New Work: Train Your Brain

MC-train-your-brain-blog

This is a new piece I created recently inspired by the 99u article, What Daily Meditation Can Do for Your Creativityby Mark McGuinnessAbout 6 months ago, my boyfriend, Declan, started mediating and tried to convince me to do it as well. I pish-poshed it at first saying things like, “I don’t have time for that” or “it seems so booooring”. But eventually I gave in, and decided to give it a shot. At first I felt like I was wasting my time (even though it was only 10 minutes!) and I felt like I wasn’t doing it the right way or accomplishing anything.

The critical means of production is small, gray, and weighs around 1.3 kilograms. It is the human brain… So what are you doing to maintain this precious resource?”  – Mark McGuinness

But Declan convinced me to stick with it and now I’m finally beginning to feel some of the effects (only after I stopped focusing on them!). For now, we try to mediate 2-3 times a week for 10 mins each session. We agreed that as we progressed we would increase the frequency and length of the sessions. When I’m meditating, I mainly try to just focus on my breathing, keeping my mind clear and calm, and the sensations around me (such as the feeling of my back against the wall, my hands resting on my thighs, etc.). It’s always hard at first to not plan what I’m going to cook for dinner or wonder what bugs think about in their spare time, but when I catch myself thinking about something like that I just gently push it away and clear my mind again. The more I mediate, the easier this gets. At the end of the session I feel as if I’ve hit a restart button on my brain. The ability to control my thoughts more easily is also very empowering. I think meditating has affected my moods, my relationship with my boyfriend, and helped me not to get fixated on stress or expectations.

Benefits of Meditating

Mark McGuinness describes the possible benefits of meditating in his article much more eloquently than I can, so I’ve included a few of his insightful quotes below.

Focus
“The simple act of focusing on your breathing day after day, will gradually improve your powers of concentration.”

Patience
“For once in your life, you’re not trying to do anything or think anything, just sit there and pay attention to your immediate experience. And you will encounter all kinds of resistance to doing it.”

Calmness
“At first, you’ll be surprised, maybe even horrified, to discover how busy your mind is—a non-stop stream of mental chatter. But if you stay with it, you should gradually find that your mind settles down as the months go by.”

Clarity
“You are likely to notice moments and even periods of mental clarity, when you see things clearly and your mind is sharper than usual—which makes problem-solving and decision-making easier.”

Perspective
“When you spend time just being present and observing your breath, thoughts, feelings, and moment-to-moment experience, you start to realize how trivial most of our daily worries really are. Even in the midst of the daily grind, you can let go of the small stuff, and keep the big picture in view.”