“Sit down, shut up, see what happens.”
— Martin Ball
I apologize for the attention grabbing headline. You see these kinds of headlines all over the internet, “Do this simple trick and never work a single day in your Life” and “Read this and you will be rich, beautiful, and find love in the next week”. Click on one of those and you’ll instantly regret it. At best, you end up with someone trying to sell you shit you don’t need. At worst, you’ll need a new hard drive. Today, however, will be different.
Meditation really can change everything for the better, but it’ll require you to do the heavy lifting. This leaves no stuff for me to sell to you. But you can sign up for my limited, premium newsletter right here… I am kidding.
I am convinced that, if everyone started meditating, every problem of mankind would be solved in about 20 years. How do I know? I have been meditating daily, for about 2 years now. So far, the results have been amazing. I am exited what the future will hold for me, when I keep this habit up. To get you on board, let’s talk about what meditation can do for you. All of the following points are straight out of my personal experience.
Benefits Of Meditation
1. Raise Self-Confidence And Self-Contentment.
Your self-confidence, especially in the presence of others will skyrocket. Once you have mastered your emotions and have faced and accepted your inner demons, you will be independent from the opinion of others. Their actions will have little, to no effect on your inner state. You will feel stable as a mountain. They may judge, criticize, hate or ridicule you, but you will be untouched by that. You will no longer doubt yourself in a harmful way. You will be truly anchored in yourself and this present moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about blind arrogance and feeling superior to everybody else. This is false confidence, usually used to hide a lack in real, authentic confidence. Check out Self-Esteem: Most People Are Paper-Thin for a deeper look on this issue.
With meditation you will feel very capable and very safe but in a soft and compassionate way. When you are truly confident, you will no longer feel the need to be better than others. Instead, you will be kind and use this self-confidence to help others, find their confidence. You will no longer be intimidated by the confidence of others.
How is that possible? The opinions of others have power over us, as long as we believe in what they say. Through meditation we look inside, and see what is really true. Opinions about you cannot throw you off, if you deeply know, that it is not true. And if someone points out a negative aspect about you that is true, you remain unfazed by it. You already know this aspect of yourself, and you are no longer afraid of it. Usually we suppress and avoid the things we don’t like about ourselves. Others gain power over us, by dragging those things into the light and confronting us with them. But if we have confronted and accepted our negative parts beforehand, we are free from the influence of others.
2. Heal Depression And Anxiety Disorders.
In my opinion this has enormous importance for mankind in general. Depression, Anxiety Disorder and Burnout are on the rise in every first world country. In the US one in six persons is severely affected each year. I found very similar numbers for the European Countries. Sure, there are ways of treating depression, but only with mixed results, at best. For example, medication like anti-depressant just suppress the symptoms to a bearable, yet still shitty level.
Meditation will not just help you to cope with depression. This habit will actually help you to heal yourself and end the depression once and for all. If you put in the work and have patience. It is not an easy path, but it works.
I have been diagnosed with depression, about 2 years ago. My anxiety disorder has not been diagnosed, but boy, has it been real. After 2 years of meditation my anxiety disorder is gone. I do not consider myself completely healed from depression but the improvements have been huge. A vague guess would be that I have 2 years more to go to leave every last bit behind me.
3. Cut Absessive Thinkin By Up To 99,87% (wild estimate, no money back guarantee).
Obsessive thinking and being stuck in the same loop of thought and emotion can drive anyone crazy. This can cause incredible damage to your psychological health and well-being. Warning: If you start meditating things will get worse in the beginning. When the awareness of your inner processes increases you will see the chaos unfiltered. You will react against it by trying to control it and hereby worsen the situation. It will suck really bad and you will feel helpless. In these times you need to cultivate hope. Trust in the process of meditation and in your own capacities to heal. You will not be let down.
There is light at the end of the tunnel: This madness will change if you give it time. One fine day your mind will start to quiet down. You will be less reactive against outer events and inner occurrences. The insane monkey between your ears will grow tired at last.
It will do so just on its own accord. This is outside your control. But this day will come if you stay meditating on a regular basis. And it will be worth the trouble I promise. 🙂
4. Heal Traumas Of Any Kind.
I want to bring to mind the image of the stereotypical tough guy. He goes to the gym, bench presses 300 pounds, does martial art, has a sports car and is in the military. His face shows either no emotion at all or mild to medium aggression. He is always serious. All spine, no heart.
We could think, what could possible hurt his guy? He seems invulnerable. But is this true? I am pretty sure underneath his massive chest muscles there is still an emotional human heart. Maybe when he was young his parents denied him the love he needed. Maybe he was ridiculed and humiliated in high school. Maybe one of his partners will betray his trust and cheat on him. And sooner or later he will experience the death of a loved one. We all will.
No matter how tough you think you are, things like this will make you suffer. Badly.
Let me describe the default reaction of the human mind to such painful experiences: We run from it and distracted ourselves. Western culture has it all: junk-food, alcohol, partying, sex, video games, working too much, porn, drugs. We hope for the suffering to go away without confronting the pain. But if we don’t confront it I guarantee that this psychological wound will become a ever-hurting scar in our lives. The pain will subside in the unconscious mind and resurface as all kinds of neurotic behaviors. You will be unhappy I promise.
Since we are not taught how to handle suffering and strong negative emotions we usually carry around a bunch of those scars by the time we reach 30. By the way, don’t be so fast to dismiss me by saying “Naaa, I am good, no scars or pains here, everything super-fine”. This is usually just a trick we play on ourselves to avoid facing those pains.
Meditation is one very potent way to confront and heal those scars. The human psyche has astonishing regenerating abilities but we have to give it the time and space to do so. I want to use the analogy of your physical body’s healing process. Image you cut your finger. How do you heal that? You don’t, you just stick a big plaster over the wound so it is protected. That’s all you can consciously control. Now your cells do their thing, and ta-da, the wound is healed.
Same goes for those psychological wounds. Give your mind time and space, protect it from further damages and it will heal itself. Many psychological wounds haven’t been given the proper healing time and have become ugly scars. Before real healing can begin these scars will need to break open again. This is as painful as it sounds but necessary. Temporary the suffering will worsen. Either you pay 300 units of suffering today, or you pay 100 units of suffering each day for the rest of your life. The choice is yours.
5. Drop Perfectionist Tendencies.
This one goes hand in hand with obsessive thinking: Unless you have done a lot of inner work there is always a part of you, that you don’t accept, dislike, or downright hate. Maybe you don’t like your physical appearance. Or your socializing skills. Or how much weight you can bench-press. Or how much money you have. Or how you can’t quit smoking and overeating. Or you have sexual fantasies that you label as “wrong”. Or you hate your performance in the bedroom. Or you have perfectionist tendencies and hate yourself being lazy sometimes. I could go on for another 7 paragraphs.
There are approximately 1 million things we don’t like about ourselves. You will be stuck chasing after getting all your ducks in a row until you die an early, stress-related death.
Truth is, you will never ever be perfect.
Never, no matter how hard you work. There will always be room for improvement. Perfection is just a concept and it doesn’t exist in the actual world. Sure, go ahead and improve yourself. That is one of the greates joys of life. But don’t be deluded and think that one day you will be done. Drop being a perfectionist, this shit will drain your life of happiness.
Meditation will end this endless struggle. Not by making you perfect but helping you to be okay with all of your flaws. You will get to know all of your imperfection up close. In the beginning this will be very uncomfortable. But if you keep doing the practice of meditation the inner conflict will resolve itself. The change will be subtle at first yet massive in scale if you let it snowball over time. I keep a daily diary of my internal processes and internal states. I can barely comprehend anymore what was going on inside me two years ago.
6. Find Your Authentic Self.
I’ll admit the term “authentic self ” has been used inflationary by the self-help industry and most Youtube-Gurus. What do I mean by finding your “authentic self”? It’s simple:
Finding out what is really important to you in life. What your values are. What you really want to achieve in life. What your strengths are. Where your weaknesses lie. And most importantly what really makes you fulfilled in life.
How does meditation do that? When you’re meditating you are all alone with yourself. You will get to know yourself. We usually assume that we already know all about ourselves but that is not even close to being true. In daily life we pay little to no attention to our inner processes. We are caught up in duties, work, addictive behaviors and distractions of any kind. Our attention is always oriented outwards. We don’t listen to the “little voice inside”, to our inner compass. I know this sounds chewed up but I find myself lacking in better descriptions.
Anyway, if we start paying attention to this compass and actually follow through on what it tells us, it will feel amazing. You will feel alive. It will feel right. You will know that this is the way you should live. And there are only a few greater joys found in life. 🙂
7. Find True And Lasting Happiness Without Side Effects.
What do we humans want out of life? On the first glance we want all kinds of different things. This guy here want to have a loving marriage and three healthy kids. This woman over there wants a successful career, status and money to buy all sorts of fancy stuff. Then there is people who want to be musicians, or travel the world, or start their own company. Then there is a bunch of people who seek power, fame, sex and drugs. The variety is endless. But why are we truly chasing all those goals, experiences and possessions?
Because we want to be happy, fulfilled and at peace. As simple as that. Everybody wants that, no exceptions.
Let’s face it, how has your happiness-chasing worked out for you so far? Fulfilled yet? Or does it take just this last achievement to finally be happy? I promise once you reach this goal you will still feel empty and unsatisfied. Sure, there is a brief flash of ecstasy in the moment of victory. But it won’t last long. Same goes for pleasures like sex, drugs, movies, video games and good food. The good feeling will subside as fast as it came and drugs, alcohol, videogames and junk-food will even have serious side effects on the health of your mind and body.
That is very depressing news, I know. To move on in life, you must swallow this bitter pill. Then there will be happiness, contentment and even bliss is at your grasp. It will come gradually, but it will come. Happiness is experienced when the benefits I mentioned above will come together, as simple as that. First it will be a peaceful, soothing silence which will turn into pure bliss.
To dig deeper into the topic of happiness and especially the false happiness we have cultivated in wester societies, I have written this article. Go Check it out.
How To Actually Meditate.
Now let’s have a look at how to actually do it!
First of all, I am by far not a masterful meditator by the time I am writing this. I have about 2 years of meditation under my belt but that is nothing compared to many others out there. Luckily, the technique itself couldn’t be any simpler. Notice that i called it simple, not easy.
The technique I am giving you here is my current practice. I do not claim that it is the single, best method. There is a lot of different techsniques out there, you can try them out and find one that suits you personality the best. The only must-do is that you do it regularly and by that I mean daily.
This routine works well for me:
- Set aside 20 to 60 minutes. Start with 20 minutes then work your way up slowly. Use a timer. During that time set aside any possible distractions. No human interaction, no smart phone, no music.
- Sit on a chair, bed, sofa. Sit comfortable. You don’t need a meditation cushion and you don’t need to sit in any special body posture. Fuck you, lotus seat, for giving me knee pains!
- Close your eyes and keep them closed. Let the darkness settle in your field of vision.
- Inhale fully but without pressure into your lower belly. Focus on this breath for a minute or two. Try to relax a bit.
- Start to feel into your body. What sensations are present? Do you feel your feet, your back or your chest? Is there any tension or pain? Where is it? How does it feel? Examine your physical being.
- Now we let the attention glide towards the realm of thought. Can you see your thoughts? What are you thinking? Do you see how fast they are racing? How do thoughts feel? What are they? Where do they come from and where do they go? Examine them but from a distance. Try not to get absorbed and entangled in the stories these thoughts tell you. Stay in your body. Keep watching. This is the most trickiest part. In 20 minutes of meditation you will screw up this part approximately 50 times. So no worries, that’s normal. If you notice that you have entered the thought stream, just return to your body and start watching thoughts and feelings again. This coming back to the body and therefore into the present moment is the key element of meditation.
And that is the whole deal! No ooohming, no retreat to a far mountain top and no prayer to an Indian goddess.
If you are an absolute beginner, I recommend to listen to guided meditations for 30 to 60 days to get used to the process. You can find guided meditations all over Youtube and the Internet in general. Most of them are for free! I’ll post some of my favorite below:
By the way: If you sign up on the webpage of SoundsTrue you will get 6 guided meditations for free. You can just download them to your smart phone and listen on the way to work. Pretty nice if you ask me.
Here is the not-sponsored link: Soundstrue Website
Watch out for false Expectations!
In the beginning it will feel like you are not accomplishing anything. It will feel weird, uncomfortable and useless. Doubt will arise. That is exactly how it should be!
“Am i doing this right? What am i even supposed to be doing? I can’t control the goddamn thoughts! I am failing! This stupid shit doesn’t work! If have done a 20 minutes sitting and it feels uncomfortable as hell! Isn’t meditation supposed to make me calm and happy? I feel the exact opposite!”
Start looking at meditation like a difficult language. Do you expect to speak fluent Russian after 20 minutes of practice? Unless you’re stupid, you don’t. It will take you much more time and effort than that. Somehow, we think meditation should be easy and come natural to us. But boy, has our western culture got this wrong. The learning curve is very flat in the beginning. The first benefits will be rolling in about 6-12 months into the practice. But don’t get discouraged, over time it will get better and better. There is no limit on how good your life can become through this simple practice! See it as investment into your future. I promise this will be the most lucrative investment you have ever made! Here is the learning curve for meditation, don’t get discouraged when it feels like you’re stuck or even regressing.
I Want You To Commit Today!
Do this little practice for the rest of your life. It will be goddamn worth it.
If you don’t trust an anonymous guy on the not so trustworthy internet, that’s fine. Go read up on scientific studies, that are being done on meditation these days. Do so under the following links:
They will back up my claims, at least partially. This field of study is very young, because meditation was lumped together with a bunch of esoteric nonsense for a long time. It was not deemed worthy to be studied. Luckily, this is changing. Science will catch up on the benefits of meditation, but it will take its time. While we wait, do not forget the following: Just because science hasn’t proven something yet, doesn’t mean it is not true. Quantum mechanics has been true since the dawn of space-time, yet has only been proven recently.
Thanks for reading!
That is the article for today. Don’t forget to leave your mail in the subscribe-box at the bottom of the page! This way you get notifications when I post something new. No spam or ads, guaranteed!
Here are some more links, to articles everybody should read. Go check them out!