This year, I made a resolution to meditate everyday to help me deal with my inner critic and my overwhelming feeling of not doing enough. It is now June and even though I have not reached my goal of meditating everyday, I am meditating more than before.
I was first introduced to meditation when I was around 11 years old through my dad. He is a Buddhist and meditates twice a day, everyday. He taught us that meditation will open up our third eye and that we will receive wisdom. Frankly, at that time, I did not get meditation at all. I thought it was boring and pointless- why would anyone want to sit cross-legged in silence thinking about nothing?
I only begun to understand what meditation is when I started using Headspace. I like the way meditation is being presented from a secular point of view rather than religious. In short, my understanding of meditation is that it is the training of the mind. Much like training your muscles when you work out. Meditation is a work out for the mind. The training is that you observe your thoughts come and go from a non-judgemental point of view, coming back to the present moment.
In the Headspace app, you first have to complete the Foundation series which is a good introduction to meditation. What I like about the app is that you can choose different guided series- Health, Sport, Relationships, Performance, Headspace Pro. Within those series, they give you options on what you can focus on. E.g. In Health series, you can practice meditation on Depression, Self-Esteem, Anxiety, Pregnancy etc.
It also includes single meditation sessions, a SOS series for when you have meltdowns and unguided meditation sessions. Recently, they have included a Kids series for toddlers to preteens to help parents teach their kids about meditation. How cool is that! :)
Another great thing I like about the app is the design and clarity of your progress. It contains short animated videos and videos featuring the founder, describing some of the meditation techniques. I enjoy them because I learn best through videos.
Here are my observations that I would like to share with you:
I meditated every day at the beginning of the year and now it is on and off. I have learned to accept that sometimes I don't feel like meditating and that this is ok. I don't need to feel guilty or ashamed that I have not been consistent. The key is to keep practicing even if I missed a day or week doing it.
2. Reacting less and responding more
I now see my negative thoughts rising and instead of saying them out loud immediately. I take as many deep breaths until I am capable of telling that person softly, "Look, these negative thoughts came up when I heard you say that"
And even when I do burst out, I can calmly tell the person, "Sorry, I messed up earlier, those were the negative thoughts that were going through my head" So instead of identifying with those thoughts, I see them as something separate from me.
3. Less judgemental, more empathetic
We all judge some way or another. I think we do it to boost our egos and validate to ourselves that we are not fucking up in life. I admit that I judge too but now I am quick in catching myself. When I do judge, I ask questions- Why am I judging that person? What is going on inside of me? Can I put myself in that person's shoes and view the situation from their circumstances?
Read more about judgement and how to diffuse it on Mindful magazine here
I just started my meditation journey and there is so much more to learn, explore and observe. So far, I only see positive effects on me. Especially for someone who used to have low-self esteem issues and in my thoughts a lot.
I strongly encourage anyone who is open and curious to find out what meditation is about to give Headspace a shot. You only know if you try it. If you put your judgements aside, there is so much to learn. Just like everything else in life. Learn more about the app here
P/S: There are many good meditation apps out there so please feel free to explore, I can only recommend Headspace because I used it most. Another app, you can try is Calm. Learn more about it here
Thank you for reading my post, I am grateful for the support! :)