For over 3 years, I’ve been dedicating time each day to sit and reflect in silence and earlier this year, I reached 100 days of meditation in a row, as tracked by my Headspace app (this isn’t an ad, I’m just a huge fan!)
Hitting this milestone made me sit back and reflect on the experience, as I’ve tried to reach 100 days before but never quite managed to make it to the target day.
So what what have I learnt?
“a meditation practice is essentially the training of your focus on your breath”
First of all I learnt about consistency. Looking forward from Day 1, I must admit that Day 100 seemed like an age away! And, like I said, I had tried to reach 100 days in a row before, but never quite made it. I always seemed to stumble along the way.
So, to combat this I just focussed on each day as it came, I didn’t worry about what was in my sights, I just focussed on putting in the time each day, whether it was 3 mins or 10 mins, I made sure I never went to bed without going through my meditation practice.
Breaking it down like this made it seem more achievable than ever. Not only was I not daunted by the idea of 100 days in a row but finding a minimum of 3 mins each day is totally doable. It’s easy to find such a small amount of time before leaving for work, when I got back home or right before bed.
Secondly I learnt about the importance of space. Making time each day to sit and just be with my thoughts, to just exist with no distractions, no thinking, only observing my thoughts and focussing on my breath. It allowed me to connect to what is known as our ‘life source’ – the energy which flows through our bodies. It like our original power source.
A great way to picture and understand this is by looking at newborn babies, they are completely full of the life source. All they know is breathing and observing, they have no chatter from that inner voice, they have no distraction of work, life, time, anxiety etc, they just exist in the purest way possible. This is what meditation has allowed me to reconnect to.
Next up is the idea of slowing down. We live in such a fast-paced world that it’s so easy to get caught up in the 100mph lifestyle we tend to live. Meditation reminded me how irrelevant all of that is and the importance of slowing down.
Let me say that again – in a different way – we all need to learn to s l o w d o w n.
During the 100 day process I really noticed the difference in my stress and anxiety levels. For example, when I’ve been running late to get somewhere or have a huge to-do list staring at me, something new kicks into gear which makes me stop, take perspective, breathe and move forward slowly. My whole thinking and being has slowed right down (and the people who know me really well will tell you that I was pretty chilled as it was!)
And, finally, Focus. Meditation in general has allowed me to apply a lot more focus in my life. 100 consecutive days has really helped to instil that in my life. After all, a meditation practice is essentially the training of your focus on your breath.
These small moments each day have helped me apply more focus to my work, to my organisation, to the nitty gritty daily tasks, whether it’s been writing, recording my podcast or sending emails I have definitely seen more of an increase in my attention and focus than I previously had.
These are just a few of the benefits I have found from this 100 day process, however, there are plenty more benefits from meditation such as improved mental health, the slowing of ageing, lowering blood pressure, increased self-awareness – you only have to run a Google search on the benefits and there are endless articles on it.
If you are a regular meditator and fancy committing to 100 days in a row, I’d suggest you keep a journal or calendar for you to track the process, BUT remember to take it one day at a time, nothing more, nothing less.
If you have never tried meditation and are curious then I’d like to invite you to try my short 10 min meditation practice which you can find on episode 67 of my podcast.
Either way, let me know how you get on at @IAmAlexManzi on instagram
Peace and love,