When I signed up to write for this website, I had no idea why I did it, what I was going to write about or how I was going to fit it in with any sort of regularity.
Having deliberated long and hard about this, and having put off writing my first article for a long ass time, I’ve finally decided that I am going to mainly talk about self-improvement, the little changes I have made in my life that have made it a much more enjoyable experience. In between, it is likely that I will write articles regarding issues of personal interest, be it in my private life or an offshoot of research/work in school.
Self Improvement is really something close to my heart, and something that I strive for on a daily basis. I am in a constant pursuit to better myself in every aspect of my life, and I enjoy the ride along the way.
Obviously you guys may want to know what makes me any sort of authority on the stuff. And the truth is, none of my achievements really matter when it comes to the crunch.
I could give you a laundry list of academic, athletic and other various personal achievements, all of which may or may not impress you.
But they impress me, and make me feel fuckin fantastic every single day. And that’s what keeps me chugging along. The fact that I feel amazing and radiate that joy 24/7. The fact that nothing phases me, and that I know I have the fortitude to overcome any and every challenge.
And all of that starts with mental peace and clarity. Which brings me to the first topic I want to write about on this board.
Meditation is a state of heightened awareness and stillness, and has been around for generations, mainly in a religious context. I personally strive for 10-15 mins every day, or at the very least 2-3x a week. If you can’t find 15 minutes in your day to relax, then you have serious organisational issues.
I’m not an expert on the topic by any means, nor am I spiritual or religious in any way, shape or form and I think all of it is pure horseshit (the God/Allah/Jesus stuff). What I do believe however, is that our minds are capable of far more than we believe. Meditation is way of unlocking this potential by improving our control over our mind, and creating a sense of calm.
For starters, try this video:
The video above kind of guides you through the process, it’s excellent to help you get started. You can meditate to music or in silence (I do both in my sessions). The above video is a silent meditation, with some guy guiding you through the process. A similar Youtube Channel that also has some fantastic (if slightly fantasy themed) guided meditations is called “TheHonestGuys”. You can find them here.
What you should do is sit (you can lie down but I find for most people this just makes them sleepy) cross legged and close your eyes. Make sure you’re comfortable, don’t try to meditate in skinny jeans or in a fridge or whatnot. Hands can be on your lap or on your knees or whatever. I like to use the traditional palms facing up, thumb and index finger forming a circle, other three fingers pointing upwards. Try to focus on your breathing and your breathing only. Just the sensation of it. You’ll find this is actually quite hard at first, but the key is not to fight the thoughts that pop into your head, but just observe them, accept them, and return to focusing on your breathing. Let your body completely relax and just breathe, observing the process. Observe the breath enter, and exit your body.
When I do this I’m normally focusing really hard at the start, but I get to a point where the world inside my eyes goes blank, turns to black and my breathing slows right the fuck down and becomes virtually nonexistent. Once I’m in this state I sit there and quietly observe what’s going on in my head, always bringing my attention back to my breathing as these thoughts and visions come and go. I see all sorts of shit that I wouldn’t see IRL, in my last meditation I had a vision of being underwater, totally submerged in Pacific blue water, yet being totally serene and at peace. I observed this world and sat in it, breathing. These aren’t dreams, because you are constantly aware of yourself, whereas when you’re sleeping you have no idea where you are and what you’re doing. Meditation is a state of heightened awareness, so you are totally aware of yourself, and what you’re doing, but in the process, your mind perceives you as no longer being in the room that you’re in. Eventually all your conflicting thoughts will fade, and all you will be focusing on is your breathing, your actions and so on. You will drift in and out of these superconsciousness states, but the important thing is not to force it, but to gently keep focusing on breathing and let your mind focus and take control on its own.
Try meditating for 10-15 minutes first, and gradually up the time as you go, 20-30 mins is ideal. It’s difficult at first, but stick with it, you’ll eventually calm down, settle, and when you open your eyes, you’ll see the world with greater clarity. I came out of meditation today and my mind was totally blank, empty, zero thoughts, and I observed this, and accepted the serenity, smiled and said wow. It’s that good.
I meditate in silence and to music, normally starting with silence and then bringing in the music as I hit the next tier of consciousness/calmness. I do this by creating a playlist on iTunes.
Depending on how stressed I am, I might sync my brainwaves with frequencies like this to start:
This helps me slow right the fuck down and get in the zone. I try and sync my breathing to the music. This is really an optional stage for me, sometimes I skip it altogether.
I then do a guided silent meditation like the one above, but at the end instead of opening my eyes, I follow on straight into some music with embedded frequencies like this:
This really takes me to the next zone. It’s an indescribable state, you exist, and yet your mind is in its own world.
I have no idea what the embedded frequencies do (I found them by googling meditation music), but they sure as hell work.
You can meditate entirely to music or entirely in silence. I prefer some silence in mine, as thats when I find I can really clear the clutter and prep myself, while music is just a supplement that takes my mind to new places once its been calmed.
To be honest you don’t need any of the above, they’re all just crutches and tools that can help you on the way. Find a silent place, close your eyes and get in the zone. Monks have been doing this for millions of years. I reckon you can too.
A final note, try to keep consistent with it, sometimes this is hard because you’re tired (don’t meditate when tired or you’ll find yourself falling asleep even while seated), or you have a cold or life just gets ahead of you.The best time to meditate is immediately after waking up or just before going to bed. Try to make it a part of your routine, 10-15 minutes is all you need.
At first it may seem boring but stick with it, slowly you’ll find yourself feeling a whole lot better about yourself, and you’ll realise all of the issues you’re stressing about are minor problems that don’t really matter.
Sit in a place for 15 mins, close your eyes and focus on your breathing and your breathing only. Thats all.
Good luck, and may the peace be with you.