For most my life I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with meditation. It began sometime around middle school I think, I was fascinated by Japanese and Chinese cultures and in kung-fu movies, someone was always meditating. Even Vader dug meditation from time to time. As you can imagine though, a young kid trying to sit calmly and relax is not really a thing that will last. There was something about it though that kept me coming back. Off and one over the years I continue to find myself wanting that space, wanting to have my brain let go of the day to day, the bugs, tasks, etc.
After a trip to see my family, one of my brothers suggested an app called Calm. This suggestion came a few weeks after a coworker recommended Headspace. So I had people around me who I admire both professionally and personally bringing meditation back into my field of view. They spoke felt that meditation was beneficial with both relaxation and focus, two things I desperately need. I had read the studies, primarily the ones from Havard and knew that there was something there, at least something based on science. Would I be able to commit 40 minutes a day to meditation, probably not, but that’s no reason to not try for 10 or 20 minutes.
So after getting back from vacation I decided to do just that and began using Calm (the voices bothered me less than Headspace). It has been about a week and my ability to pull my mind away from drifting thoughts and back to my task has become easier. It’s also easier for me to drift off into sleep and begin to dream. When meditating in the morning, I tend to feel more aware of my surroundings. My thoughts are on work still, but rather than stress I feel a calm focus as I think about what I need to do. At night it helps me get to sleep faster, giving me a deeper sleep that helps me get the recovery rest I need.
I realize that it has only been a week (10 days now) and all this “feeling better at x” is anecdotal and possibly placebo. That being said, I don’t care if it is. To me work has been easier and my sleep has been better (or because sleep has been better, work has been easier). Simple acts such as washing the dishes have become easier. When cleaning this morning, anytime my mind began to wonder, I was able to pull it back to the task, just like pulling my attention to my breath when meditating. A silly example sure, but my hope is that these baby steps bring me closer to greater mindfulness in everything I do, coding or otherwise. Just like yoga, I suggest everyone try it out. It may not be for you, but no reason not to give it a go.