I’ve been meditating for just over a year now. I started meditation as a direct result of yoga. I started yoga as a form of fitness. So … fitness led me to embracing failure daily. The thing is, I didn’t even realize it until I started this blog.
So, here’s how I figured out the link between meditation and embracing failure in my daily life. Read on and you can discover how meditation can help you embrace failure too.
What exactly is meditation?
I am going to tell you what I think meditation is. Anyone who has been meditating for longer than I have may say I’m wrong.
Very simply it’s focus and practice.
When I started I thought, like most people I talk to, that it was about clearing your mind and taking deep breathes. While breathing is a big part of it that isn’t what it is.
The breath is simply a focal point. It’s the easiest thing we have to focus on. And our thoughts? They are the obstacle that takes away our focus. So, like exercise, our thoughts provide the resistance in our training to be more focused.
When we practice meditation daily we are exercising our ability to focus in the midst of distractions. That, in my view, is what meditation is.
Daily failures, untreated, can cause pessimism and negative self-talk
When you experience a big failure, like I did with THE Failure, you only have 2 choices: internalize it and remain forever scared and scarred by it OR embrace it so that you can learn from it and propel yourself forward. People are often awed when they hear stories about people taking catastrophic failures and turning them into a launching point for success. And sure, they are amazing. Honestly, I love hearing colossal failure turned success stories.
But, what about the little failures? The daily failures? You might use them as witty stories to tell to friends or co-workers. Or you might try to push them behind you knowing that tomorrow is another day. Or you might do as I used to do and hold onto them.
What happens if you hold onto them? Now remember, I’m not talking about the big failures, they are a special kind of failure. I’m talking about the small daily failures. From my experience, they pile together until they hold onto you and hold you back. Every opportunity becomes an opportunity for failure and before long you try nothing new and stay safe.
Worse yet, you become pessimistic and sour and fill your mind up with negative self-talk. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. It’s true.
So, when I began embracing failure daily it was a game changer. But it happened slowly and it happened in large part because of meditation.
So how did I connect the dots back to meditation?
The easy answer I could give you is that successful meditation depends on failure. It would be easy and it wouldn’t be correct.
As I said previously, many people think that successful meditation is clearing your mind of thoughts for a long period of time. If that were true, then meditation sets people up to fail. You see, your mind will never stop thinking. So if you need to clear your mind of thoughts in order to succeed at meditation you will always fail. It is when you realize this that you start to succeed at meditation.
The night I figured this out was the night that I started to really meditate.
After nights and weeks of practice the thing that really sunk in was this: everything changes. Every night I meditated and every night I accepted that my thoughts would invade my quiet and that was okay. By practicing focus and accepting that thoughts come and go I slowly understood and accepted things generally come and go. My thoughts – pressing thoughts that used to plague me daily – would intrude my meditation practice. They came, I accepted them, then focused on my breath again. I did this repeatedly, every night, and I came to accept these “pressing thoughts” as just thoughts. I learned to note them and leave them. They came and they left and I remained rooted in the present moment.
These thoughts that I used to cling to, that I believed I needed to pay attention to, lost their hold on me not only during meditation sessions but during my daily routine.
The same thing happened with failures. I’ve noticed that when I fail at something it doesn’t have a hold on me the way failures used to. I notice it, accept it, take a lesson from it if needed, then I let it go and moved on.
Are you ready to EMBRACE failure daily?
If you are reading this blog and you are human then you have failed and fail daily. I challenge you to try meditation.
Did you know that you don’t have to meditate for hours to get the benefits from it? I started at 10 minutes a day. Some days I only did 5 minutes. Although I’ve been practicing for over a year, I still don’t do more than 15 minutes a day. And to be frank, I miss nights or I have nights where I skip it because it’s late and/or I’m exhausted.
It is best to have someone guide you when you first start. There are meditation groups that you can join or free meditations on youtube and other sources.
I tried a number of apps when I started. Most have a number of free meditations in addition to the subscribed content. After trying quite a few I found myself returning to one app over and over so I took the plunge and paid for a subscription. Over a year later I do not regret paying for that subscription.
The app I subscribed to is Calm.
Why? There were two reasons for me. First, I found the voice of Calm, Tamara Levitt, to be soothing and easy to listen to. Second, this app had the most variety at the time. I haven’t looked at other apps since that time (because I’m happy) so the other apps out there may have more variety now than they did a year ago.