Challenge #1: Simple Meditation

The Challenges Begin!

I mentioned in a former post that I wanted to challenge myself to do something new every 2 weeks. This will be my first challenge!

"If you don't have 20 minutes to delve into yourself through meditation, then that means you really need 2 hours." --Timothy Ferriss, author of "Tools of Titans"

Relaxing pastel sunset

The word "meditation" carries a lot of baggage. For some, it's the weight of thousands of years of history, theory, and practice. For others, it's the humorous sitting pose we use as kids to say "ohmmmm" for 20 seconds. For me, I (wrongly) associate it with something too esoteric or arrogant to include in my own life.

Defining Meditation

In this article, and during any future mentions of meditation, I will use the word to mean "the practice of focusing on being quietly contemplative, reflective, and/or mentally present, for the purpose of relaxing your mind, improving your mood, focusing your thoughts, or achieving some other goal."

In this definition, I intentionally left out any mention of spirituality or religion, but that doesn't mean you have to. I chose to do this because I just want meditation to be an activity where I can learn more about my mind, how to influence it, and how it influences me. Maybe other concerns and interests will arise later, but at this beginning stage I will keep it simple and practical. This definition is admittedly too nebulous or dull for many practitioners, but for me its suitability is second to none.  

Think the flowers, feel the flowers, BE the flowersMeditation Expectations

Ok, back to the book.  Timothy Ferriss repeatedly mentions some form of meditative practice as a clearly recurring theme in many of his interviewees' lives. Scientifically speaking, there is good evidence that meditation can have beneficial effects on a person. For example, it has been shown that meditation can reduce stress and anxiety (1, 2), and potentially improve memory and creativity (3, 4). 

Now, let's be clear: I'm not expecting this short meditation to completely improve every aspect of my life, turn me into a genius, give me the inner peace of a Tibetan monk, or make me the next Steve Jobs. I'm just looking for a simple, healthy, and potentially useful way to spend 20 minutes of my free time. At the very least, I'm pretty sure it's not harmful (although apparently it can lead to false memories!).

 

So, my challenge for the next 2 weeks:

  • Week 1: "meditate" for at least two 10-minute sessions every day
  • Week 2: "meditate" for at least one 20-minute session every day

I plan to use these 2 apps to help guide me through my first 2 weeks.

  • Headpsace: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness
  • Calm: Meditation to Relax, Focus & Sleep Better

I can't wait to see how this first challenge unfolds. Head back to my blog in 2 weeks to see what I did, how it went, what I learned, and if I'll stick with it!

UPDATE - Challenge: Complete

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