low quality, distracting content.
If I spend that time meditating, (noticing my breath move through my body), I get to learn valuable information about myself that I can integrate immediately.
If you don’t see the practical application of meditation, here is an example:
I was in meditation the other day, and I had feelings of anxiety around a conflict with a loved one. I felt tightness in my chest and distinct tension in my face. When I brought awareness back to my breath, my body relaxed and so did my mind. When those feelings arose in conversation, they didn’t cripple me. I wasn’t afraid of being uncomfortable, because I familiarized myself with those feelings. I was able to listen to the critism I was receiving. Wanting to understand, so it could help me instead of getting defensive. My primary conflict resolution strategy would be to disengage completely. I’m not saying I’m the best communicator or I haven’t hurt others, but I’m making the effort in my relationships to actively listen to the needs of others and communicate my needs. (cnvc.org for great communication strategies)
Meditation is a skill in awareness. Training this awareness allows us to first become familiar with thoughts, emotions and sensations. Then we can regulate how the mind and the body respond or co-operate. This helps us take action instead of freezing up or disengaging.
There are many types of meditations. With the athletes I work with, we begin by bringing awareness to the breath. It’s the simplest way to sync the mind and body for performance. The best athletes, martial artists, dancers and singers know this.
Here is a video of NBA All Star Lebron James meditating.
If bringing awareness to the breath doesn’t seem practical enough, it’s useful to ask oneself: “Body, how do you want to breathe?”
Let’s do this right now for 1 breath. You can have your eyes opened or closed.
Ask the question: “Body, how do you want to breathe?”
Did the quality of your breath change? If so, this is a tool you can use that helps you be better with yourself, in turn, better with others.
One fallacy of meditation is that you must not think. Most beginners constantly get lost in thought when trying to meditate so they believe they suck at it.
There are two options:
1. Beat ourselves up each time a thought arises. (Reinforces judgment)
2. Bring a sense of curiosity to our thoughts and sensations. (Bringing a playful curiosity, instead of judgment, was something I learned from coach Tripp Lanier. This tiny shift in perception has helped me have my best performances, with everything on the line.
When we can bring a sense of curiosity to what we are experiencing, we lose the self-judgment. Then can the mind and body be at peace.
I’ve struggled with a meditation practice for years, constantly judging and fighting myself. I know I’m not alone in this.
Have you also experienced a similar struggle?
I now think of it as an adventure into myself; going into the clouds of my head and into the dark caves and tall forests of my body. Sometimes there is a volcano erupting in my chest, and I feel it completely. Other times, I ride the wave of excitement. We can begin to see the changing nature of everything within us and around us.
Meditation is not a practice to escape reality; it is the exact opposite. It helps us see and experience reality closer to what it is. Meditation helps us to gain an understanding about ourselves, others, and ultimately, be greater contributors to society.
Please don’t jump into meditating for 30 minutes to build your practice. To create a lifelong practice, start by meditating 1 minute at the same time every day. Do you have 1 minute for yourself? Practice two minutes per day the second week, three minutes the third, and so on. In 4 months, you’ll be consistently meditating 15–20 minutes every day. Not only that, but it will seem “easy.” It will have become routine, and you’ll thank yourself daily.
Important note; You don’t have to sit cross-legged. You can sit on the edge of a chair or stand. And ask yourself “body how do you want to breathe?”
I put my energy into a few key areas. You can find that out here at andrewparr.com/now. It’s not a blog, but a page that details where I am currently focusing my energy. I also use this now exercise to help my athletes focus on what’s important for them and far from distraction. I got this idea from my friend Tristan de Montebello who sends me his blog posts. He got it from Derek Sivers who also writes fantastic blog posts. Thank you to the two of them.