A Mindful Practice
Do you ever get kind of nauseated when someone suggests that you should try meditating? Don’t worry, I was just like that too. For many years, I hated the idea of meditating. The idea that I had to clear my mind and think of nothing seemed difficult, boring, and counter productive. But like many things that I had strong judgments about at first, once I finally got around to trying the practice, I recognized how useful it was.
For me, a way into meditation was to change my vocabulary around it.
Something started to click for me when I heard meditation being called mindfulness. I realized that the central point of meditation wasn’t to remove all thoughts from my brain--truly, that is basically impossible. Maybe the most ascended meditation masters can achieve that, but for micropreneurs like you and me, that’s really not the point.
The purpose of meditation is to recognize your thoughts, and see them for what they are, ideas. Meaning, just because you have an idea arise in your mind doesn’t mean you need to take action on it right away. This was extremely challenging to the entrepreneur in me. From a young age, I was trained to act first, think later. Have a problem? Fix it. See an opportunity? Seize it.
But ultimately this constant emphasis on doing leads to burn-out. We’ve all experienced it to varying degrees--waking up one day and just not wanting to even think about the to-do list. Meditation helps to balance this need to do and react by giving us time in our day to simply be, and be still. I’ve found that when I take time to just observe my thoughts and feelings about a situation, I usually come up with better solutions than when I just react right away.
If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of meditating for an hour, don’t worry! I was too when I first started. You don’t have to spend that long in thoughtless bliss to get the benefits of a meditation practice. Neuroscience has shown that even those that spend just a few intentional moments each day can increase their productivity and reduce stress. Give yourself space and time to cultivate the practice. It often takes at least 28 days to truly solidify a new habit into your life.
The truth is, we can end up missing a lot when we are constantly in go go go mode. When you are juggling many things on your plate, time to reflect goes to the wayside. We may believe that we are being more productive by reducing our self-care habits, but really we are just creating more stress in our lives. Meditation is an excellent way to make sure we can handle the most stressful moments of our business by setting aside time each day to rest and recharge. One of my favorite quotes about meditation expresses this perfectly:
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday - unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
― Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon