Everything I learned from dragging my ass out of bed at dawn to meditate for 30 days...
For the last 30 days I’ve been waking up pre-dawn for a sunrise #meditation. This is everything I got… For me, the effects of meditation are generally subtle unless things are completely on fire. Then meditation seems to work when nothing else does.
Alternative meditation styles work pretty well to build the habit of practice, but they don’t do much for long term peace of mind. I tried doing breathwork, auto-hypnotic inductions, 7/7 breath, and guided meditations, but they were less effective than the no frills variety. (Sometimes I’d have a guided meditation session, free great, then immediately slip back into that feeling that something was wrong. I'd always wondered why that happened. Now I know.)
What worked best for me also happens to be the style of meditation that I dread and loathe the most. Vipassana. Sit completely still, don’t move your hands or feet, don’t itch your face, don’t slow down your breath, just focus on breathing and the sensations of it. When your attention drifts draw it back to your breathing and the sensations in your body.
Long term meditation has had 3 interesting effects on my brain. First, I can sometimes catch my brain getting all unnecessarily worked up over normally emotional things (like the stock market) and now sometimes it’s just amusing to go along for the ride. Second, I spend less time distracted or day dreaming or seeking distraction. Unwanted emotional states seem to leave more readily as well. Third, I seem to have a longer fuse. There’s more time for me to interrupt a reactive response and that saves me a lot of potential grief and cleanup.
Sunrise is beautiful. It’s also wildly different every morning.
****************************************** Biggest takeaway:
Actively seeking inner peace or enlightenment as a fix only serves to keep me stuck. It’s easy to get lost in the churn of “not good enough” or needing to be better. This is entirely counter productive. As I currently am, the most meaningful way forward is to just ride the ride. Breathe. Observe. Be present. Let the universe happen.
Overall, this was 100% worth it for me. I'll be continuing to meditate in the mornings before work.
(Though I'm going to be waking up at 7 am instead of 5:40 am because I clearly need my beauty sleep)