I started meditating two and a half years ago. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but I’ve learned quite a bit. The most helpful benefit I’ve learned so far is the ability to monitor myself.
At about the same time, I started learning about personal development, and I’ve found the two go hand-in-hand. If you can monitor yourself, you have an easier time changing.
You are what you think. If your thoughts are dominated by anger, for example, you’ll be an angry person. We all have angry thoughts, of course. It’s part of being human. But if you have the ability to see your anger, you can stop it from consuming you.
You gain that ability with meditation.
How To Meditate
To start off, I’ll present a simple guide to meditation:
- Sit comfortably
- Focus on your breath
- Notice without judgment when your mind wanders
- Repeat 2 and 3
It’s all about watching yourself.
You watch your breath, you watch your thoughts, you watch any subsequent emotions, and then you watch yourself return to your breath.
When you first start out, your mind will wander. A lot. Don’t worry. That’s just how the human mind works. It likes to create little narratives about the world, which prevents you from living in it.
Meditation is the art of looking at your mind, noticing the narratives it weaves, and then coming back to your breath. Back to reality.
Our Muddled Perception
If you want to improve yourself, you have to be honest with yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be blind to your deficiencies.
We use our breath in meditation as a tool to return to the present, away from the little narratives that blind us. We might think the narratives are reality, but they’re really just our muddled perception of reality.
Worrying is an example of muddled perception. I often worry about sales calls at work. I worry that they’ll ask me something I won’t know and I’ll look stupid. My mind creates a narrative that scares me. But it’s not reality, it’s just my muddled perception of reality.
If, however, I notice that my mind is creating this narrative before it really takes hold of me, I can examine it. What about it scares me? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Do I need to prepare more?
Once I start to ask these questions, I calm down. I see that my mind is creating a narrative that isn’t reality (here’s a good book to help overcome worry).
The first step in changing yourself is to know yourself. You get to know yourself by watching your mind and seeing it as it truly is. You do this through meditation.
When I meditate, I often see that I’m bored. I’m sitting there watching my breath, and I get bored with it. I’ll start to think, “Man, how much longer do I have to sit here and watch my breath?” At that point, I’m no longer witnessing the boredom. My mind is creating a narrative about the boredom.
You need to learn to see yourself as you are, instead of what you think about who you are.
Your Mind Patroller
To improve yourself, you need to learn about yourself. You need to learn about your thoughts and the actions they create. Only then can you form new habits.
Even more, you need to condition yourself to learn about yourself. You do this by developing a mind patroller.
My mind patroller oversees everything I do. It sees my thoughts, my emotions, and my actions. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s often on break, but my goal is to have it working full time.
I give it practice by meditating.
As we continue to give it practice, our mind patroller will start to come with us into our daily life. Eventually your child or a coworker will upset you, but before the anger consumes you, your mind patroller will notice that you are angry. It will say, “Hey, you are angry. Don’t let your anger consume you.”
At that point, you can stop yourself from feeding the anger with thoughts about why they’re wrong and you’re right, and how you deserve to be angry. You’ll just see the anger and it will subside, and you’ll be able to calmly and wisely choose your next action.
This Is The Conclusion
There is always something that we can improve about ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t always see our flaws. I consider myself lucky that I found meditation. It’s the perfect tool to help me see who I am, who I want to be, and what I need to do to get there.
If you’re interested, I’ll write how meditation helps achieve multiple orgasms.