I remember my first time reading The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It completely changed the way I viewed the world around me.
The Power of Now is a book about embracing the present moment instead of struggling against it; instead of asking yourself “how could I be present in this moment?” you simply turn off your thoughts and focus your mind on simply “being” — that is, being fully in the present instead of worrying about the past or the future (as Tolle reminds us, this constant anxiety of past and future prevents us from truly living in the moment).
Embracing the present moment is crucial to living a life of happiness, not devoid from worry but not focused on it.
You don’t have to look very hard to discover how meditation has formed the lives of many others to come before.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits helps his readers form better habits and live simpler, healthier lives for themselves and their friends and family around them. Although he espouses a number of different mindfulness techniques for his readers to use, he states that meditation is the most important habit for anyone to learn as it becomes the foundation for everything else you do.
If you can learn how to use your mind for your benefit you can do so much more great things in your life, because meditation reminds you to be calm and focus on the present and what’s important to you now and not later.
So Why Meditation?
I was always a little wary of meditation: it seemed like one of those things that were supposed to be a “cure-all” for your problems but only reserved for the select few that seemed to master it. I mean, why bother doing something that no one seemed to be doing and still living happy and healthy lives?
Look, meditation may not be for you — and that’s okay — but I suspect it will work for so many people that are not doing it right now because they’re not aware of the benefits or are afraid of failing at it (or they just simply don’t know how to do it).
The good thing is that you can’t fail at meditation and that anyone can do it. You don’t need to do it well, but like any other thing, it’s a skill that you build over time. You don’t have to read well to read a book, but if you go for the hardest one on the shelf when you’re starting out you’re gonna have a bad time.
You can approach meditation in the wrong way.
The problem is that many of us want to see immediate benefits when doing something. We set a habit to go to the gym but quit after weeks of not seeing results, or start to write a book and quit after we get frustrated.
If you focus on the benefits that meditation can give you instead of focusing on the process of meditation itself, then you’re doomed to failure.
As I learned in my meditation sessions, if you simply connect with your mind and connect with your thoughts then you can free yourself from worry — not from “getting rid” of the thoughts in some way but by identifying the thoughts you have as thoughts and then focusing back on the present moment.
In a way, it is almost like your thoughts and feelings are forming an interconnected web around your mind, but they only gain power if you give them power.
When you feel stressed, you simply have to breathe and then identify the stress as “feeling” (it’s okay to say this aloud) and focus back on the present moment (and breathing helps with this by tethering you back into reality).
If you focus on “getting rid” of the thought then you will never make progress. We constantly try to chase after feelings of anxiety or anger or jealousy and end up falling prey to them instead of simply noting they are there and then coming back to the present moment (as Tolle suggests throughout his book).
Eliminating The “How” Stumbling Block
You don’t have to “go it alone” with meditation.
You can use a program like Headspace to guide you through the progress, and with a simple 10 minutes every day (preferably in the morning) you will start to see results very soon (for me, it was about 2 weeks into my daily sessions). In the span of a month of meditation, I noticed myself tuning into my thoughts more readily and catching myself before becoming my thoughts, instead noting them as “feelings” and snapping myself back to the present moment (and this becomes almost effortless with practice).
As an added bonus to immersing myself in the moment, meditating for 10 minutes a day helped me develop a writing habit, a reading habit, a journaling habit, and a happier and healthier life.
Simply put, meditation changed my life — and it could change yours too.
It helped me connect with myself and realize what I really want out of life and that life is short and there’s no time like the present to chase your dreams. It reminded me to slow down and breathe. And it reminded me that taking stock of my life as it is now is the best way to take massive action on my dreams moving forward.
Meditation has also helped me transform my fledgling first draft into a comprehensive second draft of my fiction novel (slowly but surely ensuring I will get there).
When you constantly meet your daily goals, you will transform your life for the better.
And it all starts with mindfulness techniques today to guide you towards a better tomorrow.
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Blake is a writer, dreamer, and coffee lover based in Vancouver, Canada. He helps writers step into their potential and create great art. If you’re looking to take your writing to the next level, you can download a FREE copy of “The Bulletproof Writer’s Handbook” to conquer the blank page today.