…but never find the time to do so. Right? Well, you’re in good company and definitely not alone out there.
Recently I read in the blog of a well known and successful Venture Capitalist (VC) in the US a brief statement that reminded me of myself a few years ago just before starting my meditation practice. He wrote:
“It’s like meditating. I know I should do it. I just can’t bring myself to spend the time on it.”
This made me think, simply because on one side I could very much relate to what he wrote while at the same time wondering what it was that enabled me to change from wanting to meditate to actually doing it in my own life journey.To me, meditation is neither political nor religious. It is universally applicable to anybody with a body, thoughts and feelings, a fact that renders most of us equal – at least on a very generic level. Probably the worst thing one could do though is imprisoning meditation in one specific belief system or molding it to ones own philosophy alone. In fact, real meditation is quite the opposite: while it opens the mind, it is down to earth at the same time. Because of that, meditation can produce very clear, tangible and measurable results – depending on what it is you want to achieve. Going back a few years, when I was 7 or 8 years old, my view of the world changed – almost over night. For some reason, I started to look upon the outside world differently. What had changed? Well, I started to see people fighting with life instead of enjoying life. I saw them building businesses and relationships with a financial purpose in mind rather than enjoying building them. And I saw them building houses for themselves though they’d never live in them but would instead extract money (as rent) from those who could not afford to build a house themselves, only to die one fine day without being able to take any of this with them.
I asked myself: what’s the sense of building anything – be it a family, a house, a business, …you name it…, if it is already clear that whatever you do serves only a very temporary purpose? For a 7 year-old this was a pretty harsh realization and there were no satisfying answers from outside that would really put my mind at ease. And although I tried to ignore these tough observations, they simply wouldn’t fade away.I also found it most shocking to see some people with seemingly great faith, who did much preaching about the wonderful life after death were especially keen to amass as much wealth as possible during their (physical) lifetime on Earth as they could – while saying at the same time that they’ll not be able to take it with them to their heavenly abode. It was not until five years later when I was 12, that while reading certain books, the world would start making sense again. It was then that I was first introduced to the subject of meditation. However I didn’t have the discipline to follow “written instructions” for meditating at the time, nor was there a person in my reach that could actually explain the principles of why and how meditation would work and a step-by-step process of ‘what actually to do’. While my intellectual reasoning about the insanity of making money and building stuff (just to lose it one day), did not put my mind at peace, at least I felt that in meditation I had found a hope and powerful ally whose practice could possibly help me make sense out of an increasingly confusing world out there – some time in the future. Since then I tried various forms of meditation from visualizations, breathing exercises, walking, deep relaxation, self reflection and so on. While I was quite disciplined with some of them, ultimately, they did not produce the ‘desired result’. Why? because the ‘desired result’ was not well enough defined for myself. It’s much like with anything else. If you want to learn the piano, you go to piano lessons, you don’t go to trumpet lessons or play tennis. If you want to develop software, you hire a software developer and not necessarily a lawyer that has never written a single line of code.
Choose the right meditation for you
One of the most important things I believe for anyone being interested in starting meditation is to first choose the right meditation for his or her objective. Much like with other things, if you’re serious about something, do your due diligence and that bit of research that can make you go the whole way rather than getting stuck in the middle of the road. In IT, if you have a brilliant idea and some business experience, you wouldn’t just start building stuff, you’d first select the right architecture and framework for what you’re trying to build. In music, you’d want to know something about the composer or the piece you’re learning at least at some point during your practice simply to get the interpretation approximately right.
Aim for results with an open mind
While you may have a certain aim for the outcome of your meditation practice, be open to accept that things might work out differently than you anticipate. In my case I had to learn and accept that – much like with anything else in life – you may do certain things for a specific purpose, but that you simply can’t get there in a direct way. Say you want to cross a creek without getting wet feet and move the stones in front of you appropriately to accomplish this. Chances are that in order to reach your goal – or the other side – you’re not able to take the exact route you’ve planned but rather end up on a different place on the other side of the river than you had originally envisioned. While you did not come out exactly where you expected to, you’ve ultimately still reached your goal: the other side. So when you do meditation – have an aim in mind, but don’t expect it to be executed exactly the way you want it to, then take your steps, but let the way and ultimate outcome be made by means of the practice of meditation.Regular practice matters
Most importantly especially while beginning your meditation practice, there is the question of regularity. If you have read the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, then you know this already: practice matters. But the regularity of it matters even more when you’re just starting with something.I had already known this from my piano career and yet the more relevant question to me was, “how does practice start to happen regularly” vs. “why are some things just not getting practiced”? Surprisingly, even disciplined people sometimes find it difficult to get into the habit of practicing something new, regularly. That’s because before discipline, practice is first a matter of priority. Unless you’re totally committed to something and truly understand its importance or relevance to your life -right now- chances are you’re simply not going to do it. So whatever new thing you’re starting with and to come back to the quote of AVC (whom I highly respect) from the beginning, unless you’re changing your priorities and give the ‘new’ thing the highest priority over whatever else you’re doing in your life right now, it never had and never will have a real chance in the first place. In the (latter) case, why waste a single thought about it then? So, if you have an inner urge to do something, at least follow that urge to its source and examine its elements instead of denying it. Find the reasons for where the desire (i
.e. to meditate) comes from and see if this gives you enough material to change your priorities – at least for a set period of time.
Don’t let your time rule you. Instead, understand your desires.