A few years ago, I was a highly paid professional who was, from all external appearances, successful. I’d gone to great schools, gotten a job in a good law firm, and a house in the right suburb.
On the outside, I was smiling. But on the inside, I was stressed and miserable.
There was just too much to do. It was endless. Nonstop. And I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t see how the path I was on could lead to anything more than more stress, and more misery.
And that’s when I discovered a tool that revolutionized my life.
This tool helped me to slow down, but get more done. It helped me make some big changes in my life.
That’s actually not quite accurate. When I started using this tool, the changes started happening by themselves.
There was no conscious effort to change on my part.
And yet, over the next few years, I left my law career for another, became more professional and financially successful, and met and married the woman of my dreams.
That makes it sound easy. And in a sense it was. But every life has its ups and downs. And this tool made (and continues to make) dealing with those ups and downs a lot easier, too.
Here’s a few other things that are different about my life today versus when I started using this incredible tool.
- I no longer have panic attacks.
- I sleep more soundly.
- I eat better. (No more steak dinners, and a lot more vegetables!)
- I drink much less. (Ask any lawyer—it’s an occupational hazard.)
- I’ve dropped my coffee for herbal tea.
- I weigh 15 pounds less.
- I run and practice yoga.
- I’m more creative and productive.
- I write regularly, consult, and coach, on top of a successful career in the health care industry.
- I help people to find and live their passions instead of wondering what mine are.
So what is this tool that’s given me all these great results?
Well, it’s something that is thousands of years old. You’ve heard of it. I can teach you how to use it in a few minutes.
Very few people use this tool daily.
But the research shows that those who do are healthier, happier, and live longer. They have lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems. They live with less stress and less fear.
Using this tool actually changes the structure of their brains.
And it’s free.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about meditation.
If you’re like most people, even if you’re interested in meditation, even if you’ve read books on meditation, even if you’ve gone to a meditation retreat once or twice, you don’t meditate daily.
And all those changes that I mentioned, the ones that, for me, seem to emerge almost effortlessly, probably won’t happen unless you sit regularly.
But you probably think you’re too busy to meditate.
And I’d say you’re too busy not to.
I once read a story about the Dalai Lama in which he was asked about meditation. He said he meditates for two hours a day, unless he is busy. If he has a busy day coming up, he meditates three hours.
Surely you can fit in a few minutes?
I teach a workshop called “Meditation for Busy People” where I show people how to start a real meditation practice in one minute a day.
That’s right. Just find one minute. The same minute every day. Maybe it’s the minute you get to work. Or the minute before you leave the office. Or the minute after lunch or after you get your (decaf, please) coffee.
Get comfortable in your chair. Set a timer. And sit with your eyes closed for one minute.
If you notice how many breaths you take in a minute, you can do this anywhere. You might find a minute to meditate in line at the store, or on the train. Even in the restroom.
One participant was so enthused she came to the workshop a second time with five friends.
Of course, she’s a bit of an overachiever. She meditates for five minutes a day.
Whether you take one minute, or five, or ten, if you do this regularly, you will find a space beginning to open up in your life.
All those things that seemed to be happening at once will slow down a bit.
Some of those things may begin to seem less important.
And you’ll find with practice, you can create this space whenever you need it.
But maybe you’ve tried meditation. And maybe you don’t think you’re any good at it.
I hear this from a lot of people. I think they mean they can’t stop their minds from thinking.
I can’t either. And I’ve been meditating for quite a few years now.
But meditation isn’t about stopping your thoughts. It’s about becoming more friendly with them. Seeing them for what they are. Just thoughts. Just options. That may or may not be true.
Like anything, you’ll get better at meditation with practice. And like any true practice, meditation continues to reward you your entire life.
I’m amazed at the changes that I have seen from starting a meditation practice. I meditate more than five minutes a day now, but I didn’t start with much more than five minutes. You don’t have to either. Even with a little time each day, you’ll begin to see changes very quickly. As you continue, the changes become more profound.
At the beginning, though, you don’t need to worry about any of this. In fact, it can be counterproductive to look for results at first. Instead, just trust the process. The most important thing, by far, is to do something every day. Even if it’s a minute. Even if it’s one mindful breath. You can start from wherever you are, right now. And watch it grow from there.
Meditation has been the most transforming thing I’ve ever done. And I hope your journey is just as rewarding as mine has been.
Photo by W J (Bill) Harrison
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16 thoughts on “An Easy Step Toward Radical Transformation”
Meditation is a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself. It doesn’t have to be lengthy either. I stop at times during the day even for a few moments to reconnect and slow down especially when the day gets so busy you find yourself spinning. I have written about it on http://personalgrowthpeople.com
I couldn’t agree more. When I started to meditate suddenly I started to understand a lot of things in my life, started to change for a better person so this is 100% true what you are saying.
I meditate and I must say it is far more rewarding than it may seem at first. It is the pause you need in your ever ongoing life. And that pause does change things.
Thanks for the post. It was really well written and had me hooked from the beginning! Anyway thanks for highlighting meditation – it really is one of the most useful tools that we have at our disposal. I find it so useful in understanding and helping me to release those negative thought patterns, fears, doubts, and insecurities that gradually build up. We can get so caught in the chatter all around us as we walk through our daily lives, that we need a moment where we can just travel inward to listen to our inner selves.
Thanks again for the post and keep doing your thing!
Thanks everyone for the comments. It’s such a powerful tool–can’t say enough!
I always thought about it but never actually tried. Your post made it look effortless and easy. Will start today :)
The key is to do a little bit every day. Even if it’s only a minute. The rest will take care of itself :)
I had heard of meditation many times before I actually started to do it. I watched the Tina Turner movie about 13 years ago and the way that she began taking control of her life back (bad marriage with Ike) was by doing daily meditation.
It inspired me to do the same. Meditation helps quiet the anxious mind allowing for more clarity of thought and action.
Im a muslem , and we had to pray 5 times a day , its regularly and in fixated times, I each time 5 to 10 minits , then we praise to God after each pray , do meditation and think about all the universe , how God had created all this , and how beauty behind every single thing .
yes , Im with you that meditation is so helpful , that what we all should do , to stop being worry about this evanescent world , and always care about what we can offer for others , and how to develop the beauty of this world .
I guess we need to back to do meditation
Jeff thank you so much for sharing this post. I’ve thought about meditating for a long time now but was resistant because I thought I had to start right off meditating for an hour or more to get the benefits. And that has held me back from beginning. But now I am convinced that I need to meditate to slow down my life, even if it’s for a minute at a time.
Well this certainly is a change. Over the last 2.5 years I’ve changed quite a bit. I’m about 50 pounds lighter, have a ton more energy, and have also moved into the health and wellness industry. The more I learn, the more I want to share.
Having run across this post and dabbled in meditation a few years ago without any guidance and not knowing what to expect, I’m certainly going to give it a try.
Couldn’t agree with you more, Justin. Thanks!
Meditation works and it with practice is becoming part of my routine, of my everyday, It helps me focus my energy to the things I care for, it’s awesome.
This is a wonderful reminder. I used to meditate every day after work in the sculpture gardens at an art museum near my house.
Then, life started improving…got into a great relationship, work situation changed, moved to a new location. And I quit.
Isn’t it funny how we do that…we quit the thing that is creating the positive change in life. I have an acquaintance who suffers with mental illness. When he’s on his medication, he improves and is radically transformed. He’s completely balanced. Then in his “right” mind, he decides to stop taking his medication and is soon spiraling again.
It’s a physical example of my own abandonment of meditation. I need to make time for this important practice again. Thank you for the impetus.
Thank you for posting. Very well written.
I started silent meditation last October after reading an article on Kundalini yoga that said to just sit for 3 to 5 minutes a day for 40 days. I said “I can do that!” and have been since. I have felt more peace and joy in my life than I have in a long time.
Keep spreading the word.
I am glad that you are in overall better heath and knowledge.
I find meditation helps in four ways
Improved concentration- clears the mind up
Less bothered by little things- We learn to live in the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future. We do not worry about meaningless things, but see the bigger picture.
Better Health- beacause it reduces stress and alleviates anxiety.
Knowledge of Self – Meditation enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self. Through meditation we can gain a better understanding of our life’s purpose.
And by the looks of it you are a great example of the four.