My Experience With Morning Rituals. Part 1: Meditation
Over the years I noticed a pattern: there were times when I was happy for no reason, and times I was utterly unhappy and disenchanted, though it seemed, nothing really changed… I would be few weeks into the “disenchantment” (so I don’t call it depression) when a sudden thought would illuminate my mind: Oh, I guess, it’s because I stopped meditating! That’s why I feel miserable!
I wanted to write about how important it is to start our day right. I have an impression that everybody meditates these days, but it is not true. Not yet. So if meditation seems too “eastern” to you, know, it’s not as much about sitting in a pretzel position, chanting mantras, neither it is about incarnating as a pretzel, as much as it is about … well, my friend Madison says it best:
If you don’t sit down and shut up, how the hell are you going to hear yourself?
“Everybody” is raving about Hal Elrod, an inspiring guy, the author of the Miracle Morning. I learned about him recently thru Brian Johnson and his Philosopher’s Notes.
Hal mentions words of John Maxwell:
“You will never change your life, until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine”
I wanted to tell you about my own experience with the 6 elements of the miracle morning and if you are practicing them – please tell me in the comments: how do they affect your life?
Morning rituals: meditation, exercise, visualization, affirmation, journaling, reading.
How much time do you need for all this? I wake up around 5 a.m. and I’m done with them by 6 or 7 am, but if I wanted I could squeeze them all into 30 minutes. Tony Robbins talks about his morning rituals in an interview with Marie Forleo; if he is busy – he can do his (slightly different) routine in 10 minutes.
This post is just about…
I usually start with this step. In the beginning of this post I mentioned the unhappy periods of my life when I forgot to meditate. I guess it may happen over 24 years of practicing.. except the recent years. Now I enjoy an incredibly stable mood (I have no idea why that is).
Going back to the beginnings: When I was a teen, nobody had to tell me, that I need to meditate to feel better. It felt right from the start, the reward was built in… it could be a form of escape too. It changed me. I felt that zen meditation caused the loss of my personality – while in fact I was… losing parts of my ego? …drama? …annoying habits? Something within was being rebuilt. But I didn’t realize that until many years later.
In my adult life, being absorbed with many unimportant but urgent things, with people who entered my life, it felt selfish sometimes to make a priority of my own needs. But they were screaming from the inside until I paid attention to them. Now it is simple: taking care of me is a part of self care – it will never be on anybody’s agenda, so it has to be on mine.
I heard Marianne Williamson saying:
“Starting a day without meditation is like leaving your home without taking a shower. The body needs to be cleansed and so does the mind.”
What is the opposite of meditating in the morning? Turning on a TV to hear the news. Checking the email or social media. Even if you are not sensitive to vibrations and energy you likely feel: this is a lousy way of starting a day. But we do it because it’s a habit.
Though I haven’t had TV in my home for the past 15 years (I truly recommend getting rid of the thing and placing a vase with pink peonies in it’s place. Am I unrealistic? Why? I did that and I’m real) I’m guilty of checking social media first things in the morning. (Experiment if the level of your happiness goes up or down with every minute spent on facebook… and if it for some reason goes up.. why? )
Recently I realized: there is nothing… NOTHING as exciting on the internet as the things that are going on right here, around me. Or inside me. Even when my mind is busy with NOTHING – it is still better. (I still love my friends but I prefer them one on one vs on facebook where I spend around 2-5 min a day)
Meditation can lead to upsetting discoveries, we may need to deal with our insecurities and imperfections. It is ok. When we apply self compassion and treat the discoveries as lessons, it can only serve us.
But you may find that most of the time, sitting quietly, doing nothing, concentrating on your breath, will bring you many rewards. In my own practice I discovered:
- Meditation puts in front of me that which is most important to me.
- It magnifies truth.
- It releases any tension.
- Helps me to be more creative (if I set an intention of resolving something, answers come to me in the first minutes)
- Calms me and improves my focus.
- Helps me to be more mindful.
- It creates stillness within me that I want to come back to throughout the day. So I often feel like meditating, even if for few minutes.
- It helps me to simplify my thinking, helps to let go of “shoulds.”
- It creates a sense of peace in my mind and body.
- It makes me laugh at many irrelevant things.
- It helps me to be more positive.
- It probably will help me to live longer (but it will be hard to prove, right…) There are studies done regarding the influence of meditation on the length of telomeres – that are responsible for the longevity of our cells. Telomeres shorten as we age, and meditation helps to lengthen them. You can read more about it here. (redirecting to the page of the University of California in Davis)
So what happens over a longer period of time without meditation you already know. If I miss one morning and go into the day without it I feel the negative effects too… something is missing, I’m not really “there”, and constantly crave something. I crave peace first of all.
Do you want to share your experiences? Meet me in the comments below!