In the morning, I wake up, shower, do some quick yoga stretches and then meditate. I try to meditate as early in the day as I can, ideally before being distracted by anything online.
I find it’s always best not to check emails or anything because then it’s easy for me to lose control of the day.
I sit on the couch for 20 minutes and it’s often full of thoughts – to-do lists, something from the news, random thoughts. I’m OK with whatever comes up because I know this is how stresses are unwound in meditation.
I see it as my mind being like Chrome browser. I’ve still got tabs left open from the day before plus all these new to do’s. Say I’ve got a big presentation that day, I’ll have tabs about what I’ll say, whether I’ll be funny, what the room will be like.
When I realise I’m thinking about these things, I go back to the mantra and it’s like I’m closing those tabs. Anything I need to attend to later I’ll still get to, but those things will no longer be sitting in my subconscious taking up processing power.
When I first started meditating, if I found myself lost in thought, I’d think I’d failed. I thought if I wasn’t having a Zen-like experience of deep inner bliss I was doing it wrong.
But later I learned the best approach is to accept whatever meditation experience you have, trusting that it’s removing stress and setting you up for the day.
If you think you suck at something you’ll soon quit. For me, switching the idea of success from clearing my mind of thoughts to actually just doing it made a huge difference.
After my thought-filled morning meditation, I’m better able to focus all morning.
In my presentation, I can be more present and respond to the room. The sensations I used to feel as nerves are now more like anticipation or excitement.
By late afternoon when I’m flagging, I’ll meditate again instead of having caffeine.
Afternoon meditations are usually a lot deeper – my mind has earned a rest and more easily falls quiet. If the morning is about closing tabs to be more productive, this one is more like a whole system restart.
The mantra leads me inwards towards silence. It feels like I’ve had a nap but without the sleep hangover.
After, I get a second wind. Rather than vegging out or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, I’ve got energy to work on my business or play guitar.
Before when I’d wake up in the night, my mental browser would fire up and I’d endlessly cycle through the tabs. Now, I’ve already closed most of them in the day. For the rest, meditation has trained me how to more easily let go and fall back asleep.
Probably the best result of sleeping better and getting all this extra rest through meditation is that I’m better at making decisions.
I’ve realised my success and happiness are the product of the thousands of decisions I make – big and small – from whether I choose to exercise, where I live, who I spend time with.
I know that the relaxed, meditated version of me will make wiser decisions every time.