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Spiritual Sunday: My Husband's Take

20 May 2012


My Mantra and What Meditation has Done for Me
{hubby guest posting}

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How Meditation Came to Me

I thought it would be nice to do a guest post on Em's blog to explain some things that have helped me and might be helpful for others. 

My introduction to meditation came suddenly and unexpectedly several weeks before I met Em for the first time. I was not necessarily in a bad place in my life or a great place either, but I had definitely felt for quite awhile that "something" was missing. On top of that I was crushed at work (as usual) spending 12-16 hours a day trying to bring new and innovative products to market with Belkin. My biggest problem was insomnia. Most days when I was finally able to lay down and try and get some sleep, I would lay awake thinking about work.  

The night that meditation came to me was no different than any other week night. I had been at the office until around 8pm, then I came home and worked another couple of hours. I went into my bedroom that night and turned off my light. About 5-10 minutes later I realized that I was still standing up in the dark and had been thinking about work. I thought to myself that there has got to be a way to make this stop. There had to be a way to be more healthy and productive with my thoughts. Then, it happened. Without knowing why or how, I started meditating. I sat down on my bedroom floor and closed my eyes. With my eyes closed I focused my internal gaze on the point between my eyebrows and started to think about work. I allowed my self about 20-30 minutes to think about nothing but the problems and troubles that I was struggling with. Solutions and ideas started pouring in even on that first night. 

How Meditation Changed Me

Over the course of the next several nights I would do the same routine before bed. Each night I would sit down on my floor in the dark with my spine straight and eyes closed. I would focus my attention on the point between my eyebrows and let all my problems and worries come to the surface and forefront of my mind. Each night after meditating I would scribble some of the ideas and possible solutions I had down in a notebook before going to sleep. 

What I didn't realize at the time was that I was committing somewhat of a meditation no-no by purposefully thinking about my problems. I was so new to the process that in the beginning I didn't even realize that the process I was doing was called meditation! I just figured I was doing something new and personal that felt very natural. Plus it was helping me a great deal to be able to sleep at night. To me, this process found it's way into my routine, it made me feel better than I had felt in years, so there was no reason to question it. 

After a couple of weeks at my new routine I had the idea to add 5-10 minutes at the end where I would eliminate all thoughts from my mind. To say that this was tough at the beginning would be an understatement. I struggled with keeping my mind clear, but with each night it became easier and I gradually found myself reducing the amount of time I spent thinking about my troubles and increasing the amount of time I spent trying to focus on allowing no thoughts to enter my mind. One of the best techniques I have found for this is to imagine a windshield wiper in the dark brushing away any thoughts that may have crept into my mind.

Soon change was in full swing for me. I felt a constant "calm" and most worry was gone from my life. I had a great feeling that everything was going to turn out alright and that positive thinking would bring positive results. Oh, and I slept like a baby almost EVERY night.

Meeting Emily and Getting My Mantra

By the time I met Em I had a pretty good routine down. She introduced me to her church and although skeptical at first, I quickly realized it was a non-judgmental church that accepted all religions while focusing on the idea that learning and practicing meditation was the key to happiness. I fell for Em pretty fast and hard at the time because let's be honest, what's not to fall for!?! For the first time, instead of driving and seeking change, I was confidently thinking positive thoughts and accepting what came. 

While meditating and thinking positive thoughts has affected so many parts of my life from income to work/life balance, two of the most profound changes I experienced were in self awareness and communication.

Over the course of the next couple of years I started hearing a phrase while meditating. "Be calm, be centered, be peaceful." At first I wasn't sure exactly what it meant and why it came into my mind but I thought it was a nice enough mantra to repeat internally while in the beginning of my daily meditations. Around this time I read a GREAT book called "Emotional Intelligence 2.0". I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone wanting to improve relationships with co-workers, friends, and/or family members. This book had almost as profound an impact on my life as learning to meditate and meeting Em. It's a close third! For those of you guessing, Em takes the cake! 

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Anyway, the book goes into how we communicate with one another and what impact many things we say and do may have on others. Most of what the book covers are everyday ways people often unintentionally mis-communicate by subconsciously being passive aggressive, using misplaced anger, being aloof, etc. That's when it hit me that my mantra was missing it's purpose. I realized what it was meant to be - "Be calm while listening, be centered while thinking, and be peaceful while communicating."

The Three "Be's"

"Be calm while listening" means to me that when someone else is speaking they are simply trying to communicate with you. If they are upset or frustrated I should not take it personally. Instead, I should be calm and not interrupt them. I should let them finish and search for the true meaning of what they are trying to verbalize, minus the emotions.

"Be centered while thinking" means that while I am formulating my response I need to be focused and centered on how I can clearly communicate my intended message to obtain a positive result with my words. It also means that it's okay to go through a couple of different possibilities in my mind as to what my response may be, but I should always try to focus on being centered and aware of how to get to the response that will bring the most desired outcome.

"Be peaceful while communicating" means to me that when I do verbalize my response it needs to come across in a non-threatening, solution-oriented manner. If I have remained calm while listening and centered while formulating my response, this should be the easy part!

I wish that I could say that I meditate everyday and never have arguments or lose my patience because of my mantra. We all know that life simply doesn't work that way. What I can say is that meditating as much as I do and practicing my mantra often has greatly improved my quality of life. While I can't imagine where I would be in my life now if I hadn't have found meditation or met Emily, I can guarantee that I would not be as calm, centered, and peaceful as I am.

I firmly believe that regardless of what anyone tells you about what meditation is or how it's supposed to be done, you should allow yourself the chance to figure it our on your own. If you can find a few minutes each day to go within and be quiet with your eyes closed, your life will start to get better. I guarantee it. Once your eyes are closed It doesn't matter what you think about, what you don't think about, or what method you follow, as long as you stay awake and focus your inner attention to the point between the eyebrows. Your body and conscious mind will do the rest.

{Emily here--is it just me or should my hubby be the blogger in the family?!?!}

6 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing, Emily (and hubby)! Last summer I did a little meditation each morning when I woke up and really enjoyed it. I definitely need to get back into it. I really like your mantra, it's something I've always wanted/needed to work on.

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  2. This post came in perfect timing!!! Thanks for sharing that info! I have been trying to incorporate meditation a lot more, and it is tough because I have that "monkey mind" that keeps racing, but my yoga instructor recently started doing a seated meditation for 5 mins at the end of class and that has helped! I also like the mantra! One of my favorites is repeating the words "peace" "mercy" or "be still".

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  3. Great post Jeff. I never knew about the insomnia, but completely understand not being able to stop the wheels from turning at bed time. I hope you will make more guest appearances.

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  4. Jeff - you da bomb.

    I love reading this, it was great :) I'm definitely voting for a "Jeff's Life Lessons" segment on here.

    Love you both x

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  5. Bravo, Mr. EMJBM! Mr. TBS has meditated for a REALLY long time. Long before we met. However, it's been somewhat contagious. Meditation is whatever form is so important! Everyone can benefit from it.

    Great post, and great idea for a guest post!

    Love to you from Houston!

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  6. Best blog-post-by-husband I'ver ever read! I love the combo of personal story & helpful tips and how encouraging and positive you guys are towards each other.

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