I am far from an all organic-cotton-wearing, vegan zen master.
My days,just like yours, are filled with stress (work-imposed and self-imposed) and a general feeling that I haven’t stopped running—in pursuit of things I hold dear in my life—from
one thing to the next.
And, like most, I am in a
serious monogamous relationship with my BlackBerry Smartphone.
If you met me just now, you probably wouldn’t guess that about Six years ago I started practising mindful
Since that time, I’ve meditated almost every single day without fail—and have noticed a huge difference in my general well-being.
My practice has completely changed my relationship with…myself, my friends and family, and my
Home,which is my sanctuary of peace from chaos that beset the outside world.
I knew that meditation was doing good things for stress levels, my overall mood, and efforts
to quieten that voice that runs incessant negative
commentary of what people (including myself) are
Doing with their lives.
But it wasn’t until more than one person said I was “glowing” that I realised meditation also
had some pretty amazing physical benefits.
My furrowed brow has relaxed, and the anxiety that once kept me up late and gave me dark circles under my eyes has
I’m here to tell you that ‘The. Mental Glow’ is also possible—without retinol or a raw-food diet.
Allow me to clear up some of the misconceptions I’m constantly hearing about meditation…
»You need tons of extra time. Not so, it only takes 20 minutes or less a day. That’s shorter than an episode
of your favourite TV show.
There are people who say even just a few minutes will do,but when you have lived as long as I have,20 minutes suffice to audit the important things in your life on daily basis.
»No, seriously, I don’t have 20 minutes. You can meditate during your commute. If you take the train,
bus, or car pool, just pop your earbuds in, cue some mediation music (search it on iTunes and choose your favorite), and close your eyes.
»You have to give up all of your favourite vices. You don’t have to give up any part of your life once you
start mediating. You can still come home and have your glass of wine or beer before settling into lotus pose.
Might make it easier at first,but don’t make it a habit. The rewards of meditation are far more superior to any vintage wine or world class beer!
»It’ll turn me into a grumpy recluse. You don’t have to start wearing hemp fibres or going to yoga if you
don’t want to.
»I can never clear my mind enough to meditate. It’s totally normal—and expected—to have thoughts
come up. This is actually good! It means you’re working through something that’s on your mind.
»Still, “I meditate” sounds really…try hard. If you think it makes you sound kinky to say that you meditate, you simply don’t have to tell anyone.
»I tried it a couple of times and didn’t feel anything. Every meditation is a good meditation, even if it doesn’t feel like it. You probably won’t see or feel instant results—this isn’t a haircut.
You’re getting your mind in shape, so the first few times, it might
feel like a struggle. Slowly but surely it will become easier to focus and relax. You are essentially rewiring
and rebooting your brain, so it will take a little time and
One of the fundamental points of the
spiritual journey is to persevere along the path.
»I don’t know any Tibetan monks. You don’t have to: there’s
an app for that. I use the app ‘Meditator’ to announce, via a pretty realistic gong sound, when
time is up. Guided meditations are a great way to start—this is basically when an instructor tells you
what to think about during your practice, either in person or via recording. They generally involve an
introduction and centering thought. Then your guide will help you visualize a beautiful place and will talk you through, with nice spa-like music playing in the
background. Guided sessions are also a good way to mix up your meditation practice from time to time.
I’m partial to Deepak Chopra and Dalai Lama’s themed, month-long guided meditations that they do every season—you can download them on Youtube.
Personally I use a mantra, a repeated phrase that helps you focus on your breath. (“Ohm” is considered
the universal mantra.) But if you don’t have a mantra, just concentrate on breathing. This is a very simple process: when you are breathing out, know that you are breathing out; when you breath in, know that you are breathing in. Be aware of this without supplying any extra commentary or internalized
mental gossip; just identify with the breath.
You don’t have to be an anxious person, a spiritual
person, a religious person, an addict, or a hippie, to meditate. I think of it like working out—it’s just
something you do to make yourself healthier,both in body and in mind.
If you give it a go and like it,let me know. If you get stuck,let me know how I can help!
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….