The Lingering Death of a Meditation Practice
Why I said farewell to Headspace
I can’t remember winning many awards in life.
At primary school I won Sports Day’s three-legged race two years in a row, tied to the same girl.
At sunday school I won bibles for good attendance. One would have been enough since they contain the same stories.
At high school, I won a bronze weight lifting patch. Enough said.
Years later, I returned to winning form. I was awarded badges for meditating with the Headspace app. But winning digital awards became discouraging. I never managed a streak long enough to reach day 15.
Here I am advocating meditation, and I can’t make it past the two-week mark.
Headspace has an excellent meditation app, but if you miss a day, your streak goes back to zero.
I would become stressed about not taking time to relieve stress.
How odd is that?
A Daily Habit Becomes A Chore
One recommendation, to help form the habit, is to meditate in the morning.
I often wonder, are people who meditate in the morning single, living in an apartment a short distance from work?
I need an hour to get ready in the mornings and an hour to commute. So morning meditation is out, if I want to keep my job.
The evening isn’t much better. Dinner, followed by a writing stint, feed the cats and catch up with The Man in the High Castle.
But without meditation, I can become tense, worrisome, and drained of confidence. Headspace’s Andy Puddicombe has transformed meditation for everyone. Andy became my constant meditating companion, but, through no fault of Andy, meditation became uninteresting or dare I say it, boring.
If you’re finding meditation a struggle, day in and day out, it’s time to mix it up a little.
There’s an innumerable amount of apps to help vary the style. You could also go tech free, otherwise known as the silent approach.
You can also bring meditation into everyday activities.
What You’ll Find at the End of the Meditation Rainbow
Meditation awakens your mind to the present moment. You’ll also develop a deeper sense of who you are and how you spend time.
Mindfulness is bringing (on purpose) your awareness to the present moment. Be aware of your thoughts and your body — without interpretation or judgement. Dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future can generate stress. But by staying calm and focused on the ‘here and now’, you can bring your nervous system back into balance.
My exploration of mindfulness began eight years ago. I was searching for a way to get through a difficult time when I discovered The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.
I dipped my toe into the Law of Attraction and Charles Haanel’s Master Key System. All the theories relied on meditative techniques but the big turn off with “The Law” is the way almost everyone turns it into a get rich quick scheme.
There is, I believe, supernatural ability in the power of thought, but it has a greater purpose than making money.
The Power Inside Us
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a big car or house. But you shouldn’t allow material desires to distract you from the real power of meditation.
Meditation gives you the ability to:
- Rewire your brain to change the way you think. If you stop thinking in a way that causes self-inflicted stress, you can change how you experience life.
- Strengthen your subconscious mind to create space for new ideas. You need not try hard or make any effort. Your subconscious mind will do the hard stuff and deliver you a welcome dose of creativity.
- Reflect on events that have annoyed you during your day and allow you to develop perspective. For example, what could you do to avoid repeating mistakes?
- Quieten your overly critical inner dialogue that influences your emotions. Meditation lets you become aware of your internal narrative, which helps you to avoid overreacting in certain situations.
You will not get rich in monetary terms sitting on your own, listening to sounds of nature or your breathing. But you will create a calm and positive mindset.
Meditate if you need a sense of joy and confidence, that will empower you to handle life’s challenges.
How to Spice Up Meditation
When times are tough, some people pay for life coaches or psychotherapists.
You don’t need to.
Understand your thoughts, and you’ll see how they affect your outlook.
No crossed legs or medals to earn. Be you.
You can enjoy what technology can bring to meditation while avoiding expensive subscriptions.
With Sound — Apps can help you enhance the experience with gentle music or meditative tones. Without narration, try closing your eyes and see what comes to mind.
With Silence — Appreciate the beauty in silence. The creaks of wooden stairs, wind blowing against the window or cars driving by. Be attentive to what’s around you.
Walking or Running — Feel the ground beneath your feet and the unevenness of the path. Listen to the surrounding environment. When I go running at night, I breathe the night air and enjoy the moonlight and stars. That’s a form of meditation even as I stagger all over the road.
Meals — Savour the flavours and textures of the food. Have you ever wondered why some meals vanish quickly? Can you remember how it tasted? Sometimes we eat on autopilot.
Meditation doesn’t need logs or progress bars, and you don’t need to meditate at the same time every day.
Skip days without regret.
Meditation looks more exciting than ever, and after an on/off cycle for years, I’m beginning anew.
Value life and the time you have to enjoy it. We know we can’t recover lost time, but we can take action to help us feel and experience the time remaining.
Waste no more time.
Alexia Bjarkan doesn’t waste time. Check out her fast track approach to mindfulness if you dare.
Thanks for reading to the end. I’d be over the moon if you give a little 💚. It will help a few others find me 🙂. Take care.