Every time you meditate you learn something new, about yourself, about the world, about life in general. As I’m in a mood for reflecting, I’d like to share the top ten things I’ve learnt from twenty years of meditation.
Ten Life Lessons from Meditation
1: I’m full of crap
Yup, I’m totally full of crap . . . and so are you. Our minds are full of so much junk. Simply observe some of the things you think about every day. Sometimes we think we’re god’s gift to the world, other times we think we’re pathetic. Sometimes we think we’re going to become billionaires. Sometimes we think we’re going to end up on the street. Sometimes we think other people are assholes, sometimes we think they’re awesome. . . we’re constantly thinking irrelevant crap. Meditation makes you aware of the crap and then makes you stop thinking it.
2: We are all one
We are one with the universe and with everyone and everything in it. A lot of people don’t agree with this. Far too many people are obsessed with the idea of the self, that thing which is uniquely THEM, uniquely individual. But really, your experience of your life is influenced by everyone and everything in it. We are all one.
3: Hate is always ignorant
Oftentimes we think we have the right to hate someone. Most of us have at least one person in our lives that we really cannot stand. And we have our reasons, no doubt. We feel justified to hate. The thing is, hate does no good for anyone, not for the hater nor the hated. It is always better to try and understand others, to try and be compassionate. If only we could get over our animosity for one moment, we’d probably discover that actually, that person we can’t stand really isn’t so different to us.
4: Now is Everything
This moment right now is all you will ever have. This might seem strange. So many of us are caught up on ideas about the future. How many things do we put on “Tomorrow?” But, of course, tomorrow never comes. When we learn to focus our minds 100% on the present moment, we become more alive. Take a look at these 14 Buddhist beliefs for more on this.
5: Compassion is key
Compassion is possibly the most important trait anyone can possess. Put all the money and possessions aside and you realise that the number one reason we’re on this planet is to help other people. If only we can get passed our obsessions with ourselves we can open our eyes to other people and truly make a difference in our corner of the world.
6: Your religion should be kindness
Akin to compassion is kindness. There is nothing so great, so noble or so rewarding as being kind to another human being. When we are kind not only do we make someone else’s day but we make our own day too. Acts of kindness leave us feeling good about ourselves, feelings as though we can make a positive change in the world. Kindness should be practiced as a religion.
7: Twenty minutes of meditation changes your life
I’m sure I am not alone when I say that practicing meditation for twenty minutes a day changes your life. The effect of meditation has to be experienced first hand to be believed. When you meditate you create inner peace and calmness, you feel at one with the world, you let go of stress and find the freedom to simply enjoy life. Twenty minutes of meditation goes a long long way!
8: You don’t exist
I don’t exist. Shucks! Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? Truth is, though, that everything you think about yourself is nothing more than delusion. Perhaps you think you’re smart or stupid, attractive or unattractive, rich or poor. … whatever you think about yourself is only in your own mind. The universe doesn’t give a flying fudge about your delusional sense of self. Everything you think about yourself is merely that: thought, nothing more.
9: Silence is Golden
There is nothing so freeing as sitting somewhere quiet and simply listening to silence. Focus your mind on silence for 20 minutes and you will experience a state of freedom like no other. Seriously, do it now, if you can, just close your eyes and focus on silence. Silence connects us with the infinite creativity of the universe.
10: Heaven or Hell
A man can make for himself a hell out of heaven or a heaven out of hell. It is all in the mind. You can delude yourself into believing whatever you like. You may think you have the worst life ever lived, or you may think you have the best life ever lived. You are capable of perceiving yourself, your life and the world in any way you choose. Are you making your life a heaven or a hell?
UPDATE: Scratch That. The number one thing I’ve learned from meditating is this:
Long story short, there are a ton of life lessons learned when meditating.
But the single most important life lesson I’ve learned from meditation is this: consciousness is the single most valuable commodity in the world. Forget trading shares. Forget selling gold. The real investment is in your own consciousness.
When you use your consciousness correctly you become powerful. When you use it incorrectly you become a slave—more on that in just a sec.
The one thing every person in the world is born with is consciousness. Literally. There are people born with different levels of intelligence, some people are born with disabilities or even not fully formed, some people come into the world to a life of riches, some to a life of poverty. But the one and only thing that we all carry with us as we step into the green fields of mother Earth is consciousness. And it is the most valuable commodity we will ever own.
Shame, then, that so many disparate forces vie for our consciousness.
Your consciousness is at war every single day. Literally. That’s no exaggeration.
Take ten minutes right now to think about the amount of forces vying for your consciousness. I want you to do this right now. Go on. Stop reading. Sit. Think for ten minutes. Think about how your consciousness—your focus and your awareness—gets batted around like a ping-pong ball each and every day.
TV and internet. Those are two of the main forces taking fire at your consciousness. Just think of how much time you have spent thinking about celebrities, TV shows, movies, games, and so on. You’ve probably spent about a twelfth of your life thinking about various forms of entertainment and media. And has that investment yielded a return? Has that stock paid dividend? I wont do you the insult of answering that question for you.
Facebook and Twitter. Sure, they can be great tools (our Facebook page, for instance, is full of positive inspiration and advice). But I’m willing to bet that half the time you’re on Facebook and Twitter you’re not really focused, you’re just dossing about, right?
What about other people? How many people vie for your attention? And how many of them make a positive impact in your life? I’m not talking about friends and family here. God do I love my friends and family. But there are others, right? There are people who don’t really bring anything of value into your life but whom you somehow end up thinking about all the time anyway.
Then there’s advertising. You’re walking down the street just trying to chill, maybe even Zen Walking to get your focus. And you’re bombarded by companies wanting you to buy their products. Those adverts come at you like a thug in the night. It would be bad enough if those companies just said “We’ve got this new product out; you might like it”. But oh no. Marketers use psychological schemes and manipulations to force advertisements inside your brain where they contaminate your mind like weeds on flowers.
Your consciousness is at war every day. And the sooner we all realise just how much is at stake in this war the better.
Because when you lose your consciousness, when you lose control of your focus, you lose everything, you are the ship without rudder cast out in the stormy sea.
Win the war and you’re powerful, you’re the motorboat with the turbo engine and the GPS to get you anywhere you need to go.
This is the number one life lesson that meditation has taught me: the real war, the war for consciousness.
How do you win that war? When there are so many powerful forces taking free-range shots at your consciousness, how can you ever win?
How can you win the war for consciousness?
Single minded focus.
Breathe. Focus on your breathing. Lock your consciousness on your breath. Feel the energy of your own consciousness. Anchor that focus on the breath.
Then, when you need to do something, do that one thing. Focus on that one thing. Meditate on it. If you’re working, meditate on working. If you’re exercising meditate on exercising. Just focus absolutely on the one thing you are doing, always.
We all know that multitasking doesn’t work anyway. So logically you should be focusing on one thing at all times regardless. And when you focus on one thing you are, by definition, meditating.
So the number one life lesson learned through meditation? For me it’s that meditation doesn’t end. Throughout your day you should be meditating on whatever you’re doing. Keep single minded focus. That is the key to winning the war for consciousness.
You can meditate on anything. I’ve actually lovingly created a premium guide to show you how you can meditate anytime, anywhere, whatever you’re doing. I wrote this guide because it is my love letter to meditation. It’s me saying: I understand the war for consciousness, and I want my readers to win that war. Read it. Win the war for consciousness. You can find the book by clicking this link.
And that, dear friends, is the number one life lesson that I have learnt from meditating.
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