Imagine if your email didn’t have a spam filter and, for every relevant message, you had to sift through hundreds of messages related to Nigerian money scams, Viagra and offers from Chinese printing companies.
Meditating helps filter out the internal and external ‘noise’ and negative self-talk, providing us with the clarity of present-moment awareness. As we learn to quieten the ‘monkey mind’, we quickly become less stressed, more creative, more productive and more adaptable to the demands of life, making meditation a proven competitive advantage in business and in life.
10 simple meditation tips to get you started
1. There’s no need to swap the suit and tie for robes
meditation can be done anywhere – in an office chair, on the bus, in your car (while a passenger or parked of course) on a lounge, sitting up in a bed. there’s no need to tie yourself in knots like a pretzel. just sit comfortably with your back supported.
2. What to think about thinking
one of the most common misnomers about meditation is that the mind needs to be silent. the fact is thoughts will come for even the most experienced meditator. instead of fighting thoughts, just observe them and bring yourself back to your breath. the more you practice this, the easier it gets and the sooner you discover that the key to silencing the mind is being completely indifferent to all of your thoughts.
3. It’s as simple as breathing
close your eyes and take a few deep conscious breaths. now allow your breath to fall into its own natural rhythm. keep your gentle awareness on the breath, noticing the way your stomach expands and contracts and the way your breath feels as it goes in and out of your nostrils. thoughts will pop up and that’s completely ok. if thoughts come, just smile inside and gently bring your awareness back to the breath.
4. It’s not a stillness competition
if you need to scratch an itch or shift to get comfy, you can. there’s no right or wrong way to do it, so just sit comfortably and relax.
5. Don’t try to meditate
meditation might be the only time in life where not striving hard for a goal is actually beneficial. when we meditate we’re not trying to achieve anything or get anywhere. the process is the goal. we’re not interested in trying to control the mind or stop the flow of thoughts.
6. Start short
to start with, practice this simple meditation technique every morning for five minutes. as you become more comfortable you can slowly increase the time to 10/15 minutes.
7. Go for quantity over quality
no, that isn't a typo. when it comes to meditation, the saying ‘quality over quantity’ doesn’t apply. instead, you should practice being completely unconcerned about the quality of your meditations and instead strive for quantity. in other words, be as consistent as possible. the quality of your life will improve the more you sit.
8. Put it on your ‘not to do list’
for many people the thought of adding another thing to the ‘to do list’ is unfathomable. rather than thinking of meditation as another thing we have to do, try reframing it as 10 minutes to ourselves with absolutely nothing to do.
9. We’re not practicing to get good at meditating
we don’t meditate for the experience that we have during the meditation. we meditate because it enriches our life in every way.
10. Meditation is not meditation
there are a myriad of different meditation techniques out there, with differing degrees of difficulty and results. if you want to go deeper with your practice, it’s good to find a technique and teacher that suits you.