A big part of being a polymath is the process of slowing down in order to achieve success. Why else would Less is Morebe our tagline? Although it seems counterintuitive, the most successful polymaths in history all agree — achievement comes from using time and energy wisely.
Contrary to its criticisms, meditation is anything but a waste of these two resources. Making space to be still allows you to go after your goals effectively and efficiently.
If you’re unsure as to how this practice fits into your life, let us be your guide. Keep reading to understand why being in the present moment matters.
The Definition of Meditation
So, what is meditation, and why is everyone talking about it?
Long story short, meditation is by no means new. This practice has been around since 1500 BCE, and has been implemented in numerous religions, cultures, and traditions. Although there are many variations of it, meditation is essentially practicing mindfulness.
As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis."
Right now, our culture is going through a de-stigmatization of self-care and mental health. Yay, it’s about time! Because of this, it’s no wonder why this ancient and effective practice is gaining popularity as well. Meditation is largely about experiencing honestly.
The Purpose of Meditation
As previously stated, the general purpose of meditation is to practice mindfulness. Beyond that, it’s really up to the individual to decide what works best for them and why. The reasons for using meditation are truly endless; however, here are a few to start.
Generally speaking, meditation is incredibly helpful for those who suffer from anxiety, ADD, OCD, depression, and other emotional and behavioral disorders. This practice is widely recommended as a healthy coping mechanism to use in times of psychological distress.
Meditation is also showing up in schools! Recent studies show that teaching mindfulness to kids is changing our classrooms and the younger generation as a whole for the better.
Meditation will also help you gain awareness of the present moment. Being present is really the goal here — it helps you to connect to what you already have. Foster an appreciation for life’s simple gifts, and you’ll be much better off in your day-to-day.
Whatever the reason, meditation is a completely free, safe,andhealthy tool that can be used by anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Why wouldn’t we want to embrace it? You don’t need a “good” reason for practicing meditation, either. If you’re looking for peace of mind, that’s reason enough.
The Practice of Meditation
One of the lovely things about meditation is that there are really no rules! With that being said, the hardest thing about meditation is getting comfortable with the actual practice of it.
We’ll tell it like it is — it’s not always fun, especially at first, to sit quietly with your thoughts. We live in a society that values the power of distraction as a means for coping with our thoughts, feelings, and humanness in general. Because of this, you’re probably pretty good at skipping around the thoughts that bother you!
In a lot of ways, meditation is a practice of undoing and retraining. Specifically, undoing unhealthy coping mechanisms, distraction tendencies, and the yo-yoing states of fight or flight that so many of us solely live in.
All that aside, we urge you not to knock it. Meditation gets easier with time, and will soon become a foundation for spiritual and emotional growth that you can lean on anytime, anywhere.
Without further adieu, here are a few suggestions to help you ease into the process.
1. Build a Safe, Quiet Space
This could be a topic within itself, but we’ll keep it brief. Essentially, the environments we exist in play a huge role in how we feel. When meditating, choose your environment wisely. This practice will bring you more in tune with connecting to the space you’re in. Conversely, your space will give back to you as well.
If you’re planning on meditating at home, build a nook or comfy space that feels peaceful to you. Outfit it with comfy pillows, art, the perfect lighting — anything that brings you comfort or makes you smile.
If you can, meditate outside! Nature is a powerful force we often take for granted — just the act of being outdoors will give youall the feels.It’s been scientifically proven time and time again that being in nature promotes relaxation in all kinds of ways.
2. Meditation Apps
The easiest way to get going with your practice is through meditation apps. Apps like Insight Timer, Headspace, and more make it virtually impossible to, well, make excuses about not making time. On these, you’ll find thousands of guided meditations, ranging from one minute to several hours in length. Search any self-help keyword under the sun, andwe promise you’ll find several tracks that speak to you. For those who don’t feel comfortable sitting in complete silence just yet, guided meditations are a great introduction.
3. Meditation Accessories
Sometimes, we need a little nudge or incentive to get into a new habit. With meditation accessories and tools, you’ll look forward to growing in your practice. Treat yourself to a meditation pillow, that pair of headphones you’ve been eyeing, or a beautiful object to focus on while you try to stay still.
We also can’t say enough good things about aromatherapy! Candles, incense, and essential oils are so beneficial. These all-natural aids will help you to disconnect from all the unnecessary buzz that’s going around in your brain.
5. Give Yourself Grace
Our best piece of advice? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Too many people get discouraged about meditation for fear they’re “doing it wrong” or “it’s not for them.” Guess what? Mostly everyone feels this way when they first start meditating. Stick with it, and you’ll reap the benefits! The focus here isn’t about success or achievement; in actuality, it’s allowing yourself to take a break from that noise. By doing so, you’ll gain a clearer mind that will help you to combat your life like a rockstar.
The Gift That Keeps Giving
All in all, spending time in a state of awareness is so worth it. The more time you dedicate to being present, the more you’ll spend enjoying and appreciating your life. What’s not to love about that?
As another incentive to stay on track, we also feature meditation guides in our newsletters! If you join our email list, you’ll receive meditations straight to your inbox handpicked by the Founder of the Polymath Planner.