So here are the four things I have learned so far while meditating
1. How to relax
During the first class, we sat quietly for a few moments, asked to focus inwards. It turns out my mind is very noisy, and with things that aren’t particularly useful. As in what I need to do tomorrow (which will likely change anyway), planning my weekend (on a Tuesday), and a catchy pop song I’ve heard (which will be played about 1,000 more times over the next two weeks).
That’s not relaxing. That just makes you tired.
However I didn’t expect to become a guru on the first day. Gradually I am finding it is getting easier to quiet my mind, and focus more on being in the present moment.
What was really unexpected though was how I felt after I was done. I felt relaxed and refreshed, like I had just woken up from a very nice nap.
2. How to focus
If you have a noisy mind, I find you also don’t have a lot of focus. I’m all for doing some serious thinking while working with your hands, like gardening or woodworking. But there’s also a lot of distractions that you can make for yourself. For instance, if I’ve got to verify a fact quickly while writing a story, most of the time I can get it from the Internet. Then I check my email. Facebook might have something newsworthy as well. Oh, and there might be an interesting article to read. Before you know it, an hour has gone past and you’ve forgotten what you meant to look up.
I’ve found since starting the meditation classes, I’m more apt just to write the question down and finish the story. Then I can go back and find the detail I need, before moving on to the next task. I still get distracted, like anyone I think, but I’ve noticed a big improvement in staying focused on whatever I’m doing.
3. How to let things go
Every once and a while, someone is just not happy with you. You’ve done something totally wrong in their point of view, and they are going to make sure you know it. It happens at The Advance, just as it happens in any job.
No matter who you are it’s going to rattle you, even just slightly. Well, unless you’re a psychopath or something.
I know for myself, I would carry what was said with me for a few days. Nothing extreme in any way, but it would bring my mood down.
Sometimes people make several pointed remarks about my job qualifications, or my ability to actually run a newspaper. There wasn’t anything to fix, so there was no way to resolve the conflict.
It’s enough to rattle me, like any person would be in the same situation. How dare they say that to me? What right do they have? And the worst one of all, what if they were right? Then I thought back to the meditation classes. Part of the teachings in the class is about letting go of guilt and forgiving others. That’s oversimplifying a bit, but it is part of the whole process.
I sat back for a few moments, and just went through the meditation techniques. Then I got back to my day.
I won’t dismiss the comments made to me, and I analyzed them to see if there were any improvements I could make to the paper. However I didn’t dwell on it, and moved on. That’s a powerful feeling.
4. How my body rhythms work
That sounds a little metaphysical, but it really isn’t. You may have heard people say they are nightowls? Or perhaps they are an early riser? Those are the body rhythms I’m talking about.
This goes with how to focus as well. When you’re focused on clearing your mind, what you’re left with is how you feel. You can’t really ignore your body when there’s nothing to get in the way.
What I’ve noticed as I go through my day is where my energy levels are. Basically, it’s about when it is the best time of day to do things. I’ve found my writing flows better in the morning, while I do better interviews in the afternoon.
Now, the news doesn’t always allow for me to arrange my day around how I feel, but at least I can recognize where my energy levels are and can work around it.
I’m sure everyone will have different experiences than I have, though there may be overlap. Others may have had the spiritual feeling, or had different thoughts on how they have improved. However I think if you approach it with an open mind and without over inflated expectations, you will get something out of it.
The free classes are still going on, and will take place at the Liverpool Regional High School Library on Tuesday evenings at 6:30.