Working with many busy company owners, executives and professionals, I know how hard they find it to practice mindfulness.
If you can’t easily shut out distractions so you can give your great ideas room to grow, one of the best ways to cultivate that ability—and to live a more flourishing life—is through meditation.
Meditation means many different things to different people.
To me, meditation means awareness and is one of many Positive Psychology Practices. Whenever you do something with awareness, it is meditation. Of course that very well may be sitting with your eyes closed while watching your breath (I’ll provide an example of how to do that in a minute).
You might even consider that it can also be listening to birds sing or a waterfall. As long as these activities are free from any other distraction, it is effective meditation.
When you think of it that way, meditation becomes less of a technique and more of a way of life. It leads us to a state of stillness or a state of consciousness when the mind is free of scattered thoughts.
Do you know what these 3 have in common when they created their inventions?
– Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity,
– Thomas Edison was operating from that same state when he invented the lightbulb,
– Steve Jobs came up with Apple’s sleek designs.
They were all operating from a state of stillness when the inventions came to be.
Meditation allows us to experience that state more often. It clears out the clutter—so distractions don’t steal our attention away from the power that is always flowing to and through us.
I believe that people are creative, capable, wise and good. Being in this state and operating from this state gives you access to vast possibilities for every creative solution and every breakthrough idea that you need and desire.
Many people know meditation calms the mind, and reduces stress and anxiety. But there are a number of additional benefits that you might not be aware of:
– Enhances the immune system,
– Increases levels of happiness,
– Increases productivity,
– Increases mental focus and concentration and the list goes on.
I find it interesting that we can experience all of these mental, physical and emotional benefits (and there are more) simply by sitting still for 20 minutes.
Of course, when most people sit down to meditate, their primary goal is to reach the point of thoughtlessness.
Here are a few tips that will help you get “there” more often:
1. Sit down and get comfortable. It helps to keep your back as straight as you can.
2. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit relatively undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.
3. Close your eyes and simply become aware of your breath as it comes in and as it goes out. You can also focus on a sound or repeat a mantra.
4. Create a judgement free zone. Don’t try to empty your mind—that’s where many people go wrong. Don’t keep repeating, “I must stop thinking.” Instead, let your thoughts, feelings and whatever emotions you are feeling at the time flow. Don’t judge them; be at peace with them.
5. If your mind goes to a sound in the environment, such as a person speaking in the other room or siren going by, that’s ok. Just revert back to watching your breath as soon as you notice that your mind has wandered.
6. If someone calls your name or you have a cramp in your leg from sitting, address it. If you don’t address things like that, the person or the cramp will prove to be so distracting you’ll never be able to enter a state of stillness. By addressing the issue, you’re eliminating the distraction and allowing yourself to move forward with your meditation.
As you continue to sit still , your mind will go back and forth between your breath, your thoughts, a sensation in your body, and emotions. Each time you realize your mind is distracted, go back to watching your breath or repeating your mantra.
Little by little, the sounds will disappear. The sensations will disappear. And the thoughts will disappear.
What will be left?
YOU. Your creative, capable, wise and good self.
But you can’t try to get there. You’ve got to let it happen.
When you reach that state of tranquility, you’ll be so happy that you won’t care what’s going on around you. You’ll be so content in your meditation that you’ll have no interest in moving because the stillness feels so much sweeter.
However, if it doesn’t happen—if you don’t quite get it, it’s not a big deal because you’ll still come out of the session better than when you went in. You got to experience restful alertness and all the other benefits of meditation. Sitting quietly is NEVER a waste of time.
Be patient. The benefits will pay off.
One of the meditations I do, Loving Kindness Meditation, is in my 5 video series on Positive Psychology tips, I invite you to sign up to try for yourself.
How would you like to maximize your personal and business performance and increase your happiness? Jennifer Jimbere is the President of Jimbere Coaching and Consulting.
Unleash your strengths, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maintain momentum and make it a great day!
Image credit and artist: LA artist and old friend Jennifer Verge
Inspired by: My email sign off:)