“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”- Albert Einstein
The mind is probably the most overlooked area to work on in order to improve one’s life. At the most basic level, we are all a little narcissistic. Very rarely to we ever view ourselves at the root cause of many our problems. We might take a “victims” mentality or completely blame others without taking ownership of our lives.
We just can’t believe that maybe we are the ones that are creating our own suffering.
So what do we do? If you don’t do anything to help your mindset, and you complain about things that happen around you, that is kind of insane.
There are two things that I do that help me work through problems. Now, I am not always successful at it and fail most of the time. Meditation and gratitude.
Today, I will talk about meditation. Meditation is something that for years I had a lot of trouble getting into. My “monkey brain” just couldn’t sit still long enough to find any rhythm. It wasn’t until I took a trip to the jungles of Costa Rica for a Strength and Conditioning retreat. Every morning before breakfast, there was an optional 15 minute meditation practice. Leading this was a father and son combo, Kim and Ben House.
“Mr. Kim” as he is empathetically known by all that learn from him. We would sit on this balcony overlooking the canopy of the jungle and just breathe. They used the traditional singing bowls and sticks to signal the start, midway points, and the end. Before I came to the jungles, I couldn’t sit still for 5 minutes, let alone 15! The community (There was about 25-30 participants) was a tremendous support. Just the fear of looking like a fool squirming was enough to help keep me in my kneeling position for the 15 minutes. But it wasn’t easy.
Later on, I was able to get a Mala bracelet. It is a beaded bracelet that can be used for counting breaths. Just think of how Catholics use the rosary to keep track of their prayers. This helped immensely over the couple of days. This tool helped quiet my mind and allowed me to focus. I can still remember and feel the lightness I felt after being able to calm my mind and my thoughts for 15 min. All of my worries and insecurities vanished into the jungle mist.
Meditation is still a daily practice. At minimum, I try to get 5 min every morning before work. As a teacher, I even start every class off with what I call the “Mindful Minute”. I have a singing bowl and a 1 minute hourglass timer. Most of the students seem to enjoy it. Sometimes I need it more than them!
Another easy meditative practice is just walking in nature. I am fortunate to have a state park across the street. Getting outside and just walking without your Airpods is a simple way to practice some mindful meditation.
Mediation helps calm my thoughts and allows me to see that a lot of my stress is of my own doing. By accepting it, I can know take steps to correct the situation, with a clear mind. If you have read “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman (Highly recommend) I think meditation gets us into our “Type 2” thinking process.
Do you have any meditative practices? If not, what is holding you back? Please leave a comment or share the post with someone who might need it.
Next post we will talk about gratitude.
Have a great Sunday!