My First 10 Days of Meditation
Okay so as I spend so much of my time reading articles about business online I have found several common trends. One of which being that a lot of people take time out of their day to meditate, or something of a similar nature. I also heard a lot about an app called Headspace, suggesting that this is the perfect thing to start your journey with. So I researched it, downloaded it and tried meditating the first thing the next day. With headspace you get the first 10 guided sessions free. So that is what I did, 10 sessions, this is my journey of my first steps into the world of meditation.
Day 1 — Tuesday
It’s a Tuesday morning, Mollie goes to work and I sit down in bed, legs crossed, headphones in and start the app. I think about the one time I have tried meditation before, in year 9 at school, we all lay on the floor and “meditated” in a Religious Studies lesson. Which consisted of some falling asleep, some fighting highschool giggles and others actually gaining something from it. I can’t say I was the latter. So this was my first true attempt at meditating, guided by a softly spoken and friendly voice in my ear holes.
So we first start with a short animation. Introducing meditation and explaining some of the benefits of it. Okay I think, I’m ready to start my journey, and see where it takes me.
You start by getting comfy, breathing deeply and then closing your eyes. Attempting to relax into it. It’s hard not to feel self conscious at the point but fortunately I’m sat at home alone in my room where it’s warm, safe and free from judgement. Then you’re instructed to become self aware, focus on how your body feels, physical sensations and lead this into audial sensations. Become aware of your surroundings and the space your in. Easy enough right?
From there you move onto this recurring idea of scanning down your body, it helped me to think that I was being scanned like in some sci-fi movie. Head to toe, top to bottom, every bit of information being recorded and analysed. Sadly real life doesn’t consist of this being a thing sat in my own home, so I had to “analyse” the data myself. But it was good to check in with myself and observe how everything felt. None of us are free from ailments 100% of the time and it was nice to be able to address that.
From there you focus more on breathing, trying to count the number of breaths, up to 10, and then start from one again. It’s amazing how much your mind wants to go off and do its own thing. Luckily this early on I have a voice in my ear reminding me to bring my focus back in. Then to reward you for your focus you are given time to let your mind wander, no direction, just let thoughts pass through. Before finally bringing the focus back in on yourself, your body and your surroundings.
My take after my first 10 minutes of meditation? I found it incredibly hard to focus, it did feel like I had been sat there for 10 minutes, time didn’t pass faster, or slower for that matter. But I felt proud of myself for starting my journey and I did actually feel very good afterwards too, although focusing on the meditation was hard, I felt more focused on my day afterwards.
I also added some stretching to my meditation, as again I have heard that stimulating circulation like this first thing in the morning is also really good for you. So immediately after meditating I will also be stretching, to see if that helps improve my approach to the day.
Day 2 — Wednesday
In comes day 2, the challenge is to do this for 10 days. So day 2 is vital if I have any hope of committing to this routine. It’s Wednesday, and currently with our schedules being all over the place Mollie and I go for breakfast at about 8am, I choose not to sacrifice more sleep in order to meditate, so instead decided to meditate at work. So I showered, got dressed, went out, ate, had a coffee and then went to work before I meditated on day 2. I wondered whether this change of environment and change of timing would affect the experience of effectiveness of meditating.
So day 2 was very similar to day one, the same routine, trying to build on the previous day, trying to train the mind to be able to let go of thoughts and be able to focus on something as simplistic as breathing. It felt really good to meditate again, and I was looking forward to it the whole morning beforehand. It was much easier to focus this time, now I knew how it was going to go. I felt great afterwards, but meditating at work did give me a shock from the post arriving. Surprisingly I’m not used to post being shoved through the door of my bedroom early in the morning, so you can understand why this would startle me.
Day 3 — Thursday
Okay, time for day 3, I must be getting the hang of this now. I must be close to mastering it right? Wrong, apparently you can learn a new skill in as little as 20 hours, whilst mastery takes 10,000 hours. So far I’d committed 30 minutes, unsurprisingly I found day 3 to be mixed. Again the process is the same, and I found it easier to count my breaths, I was much more able to settle into it, however, scanning through my body to find how I was feeling was really hard to focus on on this day. I couldn’t tell you why. The metaphor used in today’s animation was that of watching traffic on the road, that its easy to become distracted by a single car or thought and follow it. When in reality we should just sit back and watch the traffic flow by. This metaphor definitely helped
Day 4 — Friday
Friday. My first day of this new routine with having Mollie around, we both have Friday morning off and so I did wonder how and when I would meditate. Whether I would at all even. Luckily the take 10 program only takes 10 minutes of each day, so I merely sat down and did it while she was in the shower. Perfect timing! I was very pleased that I managed to fit this into my day even when I could have let the distraction of another person being around interrupt my program. Time also passed much faster, and I felt great afterwards. Gong strong so far!
Day 4.5 — Saturday
Slight hiccup, was meeting some friends of mine who were visiting Madrid and I slept in, not giving myself time to meditate in the morning. So instead of following the guided meditation from the app, I simply repeated what I had practiced all week whilst on the Metro on the way to their hotel. This worked pretty well, I wasn’t worried about other people being around, I knew I had enough time and I felt a lot more awake after I had taken the time to sit back and be mindful of how I felt, rather than rushing out of the house and waiting impatiently on the Metro. Day 4.5 because I did meditate, but it wasn’t part of the “official” program. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t good for me though!
Day 5 — Sunday
Had the whole day with Mollie and my visitors, again I did wonder when I would find time to do my next session. So I suggested to Mollie that she try it with me, it’s not been particularly hard to get into up to this point so why wouldn’t she be able to just drop right in and try it out? We sat together on the bed, legs crossed, eyes closed, her leg resting slightly on mine, breathing slowly. It was great! I felt great as always afterwards and it was really nice to be able to share that experience with someone. Very calming to take time out of the day with someone you care about. Five days in and I’m feeling great, it’s getting easier and feel that I have been in a better mood the majority of the time I’ve been doing it.
Day 6 — Wednesday
The astute among you will realise Wednesday doesn’t come after Sunday and that one of two things has happened. Either my reception teaching failed me, or I’ve messed up this whole “new routine new me” business. I wish I could blame my reception class teacher but sadly this isn’t a mistake 20 years in the making. This is just me failing to commit time to this project. A shortcoming on my part. BUT I am not one to let a set back stop me from finishing what I started so onto day 6. I woke in Granda, on my Easter break with Mollie. Beautiful city, really cool to have spent a couple of days there. Sadly it is that same reason that I didn’t keep consistent with my meditation, but I found time on Wednesday to do session number 6. I felt a bit uncomfortable in myself, I’m unsure as to whether that was because I hadn’t done it in a while, I’d had a stressful few days entertaining guests, or just because I’d spend a lot of time sat in the car the day before. Either way it was nice to be doing it again, and I felt calmer and focused again afterwards, albeit during I was struggling to focus like I had been able to a few days prior.
Day 7 — Monday
Oops. Same mistake again. This time I’ll do it, this time I’m sure I can stick with it. Then suddenly Mollie’s classes are cancelled and we get a couple more hours together before either of us need to be somewhere, great! Great for us, not great for my meditation schedule. I wonder if this is just an excuse I am making for myself. But I decide to focus on it when I get to work, meditating before I start work for the day. I felt groggy and guilty beforehand. Groggy because I had about 5 hours sleep and guilty because I hadn’t meditated for a good five days, by which time I should have finished this challenge! Owell, I sat down, focused on myself, my breathing and my mind and ten minutes later I felt great! I felt so much more energised and focused than I had done ten minutes before. Either I needed ten more minutes sleep to feel perfect, or this mindfulness business is really starting to pay off.
Day 8 — Tuesday
Back into it now, my parents were in town visiting, I had a bunch of jobs I wanted to do before I went to meet them but I choose to meditate instead. Yes I could have got a couple of things done, but only a couple of things that could realistically wait, whereas if I didn’t meditate now, I knew I wouldn’t make time for it at any other point in the day. So I choose that. I was distracted on day 8, found it hard to focus on what I was doing there and then, my mind wandering to entertaining guests, the jobs I wondered if I had time for etc etc. But I had done it, only two days left and I was looking forward to tomorrow.
Day 9 — Wednesday
Again meditating at work, Wednesdays are one of my more stressful days, so being able to meditate first thing has been really important to help me focus on getting through the day, not feeling tired and being able to concentrate on my work. I felt stressed beforehand and taking time to meditate first was good to give me some clarity to go into the day with. Only one day left now!
Day 10 — Thursday
Final day. Final 10 minutes. It went well, a little hard to focus at points but overall I feel I’ve got the hand of the very basics by this point at least. As I open my eyes for the last time I feel a serene sense of achievement wash over me. I’ve done it! Admittedly sporadic at points but I managed to gain control of my routine again in the last week. Always finish strong.
After spending 100 minutes of my life on this, that’s 0.00001% of my life I won’t get back, I have a couple of things I’ve learnt and want to share.
- Meditation is not hard
- Meditation is not time consuming
- I don’t know whether meditating or just taking a moment before your rush into you day is what helps
- I have every intention of continuing meditating
- I feel great after every session
That’s basically it, it’s not hard, it doesn’t take much time, I want to carry on because it makes me feel great. I don’t know why it makes me feel great, maybe because I don’t just get out of bed at the last second and panic rush around the house, or because I take a second to just think about myself before I try and do a bajillion things at work. Maybe being mindful every morning really does impact how your brain operates during the day. The fact is I don’t know, but I do know that I feel good. In general better than before. Not every day. Today for example was long and hard and I wasn’t in the mood at all. But overall I feel arguably better than before.
Would I Recommend Meditation?
Yes. I don’t think it’ll work for everyone but I think that you have no excuse not to try it. Don’t have ten minutes spare in your day? That’s because you don’t want to spare ten minutes of your day trying something new. Which is fine, but don’t lie to me or yourself. I dare you to try it!