Ever had a hard time sticking to something? Going to the gym, eating clean, getting up early, keeping New Year resolutions? Me too.
When I was 10 I was diagnosed with ADHD, because hell, the schoolmarm claimed that I just couldn’t concentrate. Well, let’s prove her wrong shall we?…
Today is my 260th day practicing Transcendental Meditation. I will have meditated 519 times. That’s twice a day, every day. I have never done ANYTHING with that level of consistency in my ENTIRE LIFE. So what is it about Transcendental Meditation that is different from every other habit in my life? Why have I been so motivated to stick to this practice?
The benefits are just too intense for me to ignore. My life has had a complete overhaul in the last 10 months. The compound effect of every-day meditation seems to have spiraled things so out of control, that I am experiencing a level of bliss I can’t remember ever experiencing. Last week I had my first experience with it. Wednesday and Thursday, I simply walked through the world at ease. My mind was quiet, there was an energy flowing through my body, and I had no anxiety or worry whatsoever. It was like being on a cloud. Pure happiness, internal contentment, without any need for external stimulus.
“The benefits are just too intense for me to ignore. My life has had a complete overhaul in the last 10 months.” Those who know me well know I have on occasion (ahem) bouts of melancholy, anxiety, and overall emotional instability. So to know the kind of peace I have experienced with Transcendental Meditation is almost unbelievable. I have a sense of emotional balance; I can concentrate; I’m clear thinking. I’ve heard meditation described as “stepping out of the river”, and that has been very true for me. I seem to have disconnected from the anxiety and overwhelmed feelings, and I can look into my life more objectively, see what needs changing. Instead of a nagging pressure to make changes, I’m calmly making adjustments that I think will be valuable. I have stepped out of my emotional crisis and now observe the emotions like a spectator. A very happy spectator.
If that’s not enough, my ability to be self amused has gone through the roof. I recall doing mundane tasks in the past like waiting at traffic lights, cooking, showering, brushing my teeth. I would feel bored, sometimes even aggravated or impatient. Now, everything seems more interesting. It’s like I’m more awake. I have innocent curiosity and can find entertainment in things that seem mundane. I am generating my state from within, not externally.
Social anxiety has decreased, I’d say 80%. I have always felt social anxiety working in groups, going out to bars, even going to family events like holiday dinners. My inability to understand how I should interact with people, understanding the “rules of engagement” has always exhausted me. It has been a huge relief to have silence in my mind. The distracting internal dialogue I usually experience during conversations, even with close friends like, “What is my facial expression doing?” “Am I standing awkwardly?” “Does this person think what I’m saying is interesting?” “Do they agree with me?” “Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh”, has decreased so much! An incessant need to analyze every interaction and every thought I have while in social situations has turned into “mmmmmmmm”. A quieted mind, a more confident, settled person.
“I have stepped out of my emotional crisis and now observe the emotions like a spectator. A very happy spectator.” In the vein of social anxiety: my eye contact! Awkward eye contact. Awkward eye contact… Previously I had developed eye contact strictly as an act of will.Keeping eye contact has always been very unpleasant for me. And even though I’ve forced myself to do it because of an obsessive desire to overcome my socially awkward past, and by necessity through years of working in sales, it was not enjoyable or easy. Now that my mind has less noise, it is easier. No more thinking,“Oh, is my eye contact creepy?” “Do I make people feel uncomfortable?” And on and on. Just steady eye contact.
Better reaction to “negative” experiences. Within the first month I noticed this. When people would cut me off in traffic or honk at me, I would experience the same emotional response I did previously, but I returned to baseline quicker. Imagine: instead of getting angry for 5 minutes, you get angry for 5 seconds. That’s the type of ADD you do want. This also goes for physical pain. It goes away quicker, and it’s less unpleasant. (Great for weight lifting because I can push through more physical pain to build muscle.)
“I am experiencing a level of bliss I can’t remember ever experiencing.” The list goes on and on. More benefits: better sleep, better memory, better focus, better conflict management, clearer thinking, easier action-taking, easier to get into flow.
Meditation has been my most consistent habit because it just makes my life better. And it wakes me up enough to realize it.
You can leave comments for Luke on the original post, on his blog.