This post will be a little different. Most of the blog posts you see on here have to do with the motivation you need to succeed at building your ship. However, building a ship is overwhelming, if you let it take you completely over. Over the past two years, I’ve undertaken a practice of mindfulness and blessed silence during parts of my day, so that I can calm my mind and not let the curve balls that catch us all by surprise put me in a state of panic. In this post, I’m going to tell you why a scheduled time for meditation and silence works.
By nature, I’m a highly motivated and highly strung person. I’ve spent most of my life believing that if you are not moving, you are being lazy. Sometimes though, inaction is the BEST course you can take. I’m not talking about apathy, I’m talking about patience. Patience has been a very hard skill for me to learn, and only though my daily quiet reflection has it been possible for me to get through what I call the ‘One Exit Short’ Moments. Those moments are when I fire before I aim, or take an action that I didn’t need to, because the resolution would have revealed itself had I exercised just 5 minutes more of patience. So, what are the benefits of Silence and quiet reflection every day?
THE BENEFITS OF REFLECTION
- Awareness — When you cut everything off and turn inward, it’s going to be hard at first. But as you get acclimated to sitting, you’ll become aware of yourself and your emotions. You’ll also become more aware of your personality, especially the things about yourself you don’t like very much. You’ll get more in tune with yourself, and along with awareness comes the insight on how to adjust those negative traits.
- Equanimity - one of the main teachings I have taken to heart is the desire to accept all outcomes, be they good or bad. That means not trying to avoid or avert the bad experiences in your life, but also not clinging to or getting too attached to the good experiences. It is what it is.
- Acceptance of Impermanence - Neil Peart wrote in ‘Tom Sawyer’ ‘Changes aren’t permanent, but change is’. Everything changes, everything ends. The sooner you accept this, it will make accepting change of all things (good and bad) easier. The good things will end, so don’t cling to them. The bad things will end, so be patient, and breathe.
- Focus - Silence and reflection inward means that you are not seeking external stimuli from our Kindles and iPhones. These things are distractions. Cutting them out allows you to cut off all the external channels feeding you information, and then you can slow down and concentrate on YOU. Most often we feed ourselves so much information so that we do not have to think about the things we ought to be doing, or the things we fear. Get rid of the chatter and face them. Here, you are the master of your tools, they do not master you, and that is the way it should be.
- Appreciation - Silence and quiet reflection allows you to realize the things in your life you take for granted and how awesome they actually are. Each of us have those things that we don’t even think about, but we’ll know them when they’re gone. Take note of those things when they arise in you, and as they appear to you, you’ll have an appreciation for them you had not thought of before.
- Coping with Failure - You are never going to be able to completely quiet your mind. It’s not going to happen. You’re still going to have thoughts, because your brain is a thinking machine. When you stop feeding it, it creates things for you to think about. When this happens, you will likely call your effort at meditation a failure. It’s not, because failing at meditation (and you will fail at meditation) allows you to be more accepting of failure in life. It is just another thing that is impermanent, if you allow it to be. Acknowledge, and move on.
- Embracing Priority - Practicing this quiet reflection will also teach you how to be present in the now. We spend so much time thinking about what we ought to be doing, what we did in the past, worrying about the future. Being in the now will narrow your focus to what matters right now. When it comes to your work, I can’t think of a better way to understand your priorities than to know what needs to be done right now to resolve the issue, or to cut out extraneous steps. The calm that quiet reflection can give you allows for that focus.
Allow yourself the time to sit in silence and meditate. Begins daily practice. It’s rocky at first, but in time you’ll gain some consistency. When you do, you’ll get a better understanding of yourself. When you better understand yourself, you’ll gain an understanding of what is important to you. With that comes clarity, and confidence.
Do you meditate, or spend time to sit and think in silence? What has it brought you? If you don’t, what do you think a daily practice might help you with?