In the past few months I have discovered the incredible benefits of daily meditation. I was always aware that taking some time to reflect and do a self inventory was beneficial but had no idea that all of the benefits are actually backed by science. The turning points for me was while driving down the road listening to “Unleash The Power of Meditation” on one of my favorite podcasts, The Science of Success.
As I listened to Matt describe the phases of The Envisioning Method I felt like I was having an epiphany. The Envisioning Method includes six phases which include recognizing what you have to be grateful for, feeling connected, etc… I had never really taken the time to stop and think of how much negative baggage I had been hanging onto. In my head I had been neglecting that which I was grateful for and focused more on the negative things happening both internally and around me. Through meditation I have discovered the ability to mentally rearrange these thoughts to position yourself to have a more positive and productive life. Just as you rearrange the furniture in a room you don’t like, you can rearrange your mind to be a more comfortable space as well. The phases below are described how I use them for maximum thoughtfulness but each person will have to assign their deeper meaning.
To begin the process find a place that you can be completely alone and free of distraction. While I prefer meditating early in the morning to beat the noise of the day, anytime is better than no time. Next, find a position you feel comfortable and can breathe in. It can be any position, however I do not recommend lying down as you can easily fall asleep. I prefer to have some relaxing soundscapes playing in the background myself but to each their own. Now close your eyes, take in several deep breathes and begin. Remember, it’s alright to have your mind wander, just be aware of the wandering and bring your mind back. Begin focusing of the below phases individually and move on when you feel you should while continuing to stay aware of your mind and your breath.
Connection – Every living thing is made up of organisms. I know this sounds a bit “woo woo” but it’s true. Every person you will interact with to day in many ways is just like you. We all have our differences but theres nothing superhuman about anyone you will interact with today. What makes people unique and great is how they carry themselves and what they do with the time they are given on this earth. As you go forward in your day fear no man, run from no interaction, and put yourself out there. The people you admire do it, and they are working with the same tools as you.
Gratitude – Studies have shown that those who take time each day to acknowledge what they are truly grateful for are happier in their day to day lives. Take time here to acknowledge really how fortunate you are. Gratitude begins internally. Begin of thinking of your soul, being grateful for your values and who you are. Next, your health, your mind. Finally, what around you are you grateful for? Family? Friends? Your dog? All of these are great but I find that beginning with the soul helps expand your thoughts on what you truly have.
Forgiveness – “Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong, the weak cannot forgive.” It’s been scientifically proven that holding onto a grudge is bad for your health. A lot of my first experience meditating was literally clearing out all of this anger I had held onto and I was amazed at how much there really was. Small things in your life that may not seem like they are at the forefront of your thinking still affect your thoughts without you knowing. It’s easy to be weighed down when you have been used to it for so long. When you hold onto these grudges more of your interactions in life will become negative, and no one needs more negativity. Use this time to think of people that may have wronged you and begin to forgive them. Remember, it’s not for them it’s for you. Once you forgive I guarantee your next interaction with them will be more pleasant not focusing on the wrong. The final and most important, yet difficult portion of this process is forgiving yourself and moving forward.
Visualize Your Day – Moving into this phase take the time to think about what you will do today. Imagine the most perfect day you could have. All your meetings go great! Everyone you interact with is smiling and happy to see you and you absolutely crush it and get so much done it’s mind blowing. By doing this you set yourself up to look forward to the day ahead and actually approach these interactions in a positive way by playing out the good in your head. Too often we wrongly assume interactions will be negative due to anxiety or limiting beliefs. In time you’ll find that taking the time to be patient and to make each interaction a positive one won’t hurt your productivity. Be patient, don’t rush, make it positive.
Visualize Your Future – Next, begin to look to the next three years of your life. Where do you want to be? What would be the most ideal scenario for you? Then visualize all the cards falling into place. Try not to focus on things like winning the lottery, but seeing your work paying off and people taking notice. See yourself CRUSH IT!
Blessing – In the last phase take a moment to know that there is something higher than yourself. Imagine yourself healed and ready for anything the day can throw at you. Be sure to focus on your breath and prime yourself for the best day of your life.
As I mentioned there are many different ways to meditate, and all are beneficial. The steps above are what I have found keep me grounded, self-aware, and less reactionary. There is no set time limit for meditating. Some sessions go for 15 minutes, some can go for hours depending on your schedule and how much work you need to do up there.
Your brain is a muscle. As you go on this journey your thoughts will develop, deepen, and mature. Best of luck, and godspeed.