27 Life Ideas from a 27 Year Old: #2 Meditate

My favorite spot in Gwanksan overlooking SNU and Seoul.
I never understood when someone said I have to be at present. Especially the people who argued that being here and now brought quite change in the way they interacted with the society and space around them and brought control to range of emotions they go through everyday.  It was probably while sitting down with a school friend who works at facebook and was taking his time off in Seoul, that made me first think seriously about it. He told me something I would have never quite expected him to say; 

He meditates.
"You meditate?" I looked at him as if he was plainly bull shitting me.
"Yeah, best thing ever. I do it every morning" He replied.
"What's it like during the day?"

I asked him what person or book or mentor influenced him to do so because for the odd nine years or so I stayed in a residential school with him, he never looked the guy who would. He took a quick glance over his phone and replied, "The Power of Now." Right after, I went ahead, had a good read. That was also the time I had just acquainted myself with Timothy Ferriss, author of the book the 4-Hour-Workweek, 4-Hour body, 4-Hour chef and Tools of Titans.  He runs this podcast where he has interviewed 250+ top performers in their field. One of the most common trait he noticed was that 80% of them did some kind of mindful practice every morning.

It didn't have to be meditation if you want to do mindful practice. Listening to the same song over and over again while you are running or even lifting weights, playing music can induce similar mindfulness. If you are Nepali and have ever gone to buddhist shrine or even walked past Thamel where the music has infinite loops of the line "Om Mane Pemme Om," then you can now understand atleast the Why aspect of the line repeating till you are bored to death.

It's a form of mindful practice.

I wanted to see what effect mindfulness has on my everyday life. Meditation, by far was the most easiest. Sure, sitting down in a place for good 20 minutes wasn't easy but I would just have to sit instead of run or liftweights or whatever. So I decided to accomodate an early morning routine. I promised myself that I would do it for 30 days straight. However, that has extended. I have been doing it for every single day for the past two months. I used this guided meditation recommended by author Ferriss on his blog [HERE].

I kept a daily log to document who I felt in the morning and during the day to check on at what point in time I would feel the effects but in all honesty, it didn't. Until last week. 

Strange. For all the time I was meditating, my brain would wander to hawaii, shanghai, veitnam, up to the mountain and then I would wonder back. I would feel my breathing. I would feel the pain by sitting in that dreaded crossed legged posture. During the day, I would just have that feeling of accomplishment, that I had started to build a morning routine for myself that I would do each day and by the time I reached office, I would feel good about it.

I thought, that was the ONLY thing my meditation was contributing to. Besides my improved spine posture. which has helped. I had a morning routine and if I didn't meditate, I would have that nagging feeling throughout the day that something wasn't just right. 

But then something happened. Much like meditation where my mind would wander in the past, present and future and I would nudge myself back to the present, I was doing the same while I was interacting with someone, sitting down or even eating. I would catch myself drifting off to the abyss only to bring it back. That has had an interesting application. 

My biggest problem is that get I angry. I get angry at stuff and things and more stuff. I like to be in control and when I am not in control or I am misunderstood in some form, my anger hormones trigger leaving me with heavy breathing, sweating and all that nasty stuff that comes with that emotion. 

The difference between my meditated brain and non-meditated brain was that I could now be aware the moment my heart rate increases, I have that particular nasty emotion and I am on a barraging role. The moment I notice that, I am able to think to myself "what's the emotion I am feeling?" and I repeat that "anger, anger, anger" And the funny thing is, the anger just dies. 

Makes a huge difference when you catch yourself when you are angry rather than catching yourself after being angry. 

I have used the same technique to manage when I feel nervous, or I feel depressed thinking of some past event. Humans are, by construct, beings of emotions and not rationale and meditation or rather mindful practice has allowed me to be aware when I have those certain emotion. I can then decide whether to elevate or degrade that particular depending on the circumstance. There's more control and I absolutely love that. 

Practicing mindfulness allows you to become hyper aware of emotions you feel right in the moment when it happens and allows you to "manage" that emotion in ways that does not embarrass you. I am pretty sure that's what my friend meant when he said "Zen."

Which is absolutely f**king amazing. 


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