Why You Should Meditate 20 Minutes Daily

by | Feb 9, 2019 | Essays

How to Meditate

I meditate for 20 minutes per day. I use a special meditation chair because it allows me to sit comfortably for the duration of the exercise. I sit cross-legged (Native style) or in a half-lotus. I place my palms on my lap. I close my eyes. I focus purely on my breathing. I feel my breath come in through my nose and go down into my lungs, then come up and out of my mouth without pause between the inhale and exhale. Thoughts will enter my mind, but I refocus my attention on breathing. The goal is to stay in the space between my thoughts – where I am thinking nothing – that’s when I am connected with God. By God, I mean the Spirit that connects all things and powers the Universe. It’s inside us; you connect with it whenever you enter the space between your thoughts.

Why Meditate?

You have to fight in life.  You don’t have a choice.  I am a peace-loving person.  I don’t like hurting people.  I seek out the most peaceful existence I can find, but I still have daily battles.  I still am stressed out.  I still get anxious and depressed.  I still have to deal with crowds, traffic, and other stressed-out people.  Meditation helps me cope with these unpleasant feelings.

A lot of mental and emotional pain is rooted in the ego.  Maybe not all of it, but a lot of it.  The ego never completely dies as long as you are a human.  But you can let go of your ego. The ego is like a yappy dog. The less you listen to it, the less it barks until it eventually gets old and tired and sits there.  Sometimes it starts barking again, and it feels like a great disturbance in the force – ”I can’t find a job, I can’t make my rent, I’m out of food stamp credits, and I’m down to my last nugget of weed.”  But you let these experiences pass through you. You still feel the pain, but you don’t engage with it. You don’t fight it. You don’t even resist it. You don’t get mad at it. You just let it pass through you.

Over time, all the disturbances start to feel the same. There are no big or small disturbances. You recognize that there’s been a disturbance, and you let it go. Letting go is a skill; like any skill, it can be mastered. It’s like a muscle that gets stronger the more you train it. The stronger your “letting go” mechanism gets, the more free you become. Every time you let go, your spirit is uplifted. You realize that all of your problems are just one problem – your ego – and that you can let it go and be free from it whenever you want.

This means you have no more problems. There will be events, but no problems. You will get stuck in a traffic jam. The neighbor’s dog will bark. You might even step in poop every once in a while. But you will just let these things go because they aren’t worth sacrificing your happiness.

If you knew a meteor was headed for you in ten seconds, and there could be, the poop on your shoe would hardly matter. That’s an extreme example, but it illustrates the point that there’s no sense in worrying about these things. You really could get struck by lightning at any moment. It’s happened to people before.  Let go of whatever is bothering you, and enjoy the present.  It’s all we have.  The future is never promised.

People think that if they let go of their worries, they will have nothing to do, or their lives will fall apart.  In reality, it’s the opposite of that. You will have everything to do and all the time to do it because you will no longer be anxious or preoccupied. You will have the calm and presence of mind to chart the appropriate course of action and the focus to execute it one task at a time. This is the key to productivity. You will find that your attitude, energy, and efficiency all skyrocket. I know this to be true because I have experienced it myself. You really can let go of everything that bothers you. The key is to let go of your ego, and meditating is the way to do it.

How Meditation Relieves Stress

During stressful times, your mind might be a giant cloud of thoughts, like smoke trapped in a building. But by focusing your energy on breathing and entering the space between your thoughts, the clouds of smoke dissipate, and soon you can see things with calm and clarity again – the path becomes clear. It’s like a release valve that lets all the clouds of smoke out.

That’s why meditating is the first thing I do when I feel stressed or overwhelmed. It’s counter-intuitive to think that the best thing to do when you have a million things to do is to sit still and do nothing, but it is. A proverb says you should meditate for 20 minutes daily unless you don’t have time. In that case, you should meditate 60 minutes per day. I believe that to be true. The clarity I achieve through meditation allows me to objectively chart the best course of action and execute it without being preoccupied with other things. It saves me time in the long run and makes me more focused and, therefore, more effective. Meditation improves my performance in every aspect of my life simply because it frees me up to focus on what I am doing instead of being preoccupied. The difference in performance is not incremental but exponential.

Meditation not only improved my work. More importantly, it improved my relationships with others. The more you meditate, the more aware you become of your feelings. The better you are at recognizing how you feel, the better you become at recognizing how others feel, and the result is that you become more empathetic. This makes you a better son, brother, friend, and business partner. At least, it has for me. I am not perfect at anything I do, but I am a lot better than I was before I started meditating. Happiness used to seem like an impossible aspiration to me, but I realized that it comes from meaningful work and meaningful relationships. If you have those two things, you have everything you need to be happy.

It’s no cliché to say meditation has changed my life. It’s a fact. Meditation, reading, and writing are three of the primary keys to my continued growth and ability to contribute to those around me. Meditation was the key to me realizing what I needed to be happy.

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