I started meditating a couple weeks ago. Going back through my posts, I also wrote about wanting to meditate a month ago:
There’s a chapter about meditation, which I really want to start practicing. I’ve done it maybe two or three times in my life. I listened to 10% Happier and thought it was one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. Then I didn’t meditate. Too many smart people meditate and there’s too much science backing it up to ignore it.
I listen to 10% happier again and also got a Headspace membership. Last week I finished up Headspace’s Take 10 series. It’s 10 sessions of 10 minutes guided meditation. Here are some thoughts after finishing. (For more about why I was beginning meditation, check out this post.)
I’ve seen an improvement in focusing on work. Meditation lets me practice recognizing when I’ve gone off track in thought. It’s helpful when working to recognize when I’m distracted. I pull myself back into work the same way I’d pull myself back into focusing on my breath.
In Deep Work, Cal Newport talks about practicing being bored:
To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable.
One of his examples is not pulling your phone out when you’re standing in line at the grocery store. I tried doing that for a few weeks after reading the book. It’s a useful idea that’s stuck with me. Meditation takes that practice another step.
Sometimes I meditated multiple times in a day. There seems to be a limit right now doing my. When I did two sessions that was really helpful. Three seems like too many.
The Headspace app is great. It takes the friction out of deciding what to do. There is a lot of series to pick from. There are series on focus and creativity, among others. You can’t jump from series to series without losing your progress.
I’m not sure exactly why but I’d guess it’s an exercise and not just jumping to the next shiny thing. They must have received enough complaints—they offer themed one-off ‘singles’ that you can do without losing progress in your current series.
Where I can improve
The app has some gamification, like recording your streaks. I like thinking I’m somewhat resistant to things like this, but it really hooked me this time. There were a couple nights where I was ready for bed and then realized I hadn’t meditated that day. To keep the streak going, I tried meditating while lying down ready to sleep. Not as effective.
As I mentioned, wasn’t having a lot of success with more than 20 minutes in a day. I want to practice until I can sit for 30 minutes. In 10% Happier, Dan Harris says his mom picked up meditation and was able to sit for 30 minutes right off the bat. He was both impressed and jealous. Seems like a pretty good goal to shoot for.
I’ll continue meditating with Headspace. It makes the rest of the day better. The app is nice because it feels like I’m progressing in some way. There are a couple more introductory series that I’m working through. After that, I’ll try the focus series and creativity series.