This week marked my 150th straight day of meditating. Each morning before my day gets rolling, I meditate for about 25 minutes.
I have always liked the notion of meditating and have meditated several times and enjoyed the peace and clarity it brought, but never was able to do it regularly. Then late last summer, a friend of mine invited me to a workshop on a type of Chinese medicine involving soul, mind, and body practices. A big part of the practice was regular meditating and chants (will write about that in another post). I enjoyed the learning a great deal, but again wasn’t able to build any of the meditations into my daily habits – either there were too many other priorities or never any downtime to actually sit down and do it.
By the end of the summer, I had simultaneously decided I would start getting up very early in the morning and exercising before work each day (see My Morning Success Routine). Putting in a short meditation seemed natural.
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Practicing “baby steps”, I started out by simply deep breathing and sitting still for five minutes in the basement of my house at 5am while everyone else was asleep. I repeated one of the chants that I learned in the Soul, Mind, Body workshop.
I struggled to keep my mind focused and clear, the way most people do when they start meditating, but didn’t get overly concerned. Every time I notice myself distracted by thoughts, I gently brought my attention back to my breathing. Within a week or two I found that I could easily sit still for longer and expanded my time to 15 and then 25 minutes.
On a couple of occasions I sat still for 45 minutes, which brings strong feelings of euphoria. On other occasions, I would practice deep breathing in bed before I went to sleep.
Here are some of the benefits I have experienced over the last 150 days of meditating each morning:
- more relaxed and less stressed throughout the day
- increased focus and can think more clearly
- more creativity in my thinking and problem solving
- euphoric feelings right after meditating
- higher levels of energy
Now I cannot imagine awakening without meditating before doing anything else in the day.
I will be expanding the role meditating in my life this year, sitting for longer periods, building in a before-bed routine and perhaps even attending a retreat.
Will keep you posted and will share some tips and tricks as I go along.
I am interested to hear your experiences. Please share.