Benefits of Meditation — Why I Picked it Up

The two men that got me into seriously considering meditation are Russell Brand and Sam Harris. There are countless others that I’ve heard speak up on this as well, but they were not particularly influential to my own path.

In the mornings I spend at least 10–20 minutes meditating, just focusing on the calmness of my breath after a cold shower. I’ve adopted this method since the start of October (half way through November now) and I plan on continuing due to the benefits of my mood and productivity.

It is an incredible time for reflection as well as calming everything down that is happening in one’s life. The mind tends to escape so that is when the reflecting happens. And the calmness is when you focus on the repetitiveness of an action. That can be a breath, heart-beat, the meowing of your cat, etc.

3 Things to Avoid

I think it’s important to mention that there are definitely things you should avoid if you want these practices to be better for you. These are the things that I have noticed fail to help my mindfulness.

1. Falling Asleep with an Electronic Device

For one I have noticed that if I fall asleep to a show or a movie and leave my laptop running over night, I tend to find it harder to be mindful in the morning and meditate. I don’t know the science behind this, but I am sure there is some specific reason for this to be happening.

On the other hand, if I purposefully go to sleep and read a book before I choose to sleep, I tend to get a wonderful night sleep and it’s easy for me to get up in the morning. It is actually remarkable how different I feel.

This has actually been very difficult for me to pick up, because I for the last 4 years have pretty much gotten into the habit to fall asleep to sound.

2. Masturbation

I personally believe this point is incredibly important. I have found that when I masturbate before I go to sleep it is very hard for me to get stuff done the next morning. I don’t know why this is. This could only be a personal thing. But I have abstinated from masturbation because of this and would recommend for you to do the same. There are countless good reasons to do this. Healthy masturbation, within reason, is not necessarily bad for you. But too much of everything can lead to some unhealthy habits that do not promote productivity, well-being, happiness, and good living. So it could be worth the google search.

3. Drinking

I have almost completely started avoiding drinking on school nights and nights that I want to get stuff done. This is kind of a no-brainer. It is good on the mind and also good on the budget. I recommend doing the same.

Top 10 benefits that I’ve Seen in my Personal Life

  1. Helps You to Appreciate Life More
  2. Calms the Mind
  3. Increases Energy Level
  4. Anxiety Decrease
  5. Gain Clarity
  6. Boosts Confidence
  7. Happiness Increases
  8. Productivity
  9. Problems Become Less Serious
  10. Promotes Concentration

How to do It?

I’ll borrow from the comedian, actor, and author to illustrate how to meditate. I think he said it very well. Good man that he is.

“The technique is this: You shut your eyes and inwardly, silently, think a mantra. A mantra is just a word or a series of words. In this case a word. You think the word the way you would think any thought, in a relaxed, unforced way. Not like an angry inner shout; that defeats the object. You calmly, silently repeat, “mantra.” Then again: “mantra.” You continually think, “mantra.” If you notice another thought come, and it will, you don’t get wound up like you’re a Texan border guard and your own thoughts are Mexican fence hoppers; you just calmly return to thinking “mantra” ” (Revolution, 113–4).

How do You Feel?

To give you an example, three months ago was one of the first time I ever meditated. I tried it out because of Sam Harris’ book, Waking Up. It’s a guide to spirituality for secular people, such as me myself and I. There’s not a lot of us out there, or so I here from my friends. This is what I wrote after one of these sessions:

I spent 10 minutes meditating this morning. And I feel very rejuvenated and grateful for the little things in life. I feel awake and have the desire to be productive. At 5:30 in the morning (I had less than 6 hours sleep).

I also tried meditating with a friend. I forget what this technique is called, but we stared at each others eyes for 30 minutes. There were interruptions from the start, silly giggling and the such, but after the 15 minute mark it pretty much became constant uninterrupted eye contact.

This is especially recommended for couples. There are a lot of different ways of meditating and techniques and it can be fun. Kundalini yoga is one (I attended a class and it was fantastic), or regular yoga. Whichever way, yoga is easy to pick up and doesn’t need to be done an hour at a time. 10 minutes will suffice from the start.

Mental Noting

Mental noting is another great practice. I did it for 20 minutes this morning. The way Dan Harris explains it is in regular life when you feel anger, you just get angry. But if this happens when you are meditating, just make the mental note: oh this is anger. This is the act of mindfulness and the practice of mental noting.

Sometimes for example when you want to eat something like a cheesecake and you have been practicing the act of mindfulness on a regular basis you will tend to have more self-control. You realize that hunger and as you have been regularly practicing during meditations, you acknowledge the feelings and refocus it into the act of not needing that cheesecake.

I saw this recently in my own life. I’ve been practicing the art of mindfulness alongside with diligently taking cold showers every morning. And at the College where I study I saw someone that I was interested in and wanted to talk to. She was sitting alone and I told myself: “oh actually no, you shouldn’t. She’s probably waiting for someone.” But then, because of the habit of having to do something I really didn’t want to do (cold showers & meditation) I was able to turn around half way up the stairs and walk up to her. We ended up talking for an hour without any awkward pauses in between. It was great.

I know that if I did not have these personal victories of mine I would not be able to do something like that. This is just an example from my personal life of how repetitive self-control in private translates to real life. I’m not saying that I’m perfect. And I’m sure I’ll have slumps where I’ll stop doing cold showers for a week at a time. But that is the beauty of it, if I can see change in my own life, why won’t you be able to do the same?

Research on Meditation

There has been research conducted saying that people that practice meditation tend to have better health. For example, under brain scanning it revealed that the sides of their brain associated with self-awareness grew and the area associated with stress shrank. That in the words of Dan Harris “seems very compelling” evidence. The source is included at the bottom right below.

Sources:

Before you go…

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keep reflecting.

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Jakub Ferencik

Author of “Up in the Air” & “Beyond Reason” available on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | Research assistant for EUROPEUM Prague | 550+ blog posts with 1+ mil. views