Meditation doesn’t change the world, but it changes your experience of the world. (So learning how to meditate is world-changing, right?)
How do I meditate? In the last few years, for at least 10 minutes a day, I’ve did learn to pay attention to my breath. And when my mind wandered, as minds do, I learned to bring my attention back to my breath, again and again. And again. That’s how I learned to meditate.
As I learned to do that in meditation, I also learned to do it in life. I learned to pull my mind back from rabbit holes of negative thoughts. While I still experience them, I’m not as captivated by them. With that, I’m also much better at being with, instead of resisting, uncomfortable feelings and body sensations. I learned to notice and allow, but not react to, that tickle in my neck during meditation. And so, I also learned to notice and allow, but not react to, the jerk cutting me off in traffic.
A meditation practice is a lot like going to the gym. I wouldn’t expect to deadlift 100 pounds or run a 5K without training, but I know if I follow a run/walk Couch-to-5K plan, I’m pretty likely to finish the race.
Meditation is Essential to Self-Awareness for Conscious Leadership
Your mediation practice supports growing your self-awareness, which is an underpinning of Conscious Leadership. . Meditating quietly for 10 minutes a day, every day, is preferable to longer, but less frequent, sessions. It’s a called a practice because we do it every day, just like brushing our teeth.
Getting started with Meditation
You could just put a timer on for 10 minutes, sit in a chair with feet on the floor and back to the chair, eyes closed, and practice putting your attention on your breath as it goes in and out of your body. That’s the simplest way to start, but using apps available is like having a meditating friend.
Head Space, which I’ve long recommended to beginning meditators. It’s free and has a 10-day starting meditation practice. It also offers meditations for different areas of life and issues: work, home, anxiety.
Calm offers a free trial and is very popular for beginning meditators and has lots of options after the initial training.
Waking Up with Sam Harris is another great option for a 10-minute/day class on meditation. Sam Harris very gently introduces several concepts of meditation and benefits into each session while at the same time supporting the development of practice. It’s a limited trial and then you buy the lessons.
Insight Timer has great mediations from many teachers, including one of my favs, Sarah Blondin. She leads guided meditations on difficult topics like grief or healing through letting go. I also often use the sleep meditations and put one ear bud in and feel rested even if I don’t sleep.
Meditate With Friends and Coworkers
I think of meditation as an individual practice, but I’ve surprised myself with how much I enjoy meditating with others. My husband and I often meditate together in the morning. Afterward, I feel closer to him, which is a nice way to start the day.
A simple step toward increasing mindfulness in your office is to incorporate a 5-minute meditation or breathing practice into the start of meetings. Or simply start a lunchtime meditation group. If everyone gets the same app, you can follow a daily program and encourage each other. Don’t be surprised if you begin to miss the days you don’t sit together!
Meditate to Support Your Conscious Leadership
If you are reading the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, get a guided meditation on each chapter commitment, to listen to either by yourself or in your book group.