We all want to thrive. To accomplish our best at any given moment and achieve exactly what we hope for. This is true in business and at home, on the playing field as well as in our personal life.
Meditation is a time-tested tool that helps us achieve success in all areas of life. From Twitter’s Evan Williams and Aetna’s Mark Bertolini to basketball’s Lebron James and even Oprah Winfrey, meditation changes lives, helping people dealing with physical pain, lower stress, address chronic diseases, and even tap into intuition and change long-held habits.
While the benefits, from lowering blood pressure, decreasing heart diseases and addressing sleep problems, anxiety and depression are clear, many people still do not meditation.
“I’m too busy”, “I can’t” or “My mind can’t shut off,” are common complaints. Meditation can take less time than brewing a cup of coffee and can be done by anyone with proper instruction. It also is not a process of "not thinking".
The mind is meant to think, and when we try to “not think” we usually end up having a whirlwind of ideas and thoughts flood into our awareness, which makes people believe they cannot meditate. Instead, meditation is a practice of focus, where we drown out all other things to the exclusion of one. That has far-reaching implications for all kinds of success – from understanding our golf swing to creating the life of our dreams.
Jack Kornfield, an American author and teacher of vipassana meditation, says in his book A Path with Heart that meditation is a bit like training a puppy to sit. We lead it back to the same spot over and over again and tell it to sit. If we beat it, it cowers. When we train it with kindness and consistency, it thrives. Meditation trains the mind in a similar way.
The “sitting spot” is important. Traditions around the world give similar focal points -- paying attention to the breath, listening to the repetition of a sound or feeling subtle sensations. These points of focus have wisdom. They help change our brain patterns, facilitating the alpha and theta brain waves that create relaxed, clear insight. Resting here, we generate spontaneous new ideas, creative solutions and greater understanding of problems that may have otherwise perplexed us.
Like any skill, meditation takes regular, daily practice, and the effects are often cumulative. It is best to get instruction initially to avoid developing bad habits. With just 5-10 minutes a day, one can adopt this simple, effective tool that assists in thriving in all areas of life: body, mind, health and game.