I, like many people especially crossfitters, am constantly trying to improve myself. I devour multiple forms of media (books, audiobooks, podcasts and videos) on self-improvement. Many of these sources will encourage the person seeking improvement to meditate. Meditation takes many forms but is almost universally regarded as a necessary practice for those wishing to live better lives. How does meditation work? Why does it work? What does it do? How will meditation help you? Like anything worthwhile you have to find out for yourself: it’s experiential.
I believe meditation is a gateway to self-acceptance and love which are pre-requisites to true growth and fulfillment. Without the ability to love and accept yourself as you are, any gains you achieve will never be enough to fulfill and satisfy you. I often fall out of practice with meditation and it is usually when I need it most, not when it’s most convenient. I invite you to start a meditation practice.
One of my go-to meditation practices is to simply count my breaths. I sit comfortably, set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, close my eyes and begin counting my breaths. When I am inhaling I am focusing on the inhale and when I’m exhaling I focus on the exhale and when I lose count, I start over at one. Sometimes when I’m sitting on a train I simply start counting my breaths and decide at 10 breaths whether I’m done or wish to keep going. The goal is not to get more breaths or less breaths (although slower, more measure breathing is preferable). The goal is not to keep fastidious count and beat yourself up if you forget where you are (although you will almost definitely do that). The goal is just to be present to you and your body and learn to focus on one thing. You could count your heartbeats if you can sense them. You could count the ticks of your watch if it ticks loud enough. Just be present and attentive and let that be its own reward.