How I conquered meditation
On paper, Ive been trying to meditate for over 2 years. I’ve read books. I’ve downloaded apps. I’ve told people “yeah I meditate sometimes, it’s awesome”. And I’ve been a big fat liar until 3 weeks ago.
I’ve been successfully and regularly meditating for about 3 weeks, and I don’t plan on stopping. Here are my 3 rules for how to meditate successfully. They are obviously based on my personal experience, but if you have been *trying* to meditate, they could work for you (and if anyone has any others, I’d love to know).
Rule 1 - set a timer
I’ve tried winging it, and just sitting down for “a few minutes”. That shit doesn’t work. You need a timer. Luckily there’s an app for that.
Rule 2 - do it daily
My expectation is to sit for 10 min per day as a rule. I’ve skipped a couple of days but those are exceptions.
Rule 3 - don’t expect results
I’ve made the mistake of assuming that a successful meditation is one where you can stop your thoughts. So when that didn’t happen, I got frustrated. I read that you’re not supposed to get frustrated with yourself but that’s hard. Especially when you realize you’ve just spent a full minute thinking about that movie you saw a year ago and it took you until now to realize it!
Now I expect to meditate “successfully” 1% of the time. Or rather i redefined what success means. My friend Jon, who’s been kind enough to teach me, put it best. He said thoughts will appear that distract you, but just tell them “you can hang out, it’s totally cool, but I’m gonna put my attention back on my breath”. That’s worked really well for me.
That’s it. There are no results to be expected. I just make sure to sit for 10 minutes, (almost) every day, and don’t expect to become a yogi overnight. I just bring my attention back to my breath whenever I realize it’s wandered (which happens a lot but I’m totally cool with it). In other words, meditation for me is not an outcome, it’s a process.