In 2018 I began a new project and started working with a particularly difficult coworker. A friend of mine even left the company because of them. Once the dust settled and my friend had gotten a new job, we grabbed some lunch. I asked him point blank how he kept his sanity working with that person. His answer? “Meditation.”
That simple answer was the start of my meditation journey. I fished out a used copy of 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story (long title I know) that I had waiting on a bookshelf. I read it and became obsessed. I was opening my eyes to a whole new world that I had never knew existed.
So I got started meditating, first with self guided sessions and then the 10% Happier App. Over the last few years I’ve meditated for a total of 67 hours, over 450 days. It’s brought me real benefits - I’m less reactive at work, with my partner, and tend to ‘snap out’ of bad thought patterns a little easier.
Then in the spring of this year, I had a project deadline. One of those hard ones that was so bad I had to write an entire post about it. I had built up a pretty good meditation routine over the course of 2020’s Covid-19 quarantine, but working those long hours broke me down until I just didn’t have time. Excuses piled up, and before I knew it I had lost my habit.
So here we are - 3 months have passed and I’ve barely meditated ever since losing my habit. Today was the first day in a week I’ve sat down and completed a session.
What’s good and bad is that meditation is like any other muscle or skill - if you don’t train it, you lose it. After months of irregular meditation I can honestly say my mind is just more…muddled. I’m less focused during my work. When my partner tells me a story, my mind has a tendency to start wandering. I prioritize my tasks less effectively, and find myself getting overwhelmed because I can’t decide what’s important. In meetings I’ve started accidently interrupting others, and not remembering to take a step back and pause like I used to.
Meditation gives me small moments of clarity throughout the day that I’ve lost as I’ve stopped my practice. This change didn’t happen overnight, but its that gradualness that made it difficult to notice. Day after day, my thoughts were getting more jumbled. Only when I’ve reflected on the past few months have I noticed how much has changed.
Unfortunately, things like this happen. Habits come and go - all you can do is start again. So it’s time for me to renew my practice. Reflecting on these changes gives me renewed faith in the benefits of meditation, and I look forward to a clearer mind in the coming months.