“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” – Zen Proverb

Years ago I thought meditation is some hokey pokey, some weird thing that monks and strange people that are not exactly from the real world, do. Maybe the “hippie” people, the “artists”. But not real people that do “real” work.

Boy, I was wrong. After I realized that I was not happy, one of the most common suggestions on Google to become happier was to start meditating. I figured it was worth the try if it would help me achieve my goal of being happier. 

After I received encouragement from my marketing mentor who was a long-time meditator and also from a nutrition coach I had at that time, I gave meditation a go. 

What also helped me start meditating at that time was a book titled 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris. 

You can see what attracted me to this book probably as the title starts with 10 % happier. I believed this percentage could be eleven higher for me at the time. Now after years of meditating I really can’t give a percentage but I can honestly say that meditation is the enabler, the doorway to making meaningful changes for the better in your life.

The most important benefit of meditation for me is summed up beautifully in this passage from Viktor Frankl, a psychologist and holocaust survivor, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning: 

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Meditation gives you the possibility to choose your response instead of reacting automatically. So if Victor Frankl’s quote tells us that in our response lies our growth and freedom, meditation gives us that space we need. It’s a tool to provide that space. There are probably other tools out there but meditation is what gave me the power to choose my response.

Let’s imagine a scenario. Something bad, and unpleasant happens. Life happens. Spouse makes yet another remark we find hurtful, somebody bumps into us and spills our coffee on our new shirt, we don’t get the promotion we hoped for, our boss yells at us, our flight is cancelled, we drop eggs on the floor. Or any other scenario we can imagine that lights us up.  We can feel it in our bodies. We want to react. Our reptilian brains which are responsible for our knee-jerk automatic responses are triggering. But we are aware of what is going on. 

The practice of meditation gives us the choice to ask ourselves in that fraction of a second “Who do I want to be right now? What do I want to do? Will I remain true to my commitment to being cool and present so I don’t regret my actions again? Or will I snap back, start cursing, and shouting and create extra tension for everyone involved? Will I react as a responsible adult human being that knows how to solve issues or as a child not getting what he wants? 

This is what meditation gives us. We get the opportunity to choose. If before we had no choice, we did what came to mind first. Our bodies reacted automatically flooding us with chemicals and preparing us to fight or flight. 

And this is usually not the thing we want. Yes maybe we are angry at that moment and we would like to snap back. But this is just the first order of consequences. What about the second or third? What comes after? 

Usually, the first reaction is not what will get us to where we want to go. If we think we want to eat chocolate every day, the first order of consequence is that we enjoy and feel good when we take the first bite. But the second order is we are gaining unwanted kilos, breaking our promise to ourselves to fit in our jeans and feel bad about it and the third order is we are jeopardizing our ability to enjoy our retirement and play with our grandchildren in the long run because of our worse health. Which may be our real goal as it is very close to our values.

Meditation gives us the option to look for what we want in the end. With space between stimulus and response, we have the power to choose what we want to do and who we want to be one decision at a time. We can calm ourselves down before responding. We can ask ourselves do we want to eat that piece of cake when our emotions are all telling us “do it, it will make you feel better”. Then it’s up to us, our higher-level selves to make a decision including our ratio, and our prefrontal cortex. Not just the reptilian Amygdala that makes snap decisions helping us survive in this world. But this world is not full of tigers that want to eat us anymore, though it is full of constant stimulus, pressures, fears and expectations, mostly just in our heads. 

Meditation is a great tool to manage all of these feelings and emotions. I can’t recommend it enough.

You can start with 2 minutes just sitting in silence noticing all the thoughts running around in your head. Don’t do anything else but sit and notice for 2 minutes. This is a great way to start taking the time to “do nothing”. 

Then I would suggest just starting to meditate by following your breath instead of noticing your thoughts. And every single time you notice you are overwhelmed with thoughts, just return to noticing how you breathe. You may notice how the air comes in and out through your nostrils, and how your chest or belly rises and falls. Wherever you feel the sensations strongest. 

Anything will be great. Just keep at it, take the time every day and don’t get discouraged. All beginnings are hard but I guarantee it’s worth it.

If you need help or have any other questions about meditation, I am here for you.

Good luck on your journey!


Like this article
Share this article

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent blog posts
Scroll to Top

Pot k boljšemu življenju

Brezplačno si zagotovite dostop do posnetka delavnice Pot k boljšemu življenju.