Streaks

Mindful Meditation

Over 1000 days ago, sometime in September 2018 I started a daily meditation. I have missed two days since then, so my current streak is only a little over 250 days, but it’s something I have been doing consistently for two and a half years.

My Mom used to encourage meditation. She also burned incense, had tarot cards, and bought crystals.

Keep an open mind and don’t group arbitrary ideas together.

Tom Life Pro-Tip

Let’s say you have a vegan friend who loves Astrology, meditates daily, and uses tarot cards. All four of these activities need to be evaluated on their own merit. You need to fight all the cognitive biases in play and determine if any of these activities could be beneficial for you personally. Just because there’s no science behind Astrology or tarot cards, doesn’t mean meditating or eating fewer animal products are also ill-advised.

The Miracle Morning

After hearing it mentioned on a couple of podcasts, I decided to read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. The book itself isn’t too groundbreaking, but it helped cement the idea of the importance of having a reasond to get up in the morning.

It says that most successful people do these six things every day…
Silence. Affirmations. Visualizations. Exercise. Reading. Scribing.

I tried affirmations and couldn’t take myself seriously. Visualization I think is important when thinking of a specific goal. It helps clear your mind of negative thoughts. The other four have stuck as daily routines.

Silence can be anything, most importantly it’s time for yourself and your own thoughts or lack of thought. Just listening to the thoughts that run through your head can provide some great insight into where your mind is at. Meditation can give you a break from those thoughts.

Mindfulness

The Zeitgeist is now filled with “mindfulness.” I almost feel silly typing it, but it has played an important role in my life the last few years.

For me, the most important aspect of mindfulness is being able to step between your thoughts and your actions. To understand that just because your brain says something doesn’t mean you need to change your mood or take physical actions based on those thoughts. Thoughts come and go, actions remain.

Since I’m a technophile, I started looking for apps that could introduce me to meditation. Since I’m frugal, I tried both Headspace and Calm’s free trials. Although I probably enjoyed Headspace a little more there didn’t seem to be any free content to continue. With Calm, I learned I could listen to the “7 Days of Calm,” for free, for as long as I wanted. So that’s what I rotated through for over two years.

I started by sitting up in a chair with a straight back and eyes closed as directed. It slowly turned into me putting my phone under my pillow while I still laid in bed. Especially in the winter, it’s impossible to get out of bed as my wife likes to keep the house at 55F at night.

This has caused problems, such as meditating myself to sleep. But it usually just gives me 10 more minutes of warmth. I’ll then read for another 15 minutes.

I don’t know if meditating first thing in the morning is a good idea as my head is usually already cleared, but if I don’t get it done the first thing I’m going to forget. I still struggle to remain focused (or unfocused?) during the session. Counting my breaths seems to work, but I honestly would have thought that after years of doing it, I would be able to remain with a clear mind for more than a couple of minutes.

Ultimately the sessions have given me the strength accept that thoughts occur and if I don’t like those thoughts, I don’t have to keep thinking them.

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