There are many benefits from meditation
- you can stay in the moment more
- it’s good training to stay present
- trains your mind to be able to focus
- silences that ‘voice in your head’ called the ego
Meditation is essentially reps to keep your mind glued to the present. Dan, the author used it to be able to notice his own thoughts and to not get sucked up into the chaos of his own mind.
Practical start for meditation is to commit to doing it 5 minutes a day. I think that is a good starting point.
Some pointers on meditation
- If you are in physical pain, try to note the pain and detach from it rather than shift position
- doing it lying down is okay (just don’t fall asleep) or standing up or walking. Walking meditation works with feeling the motion of your steps.
Compassion meditation was interesting to read about. Basically, you send out ‘good vibes’ to people in your life, practicing your compassion muscle. It doesn’t matter if you feel compassion or not, what matters is the practice – a recurring theme with meditation.
The main problem I had with meditation was all the buddhist stuff that came with it, all the stuff about reincarnation and chanting and shanti’s and om’s. Take that aside, and meditation becomes a lot more palatable.
It was interesting as well to read about the contradictions with meditation, like how being too compassionate leads to reduced job performance for Dan. Also, the 10 day meditation retreat sounds real intense.
I learnt a lot from this book about non-meditation related matters as well:
- The news industry is cutthroat. I didn’t realise the competition for airtime was so fierce. The people inside the industry don’t really have the luxury of changing jobs, either. And a lot of success or failure is random: depends on luck, if you’re in the right place at the right time, and if the boss likes you or not.
- Newsreaders seem to write their own stories. I always thought someone else did that for them.
- Religous people are often highly intelligent. This came from the stuff on the christian evangelical scene. It’s a nice reminder, since I’m not always able to identify with them.
- First judgements about people often turn out to be wrong. It’s difficult to not make these judgements. We are human, after all!