I started practicing meditation around 15 years ago for 1–2 years approximately and then stopped. At that time there were no apps with guided meditations and no classes where I lived. So all that I had was zen music on old cassette tapes and some instructions from the books I read, nothing else. But that was enough to blow my mind. Zen music easily brought me to different states of consciousness, somewhere between sleep and awakening. I vividly remember that was aware of the experience itself and felt joy and peace in that experience. The most profound effect that I noticed after some time of practice was my quiet mind that could “listen” to others' thoughts and even predict short term events. I guess my mind became more open and receptive to everything around me.
To be honest, I felt so cool, so that life became pointless and I felt lazy for the daily hustle of life. It sounds very counterintuitive but that what could happen after meditation. When you become happy with what you have you can lose the fire in your belly to push the boundaries and thrive in life. Most of us are driven by our own insecurities and desire to overcome them to prove we are worthy to others. No doubt this can drive to a lot of success but it is not necessarily changing our insecurities. And once you changed with meditation or any other practice you start to lose this drive and you start to wonder that maybe I shouldn’t have changed it.
At that time I get worried that this way I won’t get further in life. Perhaps I missed a teacher who could guide me, so I stopped as I had to hustle anyway.
For 15 years or so I did not practice meditation that much. But several years ago I started again with the intention to manage my anxiety levels, improve focus, happiness, sleep, creativity, and help my son with the same. I started to reframe my motivation motives from insecurity to curiosity. Genuinely being curious about everything I am attempting to do and wonder what happens next. This way your mind is in discovery mode and probably boosts some dopamine once you discover how things work or do not work. You are in constant play mode. I also framed it as an endless game until I die. It is continuous experimentation, reiteration and I am work in progress and always will be and that is great.
My noticeable results from meditation
It is hard to quantify in numbers the change, so it is my approximate subjective estimation:
Became more aware of my emotional self. I call it “elephant” (inspired by the book “The happiness hypothesis”). Externally I am not very emotional but internally this elephant can get really wild at times. I became aware of this “elephant” and able to direct attention to breathing and other more productive thoughts to help calm down “elephant” and think more clearly and rationally.
A 15% increase in focus. I am a life long multitasker. For many years was proud of it until I realized that I can not focus for a long time on one thing and deliver proper quality. I have a monkey mind. However, life does require to stick with one thing for quite some time to get good results with deep work. Meditation helped me to notice distractions and bring attention back to the task at hand.
A 30 % decrease in anxiety and worrying. I realized that my anxiety comes from the attachment of my image that I want to have and afraid to loose in any social situation. That I am very much dependent on other opinions. Any public action would make me anxious and keep me in comfort zone and not take important steps forward. Now I feel much less anxious and attached to myself and the outcome, as a result, I am fine or even keen to take new challenges.
A 25% decrease in overthinking, something I do think too much and can’t stop the thinking flow. It even caused sleep problems. I am more aware of my train of thoughts now and can choose to get out of the particular train. It’s hard though, it’s like somebody is pushing me to these trains anyway, but now I can resist it or jump to the train that is more worth taking.
25% happier throughout the day and feeling more content. Even if it is raining or I am stuck in the traffic and start to get that wave of frustration I notice it and can change my perception of the situation to more positive and let things be as they are when I can not control it. Because everything is just a perception of reality.
15% increase in creativity. When you are not masturbating with your thoughts and just observe them you become able to notice great ideas that are coming from somewhere. You become more open-minded and allow these ideas to appear like mushrooms after rain.
25% more compassionate and humble. I could be arrogant in times and very competitive. Over the practice of meditation, I noticed that I can put myself more often into someone's shoes and try to imagine what do they feel and think in a particular situation and what would I do in their place. It also helped me not to compare myself to others, but rather use them as a reference point if I want to learn or enhance a certain skill.
25% less biased or at least become aware of my bias. Biases keep us blinded and less objective of the reality. Hence we make suboptimal decisions. Getting out of your biases helps to see a more complete picture and make better decisions.
30% less stressed. Meditation helps to keep in mind what really matters and also be aware of death as the end of life for everyone. You feel there is no point to be stressed for minor things that happen often. Less desire for material possessions, status, attachment for the future, and less judgment of others' behavior all lead to less stress. You realize that the simpler is our life the better it will be.
The fundamental change that meditation has caused in me is becoming more self-aware. Once you become self-aware you can direct your attention to the right places. To be crystal clear, it’s a practice that requires consistency. It is not a magic pill, it's a practice. But knowing that it works so good for you meant for me that other people can benefit from it. For that very reason I have developed Bold app that goes goes step further than just meditation.
It might not work for everyone, but you don’t know until you try. In a way, meditation could be one of the best tools to master your self. Once you master yourself you can master your life.
Your mind is your most powerful tool.
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