A few weeks ago, I made a pledge to incorporate meditation into my daily schedule. In the process of our product development activities at WeAct we decided to go back to pen and paper and apply our offline learnings to our online solution. Now is the time that I would like to share my experiences with our community and with my network.
Reading a lot about the positive effects of daily meditation I was curious to try it out for myself. This is not the first time that I am engaging with the power of mindfulness. During my time in Sri Lanka and Nepal I was able to practice meditation with monks and experienced practitioners.
My journey started with a small book called «The Ultimate Meditation Guide: Meditation for Beginners». Thanks to a number of helpful tips I can highly recommend this read for everyone who wants to quickly pick up the essential concepts of meditation.
In this blog post I would like to share with you my experiences and how I managed to make meditation part of my daily routine.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.
In my understanding (and as I learned from different sources), meditation is a state of mind in which we focus only on the here and now, without letting thoughts interfere with this moment of mindfulness. At first it is difficult to not think at all. Whilst meditating, it is important to be aware that thoughts are not a bad thing, but that we have to accept them as for what they are, and slowly focus our mind again on the here and now. Whenever I had thoughts interfering with my moment of meditation, in my mind I attached them to a balloon and let them fly away into the sky. This helped me bring my attention back to the current moment of mindfulness. It is important to mention here that we have to be aware that as humans the only two things we can control are our thoughts and our actions. Having said that, focusing our thoughts on the here and now certainly lies in the power of our own mind. Nevertheless, there are other forms of meditation which require certain thought processes (such as gratefulness, forgiveness, etc.).
What are the benefits of meditation?
The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.
- Caroline Myss
Books and articles mention a wide range of benefits resulting from meditation. These include physical, mental, emotional as well as societal ones. From my personal experience, I can confirm that meditating on a daily basis really helped me to bring my attention back to the very moment, without thinking about all the tasks that still lie ahead of me. Moreover, after each meditation session I went back to my daily schedule knowing exactly how I had to prioritize the day ahead. In that sense, the benefits resulting from my meditation activity are reduced levels of stress, stronger focus on the important things as well as inner calmness in turbulent times. I would argue that the potential benefits from meditation are certainly not the same for everyone. It is important that you see for yourself how meditation influences you and what the benefits are for your life. I would like you to keep in mind that you have to be patient. Do not expect that after the first meditation session you will immediately experience all sorts of benefits. Being mindful requires practice and with more practice the benefits will show.
How does meditation work?
Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It's like the ultimate rest. It's better than the best sleep you've ever had. It's a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.
- Hugh Jackman
There are various types of meditation techniques. They include guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness, body scan, or candle meditation. Other forms are walking meditation and prayer meditation. During the past weeks, I practiced mostly mindfulness meditation. With this method, you focus your attention to something such as your breath, in order to calm your mind. Back in Nepal I learned a technique that involves focusing on the journey of your breath. You start with three very deep breaths. Then you inhale through your left nostril and imagine the journey your breath is taking through your head, before you exhale through the right nostril. Try to give your breath all your attention in order to fully take advantage of this method.
Another technique I tried is guided meditation. You can find videos on Youtube (e.g. this one) that help you with your guided meditation experience. What helped me a lot during my mindfulness meditation sessions was to listen to relaxing music, in order to focus your attention on the here and now. If you use Spotify, just type ‘meditation’ into the search function and you will find a wide selection of tracks and playlists.
When is the best time to meditate?
Practice meditation regularly. Meditation leads to eternal bliss. Therefore meditate, meditate.
- Swami Sivananda
There is not the perfect time to practice meditation. The book suggests that mornings and during the day are better than evenings. The challenge with meditating before you go to bed is that you are so tired that you are likely to fall asleep. For my part, I organized my sessions if possible during the day, right after lunch. Of course, this is not always possible depending on your schedule. But whenever possible it worked very well for me. Before going back to work or to another task, take a few minutes to focus on the present moment and get ready for the rest of the day ahead. If my schedule was tight during the day I meditated in the morning, right after getting up. I figured that time wise what works best for me is meditating between 8 and 10 minutes. This shows that incorporating meditation into your daily routine does not take much time. More important is to really take the effort and actually do it. What helped me a lot was to put down a fixed time in my calendar, every day, to remind me of the next meditation session.
Our internal paper-based challenge at WeAct is now finished. We learned a lot and we will apply some of the learnings to our online product development. As for me personally, I learned a lot as well and I am very happy to have incorporated a new habit into my daily routine. Because of the positive benefits I experience thanks to practicing meditation on a daily basis, I will continue to do this new habit. I am convinced that meditation can offer something positive for everybody and I hope I was able to share with you some initial thoughts on this powerful practice.
It is never too late to start a new habit. Decide in which area you want to improve and find the right tools that guide you on your journey.
- Riccardo Decarolis ;-)
About the author: Riccardo Decarolis
Riccardo is Head of Customer Relations at WeAct. He loves to communicate with people, but he also appreciates the quiet and mindful moments in life, such as during running, swimming and - more recently - meditation.