For the last 10 days, I have meditated in bed before sleeping.
I updated my pre-sleep routine. It now starts with meditating for 10 minutes – usually Daily Calm, though yesterday I tried and liked a quiet meditation. Then I massage my feet, ankles and achilles with a massage ball before wearing sleeping socks (keeping feet warm). Finally, I read a book till the eyes shut off – usually 5-15 minutes.
I have been really enjoying this routine. The meditation calms me down drastically. The massage helps the feet stay fitter while I am increasing running mileage (or at least I think it helps). Then I read something – an easy book or a few paragraphs of Meditations (Marcus Aurelius).
I have been having really good sleep – drifting into it peacefully, and waking calm. The anxieties from rest of the day have mostly kept at bay. I’m lovin’ it.
Continue reading Successful tweak – meditation before sleeping
I usually meditate at either middle or end of the day – when the head is usually frazzled or distracted, and needs a dose of calm and care.
Since everyone talks and writes about it, today I decided to meditate in the morning. At about 6 AM, after finishing coffee and before starting work, I took 15-20 minutes to meditate with Calm.
The meditation itself was good, and I may have maintained the focus better. But due to the timing, it wasn’t as useful as usual. I was already calm and focused before the meditation (early morning is my favourite, and most productive work time). So the marginal benefit provided by the meditation was small.
Later when I felt the need for meditation in late afternoon, I hesitated – ‘because I had already done the session for the day’. It was a stupid self-argument, but I listened to it and didn’t spend the 15 mins. I have paid for it with a distracted mind and subsequent low productivity all evening.
Looking forward, I could fight that argument (‘already done it today’) in my head with logic. But that’s a system 2 action, and system 2 is lazy so I’ll probably end up failing more often than not.
I could set a fixed afternoon time to create a rule/habit, but that will have a similar constraint – I will end up meditating when its scheduled, and not when I need it.
So, instead I am declaring the morning meditation a failed tweak, and will instead go back to meditating when I want/need during the day.
Multi-tasking was considered a desirable quality when I was in college and in my early working years. In hindsight, it was an easy escape too – when things get tough in one area, switch to the other. Smartphones, social media, TV and multi-tab browsers have added to the toll – all together in the cause of making my current easily distracted present self.
Mindfulness, focus, being in the present – all define an ability to stop becoming a multi-tasker. To get back to being fully focused on just the present act – whether its working, playing with the boy, reading, or even watching TV (‘watch the TV, put down the phone’).
The reason for why the previous two changes (1, 2) are hard is mindfulness (lack of) as well. Remembering to slow down – while talking or eating – both require active focus. It would be hard to focus on slowing down when I am too distracted to even fully notice the act of talking or eating (e.g. watching a TV show while eating, or thinking of ‘what are they thinking’ while talking).
Eventually, I hope to turn them both into habits so that I speak and eat slowly even unconsciously. But till I get there, I will need to be focused in the present – be mindful of the act to be able to slow myself down.
Finally, mindfulness may help me get better at not just the tasks that I enjoy (spreadsheets, coding, running), but also the tasks that I don’t (reaching out to people, writing better copy, socialising). Continue reading Tweaks for 2019 – Practice mindfulness
Woke up 3 hours after I’d slept. Clothes, pillow cover, bed sheet – all were wet from sweat. Heavy breathing. Heart racing away. Head overflowing with anxiety. No cause, just anxiety.
I usually remember all my dreams. The good ones, the bad ones, and the weird, confusing ones. I didn’t remember anything. The memory was blank. Head was just … black.
Sat up. Took off the duvet. Waited a few minutes to let the heart rate recover. Tried reading something on the phone to distract the head. Nothing worked.
Got up, opened the window, and put my head out into the cool night air. It helped a bit.
Left the window open.
Opened the Calm app. Took a few deep breaths. Then started a sleep story – the Stephen Fry one. Kept the phone on the side table, and lay down on the dry side of the bed.
Heard some of the story – something about lavendar fields in Italy, IIRC. The light breeze from the open window was cooling the room. Slipped my feet inside the duvet.I could hear Stephen Fry softly talking in the distance. I didn’t gather much of what he was saying. I pulled the duvet over my legs and waist.
Next thing I remember is the alarm waking me up at 5:30.
Thank you, Calm. Thank you, cool wind.
10 mins of calm.
Finish meditation, take off headphones.
Peace level: 8.
*bow bow bow*
Peace level: zero.
C’est la vie!
10 mins of calm, yesterday.
An easy 10K run in beautiful snow.
A very well behaved Chewie on, and since, the run.
Nibali’s thrilling attack for the win at Milan San Remo.
Ireland’s domineering win at England, completing the 6 nations grand slam.