There was a story on NPR radio last year around election time that focused on how President Obama made daily decisions. It said that he eliminated all of his clothes to just blue/grey suits so he wouldn't have to decide what to wear in the morning. For breakfast he would have the same meal every day. The president said he eliminated these trivial decisions to free up his mind to focus on more important issues. At the time I couldn't relate, until 21 days ago.
Actually it's been over 21 days because as of Monday I officially wrapped up the 3 week Perfect Health meditation challenge sponsored by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. According to a letter sent out by the meditation duo over 650,000 people participated in 204 countries. That is incredibly inspiring.
Now I have to be honest. I missed a day here and there but for the most part I was pretty consistent. Since I knew exactly how long the meditation would last (usually 16 minutes) I learned to fit it into my schedule. Although I meditate when I do yoga, I've struggled with making it a daily practice of its own but with this challenge I felt a shift in my psyche.
What does this have to do with Obama?
The more you meditate the more your mind begins to expect it. Just as your body craves movement like exercise, your mind craves stillness. Although we may not have as varied decisions as the president, our minds are just as cluttered each day. Especially with those little decisions that really have no real impact on our life (Venti or Grande?) But when you meditate, you get to observe the thoughts/decisions that are weighing heavily on you. So instead of pushing them into the back of your subconscious, you bring them to the forefront to observe and invite in clarity.
Meditation isn't about quieting the mind, eventually it will become quiet on its own, but initially you will have thoughts coming in and out like a busy highway. That is totally normal. Just observe them like waves rolling into the ocean with no judgement.
Want to get more clarity on your decisions and thoughts?
With this meditation challenge, I experienced amazing visions of creativity and felt at peace with myself with each passing day. I've always been the type to focus on my future self rather than enjoy who am I today, but meditation gently guides you to the here and now.
One thing that helped me be successful with this challenge was to meditate in my car (not while I was driving mind you). I would find a quiet parking lot or a nearby park and meditate before work or during my lunch break.
This is your OM the moment homework for the week. Pick three days this week where you will meditate in your car (or on the train/bus) for just 10 minutes. You can use a guided meditation or sit in silence. Set your timer on your phone and sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Keep your breathing slow and steady. Observe your thoughts like you are watching t.v. It's that simple. Don't be too hard on yourself.
I promise you that you will feel a difference in the way you think and even how you interact with other people. I can't wait to hear about your experience. Invite your friends to participate with you. Use the social media buttons below to share this blog. And when the week is over, come on back and leave your story in the comments below.