I just completed my first seven days of meditation and am feeling great about the practice. I'm not sure when I first got interested in the idea of meditation, but I think it was the wonderful documentary on George Harrison, Living In the Material World. However, while it was a key part of Harrison's life, it felt pretty intimidating from its portrayal in the film. Meditation subsequently came up with friends, some of whom even tried it, but I still abstained. Then, I've recently been thoroughly enjoying Tim Ferriss' podcast of interviews with creative leaders, and it's a recurring theme on there, and I finally decided to give it a fair try. It was probably a combination of the repeated mentions, understanding I could start with simple breathing meditation, aid of technology to get started, and recent feeling of busyness all combining that made me try it.
To initiate the practice, I used the mobile app Calm and its beginner's 7 Days of Calm series. You're challenged to do a guided meditation for 10 minutes per day, each with a different theme or lesson for the day. I was pleasantly surprised that I immediately felt positive effects -- a certain lightness and...calm...washed over me after the very first day. After that, I continued to feel positive effects and ripples throughout my daily activities, and I'm excited to see where they go from here.
Interestingly, perhaps the most refreshing part of meditation for me has been the total comfort and acceptance in making mistakes with the practice. You're actually doing something that our minds, especially lately, are innately wired to be bad at: undivided concentration on nothing. No one will be able to fully clear their mind on their first attempts, and it's stressed throughout the sessions that you're not to get frustrated at mistakes when your mind turns to other thoughts, daily checklists, etc.
In today's world where we're instantly saddled with regret after sending an email with a typo or immediately criticized on Twitter for an opinion, it's nice to do something where you're not only allowed to slip up, but fully expected to.
It's just the beginning, and I need to stick with it, but consider me a big fan so far. I've already mentioned it to some friends and in perhaps today's truest test of belief given money to the app for an enhanced subscription. Go forth, give meditation a shot, feel liberatingly comfortable in not being good at it, and practice to get better. That's my plan at least.