How a little “headspace” changed my life.
We worry too much. We live in the past and fear the future; overthink situations more than we should and make decision based on the expectation of others. Everybody does it, at least a couple of times. The problem begins when you start dwelling on such emotions and thoughts too much; because that’s what they are, just thoughts. And thoughts are only as powerful as you let them be.
I decided to learn how to meditate after watching a YouTube video of Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, being interviewed. When asked what he did to maintain focus and keep his thoughts clear, he said he meditated. I knew what meditation was, or at least I think I did. I didn’t know that ordinary people also meditated. I honestly thought it was meant for the monks and Buddhist (that’s what watching too much Chinese movies gets you). In a quest to learn more, I went to the internet and started doing research. I was astounded by the number of people who meditated and the impact it had on their life. I decided there and then that I too would learn the skill. I haven’t quite mastered it, but I am glad I watched that clip.
After trying out a couple of apps (since I couldn’t get a local trainer or mentor), I finally landed on Headspace. Headspace is a brainchild of Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. I have been using it for quite a while now and the impact has been impressive. I love the app because it focuses on mindfulness (zen) meditation, something that really intrigues me.
So here is what a little headspace has taught me this far:
· The sky is always blue: We see dark grey clouds and often think that the sky is no longer blue. Well it is. Above the dark clouds, the blue sky is still there. That’s kind of like how our minds and lives are. We see the dark clouds and forget about the sky. The clouds are temporary, they are passing; never forget that. Whatever situation you are passing through, take comfort in the fact that nothing lasts forever. So don’t get too attached to a particular feeling, situation or emotion. Being cognizant of this fact is important. It teaches you acceptance. Are you happy? Marvel in it. Are you sad, angry or frustrated? Let the emotion flow through you. Don’t try to change or deny it. Just let it flow. Cry if you need to.
· Awareness is important: We are often so busy that we forget to listen to what our body tells us. We are not aware of our constant state. Being aware of how your body feels and listening to the signals it gives can help avoid situations like burn out or mental blocks and fatigue. Because you scan your body, you are aware of when to stop and simply relax. Being aware of your environment and present space is important. It helps you to be present in the now.
· Sometimes the best way to solve something is to do nothing: Sounds like a poor advice, but it is actually true. I have learned from personal experiences that the water “calms” after a ripple. Sometimes the best way is to let things work out in their own natural sequence. And the mind like that too. All these flooding thoughts, both positive and negative, the best you can do is simply watch. If you do this, you realize that eventually the mind calms down. The thoughts don’t necessarily go away, but then the stop moving so fast.
If you cant solve it, it isn’t a problem-it’s reality
· Acceptance: Core principle of meditation is acceptance. Acceptance is actually one of the hardest things to do. Letting go of past experiences, of strong emotions, of the illusion of perfection; all these things are not easy things to do. Nonetheless, once you begin accepting more, you fall more in love with yourself. It also makes you less judgmental of others and situations.
Life is too short not to be happy. To live a limited life trapped by dogma is to live an incomplete life. I believe that we can only give out that which we have in. Compassion, love, loyalty, honesty; all these virtues come from within. It starts with accepting who you are, your imperfections and situations. Take time to grow yourself as an individual. Love yourself enough so that you spread that happiness to others. Be compassionate enough to yourself then exuberate it to everyone else. It all begins with you. You realize that life is very beautiful when you treat your head right. Songs, music, dance, friendship and even hardships become sweeter.
“We don’t grow old, we only forget how to be young”- Henry Jr.
Below are resources I found incredibly helpful and educational when it comes to learning about self-awareness:
Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQJ6ESCWQotBwtJm0Ff_gyQ
The minimalists -http://www.theminimalists.com/