Trying Meditation

I’ve spent the last little while practicing daily meditation using two iOS apps, Headspace and Calm, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results.

This is part of my effort to improve my ability to focus more readily and for longer periods of time, as well as my general impulse control, self-awareness, and sleep quality. I was somewhat sceptical at first that “simply” sitting quietly for 10-30 minutes a day could help in these areas. But I’ve come across too many anecdotes recently of the benefits of meditation in podcast discussions, articles, and conversations with practitioners to not give it a try. I’m so glad I did, and now wish I had started this daily practice years ago.

At first it didn’t seem to do much, but I understood going into it that one really needed to give it at least a couple weeks of daily practice to start seeing results. It didn’t take that long. By about the 4th day I was feeling different, definitely drifting off to sleep at night much more easily than before I started. I began to notice more quickly when my mind wandered away from what I was doing at any moment, and finding it easier and easier to gently direct my mind back to my intentions.

Another interesting observation is that at first, the 10 minutes sessions seemed like a long time, but now a couple weeks later they seem really short. I’ve begun to add additional daily 20 minute self-guided sessions using Noisli, my favourite background noise generator app. It feels like stimulus adaptation, similar to how one gets stronger physically. As you lift a heavy weight, the body adapts by getting stronger, making the weight seem lighter.

It’s still early, and I have a lot to learn about meditation, but I think this is going to be the start of a lifelong practice, and I’m excited about where it will take me.