I started meditating for 10 minutes a day a couple of months ago, after reading The Monk That Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. It described meditation in a new way, which made me want to try it.
The suggestion was to take a rose and look at it for 5-10 minutes a day while thinking about how beautiful it is. After for 30 days, the author suggested that you would notice some results.
The principle is the same as some other things I’ve read about brain patterns. Apparently we have some 50,000 or so unique thoughts per day, and most of them are the same every day. Just like in our lives when we wake up in the morning and then brush our teeth, our thoughts follow habits. Not all of the habits are beneficial for us, and often we develop habits of thought that have a negative impact on us. By focussing on something beautiful repeatedly, we re-train our brain to focus more on things that are beautiful.
It’s the same reason I stopped watching or reading the news – most mainstream news is not news at all (it’s not a summary of the most important things happening right now, good and bad), it’s a collection of mostly bad things which have been sensationalised to maximise viewing numbers. When we spend 30 minutes or more of our day listening, looking at and thinking about murder, accidents, crime, cheating etc, our brains become very good at thinking about those things, and less good at thinking about positive things.
I’ve just come back from 2 weeks on holiday and I realised that I haven’t meditated very much while I was away, and that it was the first sustained period that I’ve not meditated daily since I started. What really impressed me, is how over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed my thoughts change slightly, slipping back to how they were before I started meditating.
I often think it’s easier to notice taking a step backwards than a step forwards. I know that TV quality has improved over the last 10 years, but when you stick a VHS tape into a machine and play it, it’s amazing how bad it looks!
In the last couple of weeks I noticed myself having less compassion for other people – I’ve found myself almost disliking some people that I barely know, through quick judgement of a few actions or a situation. One of the meditation practices I do focuses on understanding that everyone wishes to be happy and that their actions are a reflection of their desire to be happy, not necessarily a desire to make you unhappy. (There’s a guided practice here – have an open mind and try it).
Even after a quick 10 minute meditation, I completely changed my view of someone and that had a positive impact onto my judgements of other people, and in turn, onto all of my actions and interactions with everyone I came into contact with.
Does meditation really work? Yes! For me it definitely does. By having a period where I meditated daily and built up a routine and thought pattern, and then stopping it, I got a very obvious insight into the positive impact it’s having on my life for such a minimal effort.
Seeing first hand proof that spending 10 minutes a day can significantly impact your life after 30 days, the idea that ‘I don’t have 10 minutes to spare’ seems crazy. If anything, those are the most important and best invested 10 minutes of my day.