Meditation - It's Not What You Think!

It’s not a new age fad, you don’t have to embrace Buddhism, burn incense, or even sit cross-legged!

Did you know that several well known companies share meditation with employees and even provide meditation rooms? Here are a few:
Google, Facebook, Intel, Twitter, Aetna Health Insurance, General Mills, and Time Warner.

Why People Meditate
Allieviate stress
Get better at processing information
Get to know oneself
Tap into creativity
Better health
Improved concentration
Discover the purpose of life

Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques to change your life. Meditation is really just about creating a new relationship with your thoughts: that incessant voice in your head; some of us refer to it as our inner roommate.

An MRI study at Harvard found that people who took an eight week meditation course had thicker gray matter in the areas of the brain associated with self awareness and compassion, while the regions associated with stress, the amygdala, the primal region of the brain associated with fear and emotion, actually shrank.

Stay in the present moment
Don’t judge
Have no expectations
Give up the need to know why
Always choose what empowers you
Practice gratitude

Meditation: I think of it as a short cut to mindfulness!
Mindfulness principles fuel the magic in our lives and open us up to possibility!

Meditation trains us to become observers of our thoughts.
We get better at pushing the pause button when we get triggered.
We get better at responding instead of reacting.

We see what’s going on in our heads without getting carried away by it.

We begin to stay curious instead of frustrated or fearful.

Practice being grateful for even the difficult stuff that shows up. Often our most painful experiences have provided the nudge we needed to move us in a different direction.
Practice staying curious!

Glass of water analogy

The practice is simple. Not much to it.

It is just a breathing technique that quiets the mind and body so we can experience our natural state which is to be peaceful and joyful.

Pour some sand in a glass of water, stir, set it down and watch what happens. As the water becomes still, the sand settles to the bottom of the glass.

When we focus on our breath, our brain gets a break and we settle down too.

Think of meditation as bicep curls for your brain.

You simply come back to your breath over and over again. Acknowledge your thought, come back.
We don’t judge the thought as good or bad. It is simply a thought.

The breath is our anchor.
The only difference between meditating and not meditating? Your breath is the focus of your mind, instead of your thoughts.

Coming back to your breath is a skill we can get better at!

We are never going to empty our minds.

We are thinking machines.

-But we can change the relationship with our thoughts!

As we begin to train ourselves not to judge thoughts in meditation, we carry that with us throughout the day. We begin to show up differently.

4 Biggest Misconceptions About Meditation
I don’t have time
Meditation is only for hippies and gurus
My mind is too busy
Getting happier will make me lose my edge

  1. Everyone has 5 minutes
  2. Ray Dalio, founder and CEO of one of the world’s biggest hedge funds, Bill Ford, Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey
  3. You are not that special; everyone struggles with this, even seasoned meditators – our minds are all out of control – you don’t need to clear your mind. Remember, it is about creating a different relationship with your thoughts!
  4. Really? Yes, you will likely become more compassionate, but no, you will not lose your edge!

Let’s Do It!
Sit up straight with eyes closed
Focus full attention on your breath coming in and out
Every time your mind wanders – and it will, a million times, just come back to the feeling of your breath.

Extremely simple
Extremely difficult

Remember the guy at the gym? Work outs are cumulative. Going to the gym once – not going to change your life.

It is the discipline of being consistent – over time you notice a difference!

And just like the gym, the time spent on the cushion is challenging, but the rewards you reap are primarily off the mat! You begin to experience life differently.

Training your mind is like training a puppy to stay on his mat.

Your mind is like that puppy that just won’t stay, but over time…
he stays longer and longer.

Meditation shifts the way you view your thoughts, your emotions, yourself, and the world!

Here is a quote that sums up why I meditate:

“You will only be surrounded by annoying people and frustrating situations until you are no longer annoyed or frustrated. Then you will see them simply as people and situations.”

Meditation has had a profound impact on my life. It is the most important skill I have learned.