I recently paid a visit to a befriended business relation. We hadn’t spoken in a couple of years.
‘How are you?’, he immediately asked after we had taken place in his neatly designed boardroom and the coffee had been put on the table.
‘Better than ever’, I said.
He looked at me with an intense, interested stare. ‘How is that?’
I hesitated for half a second whether I was going to give him the answer that belonged to that question for me. Since the answer was so simple that it is almost unbelievable that it could have such a large impact. ‘Because nowadays I meditate daily.’
But I meant every word of it. For a while I had some discipline issues with turning meditation into a daily routine. When I started doing it, I could not immediately appreciate it and I felt that I had more important things to do. Until the moment I heard an experienced meditator compare it to a daily shower. “Do you go to the office in the morning without taking a shower first? No! In your daily life, you also become dirty in a spiritual sense. You wash off all that dirty by meditating”. I decided to no longer fool myself and not skip a day anymore. For the last 1.5 years it has been part of my system, and I feel like a happier person who is more relaxed. I also have better professional ideas. Ideas I don’t have to make an effort to think of, it almost seems as if they just trickle in. It is not that there are no setbacks in my life or my work anymore, but I feel less gloomy when something is not going right and I switch more easily to other solutions. In short: my average level of happiness and my creativity have increased dramatically as a result of meditation.
And I am not the only one who experiences these advantages. In the past few years science has shown that meditating people in general are more creative, happy, energetic, focused and healthy. This is not only a society-wide phenomenon, but I also see more and more CEOs around me meditate. And more and more organisations are starting to offer meditation to their employees. Little wonder: meditation has an insane ROI. It leads to fitter employees (meaning less absenteeism) and better work performance.
Is meditation vague or difficult? Last week I saw a documentary about a programme in English schools in which children in the age of 8 meditated three times a day collectively. These children were more focused, more emphatical and achieved better results. In the end, meditation is no more than becoming silent within yourself. And in that silence, you’ll find inner peace and more space for your intuition. Some people whom I tell this, say that they get the same sensation from jogging or playing golf. While it is certainly true that such activities can lead to relaxation and certain insights, someone who meditates fifteen minutes a day for a couple of months on end will experience that these sensations are of quite a different magnitude.
‘You have convinced me. Where do I begin?’, my befriended business relation said, after I had explained the way this small daily investment of my time had hugely affected the way I experience every day and life in general. My answer, which I would like to share with anyone who would like to try it for a few weeks:
– Take a seat for fifteen minutes in a room where you do not wish to be disturbed (there are free meditation apps, like Meditation Helper to help you time it. Some people like to be guided in the beginning).
– Sit up straight on a chair, feet at shoulder-width and the chin slightly lowered.
– Close your eyes and follow your breathing, inward and outward.
– As soon as a thought enters (and in the beginning, they will be plentiful), return your attention to your breathing.
– If you like, you can put on some music (search for ‘meditation’ on Spotify or YouTube)).
– Stay disciplined and make the effort daily. If you’ve got a busy schedule, it’s easy to sacrifice meditation. A tip: If you are too busy to meditate, then double the time you reserve for meditation!
That’s it … You’ll have to persevere for quite a while. Most beginners are initially plagued by their own thoughts (it’s interesting to notice how many unnecessary, recurring, unwelcome and disturbing thoughts wander around in your mind). I initially felt as if I was simply thinking, only with my eyes shut. It took quite a while for me to learn to appreciate it. Nowadays, it is the best part of any day.
Want to know more? October 4 in Amsterdam: Crash Course Meditation