The human brain is a tool and should be treated as such. Care for it. Use it properly. Monitor it. Lend it only to those who you deem trustworthy. With proper treatment, the mind is a source of beautiful achievements. Yet, for an increasing number of people in today’s age, the mind is a source of great agony.
According to a 2021 report on the State of Mental Health in America, “youth mental health is worsening.” “Suicidal ideation among adults is increasing.” “The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed.” For an answer as to why these problems persist, I outline in my blog post, The World is in Turmoil, that “we rely on an individualistic system to solve our World’s collective problems.” We tend to focus on ourselves and our own issues. We victimize ourselves and blame other self-interested individuals for our own personal problems, rather than take accountability for our own thoughts and actions. That doesn’t sound productive! To curtail this problem, we must fall out of this cycle of toxicity and into a state of gratefulness and understanding. “But how do I do that?” you may ask. My answer: Meditation.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is “a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention”, as defined by Kendra Cherry in her article on Verywell Mind. While it is difficult to succeed at the beginning of one’s practice, the idea of Meditation is to clear one’s thoughts and allow space for emptiness in the mind. In practicing Meditation, a person may notice a general state of peace and serenity, in addition to the “heightened state of awareness and focused attention.” Thoughts in the mind become less rampant and more in control. Eventually with continued practice, the empty space created will fill with new, more fulfilling understandings for Life.
A Meditation practice comes in several forms. My preferred method is the traditional form of sitting in a lotus position, legs crossed and hands resting on the knees. However, this traditional position is not the only form in which a Meditative state is achieved. Meditation may also occur via walking, lying down, yoga and/or performing repetitive tasks such as cooking (check out The Chefs’ website, as they are major fans of Meditative cooking). In this practice, it is smart to focus on one’s breathing in an effort to block out any extraneous, distracting thoughts. The reason being is that a successful Meditation practice requires a sense of Mindfulness. Mindfulness occurs when the mind is in control, rather than being left to run amuck.
In my blog post about my Anxiety, I define Mindfulness as the ability to “accept what currently is, and ignore thoughts pertaining to what is to come and what already occurred.” It is the art of being fully present. In being Mindful of our thoughts, we siphon “through the information that goes through [our] head, and ignor[e] that of which is unproductive. It is the art of not thinking.” In siphoning through our thoughts, we must decide which thoughts are worth exploring, as opposed to ones that are un- or counter- productive. The lowly thoughts that are deemed unnecessary shall be left alone. Pay no mind to them. In Meditation, Mindfulness is used to keep aimless thoughts, both good and bad, at bay. It is necessary in order to maintain focus.
What Led Me to Meditation?
Several factors of Life led to my exploration of Meditation. When I first began my practice in 2020, I was working an unsatisfactory job that created inner conflict. As I mention in my blog post, A Leap of Faith, I was at the point in my work where I hated waking up in the morning. Thoughts of dissatisfaction and frustration ruled my day. I sought peace via Meditation, in the hopes that my work day may become more bearable. Then, I realized that much of my inner turmoil is in fact caused by Anxiety, as mentioned in my blog post Mindfulness: Mastering My Anxiety. This realization strengthened my desire to Meditate. Finally, after reading several books that boasted Meditation as the answer to personal problems, and hearing a personal account from my good friend, Thomas “TJ” Schrette, I decided to try my hand at the practice myself.
Progress in My Practice
When I first began my Meditation practice, I found it difficult to sit still and stay focused. Thoughts constantly interrupted my focus. The lotus position did not feel comfortable. I sought presence, but fell short of success. Due to this, I was unable to establish a consistent routine from the get-go. I remember practicing Meditation off and on for a few months at the beginning, only to fall off the wagon completely for some time. However, in this short time period of practice, I was able to get a glimpse into the benefits of Meditation. That is why when I grew tired and weary from overthinking yet again, I decided to revisit my practice and establish a more solid Meditation routine.
For a minimum of five days a week, at least twenty minutes per session, I sit down on my cushion in the morning and Meditate. Following my Meditation, I sit down for breakfast and write my lessons learned in my journal. I call these lessons my “Meditation Thoughts” (click the link to view some of these lessons). I prefer to be outside when I Meditate, as I feel that nature helps to ground me. Especially in the peace of morning, I am able to focus on the sounds of Life that occur. Birds chirping. Bees buzzing. Plants whipping in the wind. It is a truly beautiful experience. Of course, living in the city of Charlotte, I do hear obscenities of the morning commute and construction. However, I strive to pay no mind to these noises. Instead, I focus. It is just me and nature. No external forces shall affect me. Over time with a disciplined routine, I noticed major improvements. My practice grew stronger. My insights became deeper. My time spent in lotus position lengthened. Huh, what do ya know? Practice really does make perfect.
Through Meditation and Mindfulness, we tend to our mental health and care for the unique tool that makes us humans so special – our mind.
An Enhanced Mindset via Meditation
After less than a year of a formal Meditation practice, I now notice an enhanced mindset. I am much calmer in my day-to-day activity. I am much more content in Life. When Life inevitably procures negative occurrences and my mind, negative thoughts, I am able to deal with them in stride. Thus, I move beyond the ‘problems’ at hand to use my mind for more productive matters. In a general sense, I find that I am able to respond to anger with calmness. Overall, I feel much closer to my true sense of being and am more relaxed in my daily Life.
From a perspective of knowledge and understandings, I am wealthier because of my Meditation practice. Life is what you make of it. If you believe Life to be a positive experience, a positive experience it will be. Chase your dreams. Chances are that if you are doing what you love, the money will follow. If it doesn’t, be happy with the fact that you are doing what you love. Speaking from experience, I would rather be poor doing what I love, instead of rich and loathing what I do.
Planet Earth is our Mother. We must treat Her with respect. We are all Her children. She provides us with the means to survive (i.e. oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, food, etc.). We must treat Her accordingly, and do so before it is too late. In Nature being our Mother, it also means that we are ALL related. Whether it seems that way or not, all living beings share ancestral lineage at some point or another, as the study of evolution suggests. From insects to plants, animals to people, we are products of the same ecosystem: Earth. Treat each other with respect. Stop with the petty fighting. The hate-filled actions, words, thoughts and gestures do more harm than good. Each being is their own. Respect each other’s differences. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. As violence begets violence, peace begets peace. A “heightened state of awareness” not only brings ‘Peace of Mind’ to an individual; it spreads to those with whom they interact. I like to call this, the spillover effect. I also discuss the spillover effect as a means to ending issues of discrimination in my blog post, A Dream for Diversity.
Strive for Peace of Mind
I used to believe that thinking was what made me unique. I thought that my thoughts were different and to a certain degree, I was under the impression that they were of higher caliber – this was my Ego talking. As soon as I identified my thoughts to be rampant, harmful and a product of my Anxiety, I decided to make a change. I say this because I want to help others achieve ‘Peace of Mind’.
In turning off one’s mind and ignoring disruptive thoughts, ‘Peace of Mind’ may be achieved. Your thoughts are not what make you unique. Your personality, your true sense of being is what makes you unique. Are you unsure of who you truly are? Meditate.
Your thoughts are a product of homo sapiens’ unique tool: the human brain. Tools, if used incorrectly and poorly maintained, will create low quality, malfunctioning products. Your thoughts are not the problem. They are the source of your problems. In aspiring for and achieving ‘Peace of Mind’, you will empower yourself. You are not your thoughts. You are so much more. Stop giving them power. Take the power away from your thoughts. Meditate.
Advice to Help You Meditate
For those who seek Meditation in the traditional sense, start by sitting in a standard cross-legged position. Keep your back straight. Tongue to the roof of your mouth (otherwise saliva buildup is inevitable). Hands stretched out to your knees. ~ Now, regardless of your chosen form of Meditation, these suggestions hereafter will apply. ~ Breathe in deeply. Breathe out deeply. Focus on the breathing itself. Notice how it makes you feel. Pay attention to the path it travels through your body as you respire. Follow that path through your body. Relax your body. Focuson ‘breathing in good energy, and exhaling bad energy’. Recite this phrase as you practice a sustained breathing technique. In doing all of this, random thoughts will try to disturb your practice. Pay no mind to these thoughts. If you notice that you become lost in a train of thought, refocus your energy on your breathing. Then, forget the train of thought completely. Do not judge yourself for allowing the thoughts. It is only natural. Just breathe.
I do not claim to be a meditative master, by any means. I am young in my practice, yet I experienced much progress in a short period of time. I simply want to share the positive attributes and ‘Peace of Mind’ that Meditation instills. I am 23, closing in on 24, and am content with Life, no matter how hectic it may seem. How many people my age are able to say, with confidence, the same thing? Not as many as there should be. I attribute much of my ‘contentness’ to my Meditation practice. That, and lessons learned from “The Power of Now”, by Eckhart Tolle. Definitely read this book if you hope to achieve ‘contentness’ as well. It is Life changing.
I leave you with this message: Your mind is YOUR mind. It is a tool. Stop letting it control you. Take charge. Meditate.
I Am a Young Entrepreneur