“So, what do you do?”
The dreaded question so often thrown out at the start of a new conversation that almost always leads nowhere interesting. Most frequently just to an exchange of job titles, which indicate almost nothing about who we are as people, what we love, or what makes us excited about life. Sometimes I have asked the inverse questions just to avoid it “So, outside of work what do you like to do?”
Today’s writing task is about creating an elevator pitch or an opening few lines to answer that question in a way that leads to something that you are actually excited about. Even if that something currently lies outside of the day to day work role.
So here it goes
“I work as a Yoga teacher, and I am really fascinated by the power of meditation to dramatically alter aspects of daily life. At the moment I am investigating and experimenting with improving sleep quality through meditation. I think it has tremendous power to help everyone achieve greater happiness and success in their lives.”
Seriously, meditation is amazing. Especially for me and especially just before bed.
Would you be interested in using a product that
- Helped you get to sleep faster with less tossing and turning?
- Helped you to sleep deeper with fewer instances of waking up through the night?
- Helped you to awaken each morning more refreshed and revitalized?
- Helped you to wake up clearer and happier with less anxious thoughts in your mind?
Really think about this next question. If by taking a pill you could achieve even a slight improvement in any of the qualities listed above, how much would you pay per pill, per night? What is a good nights sleep worth? 25 cents, $1, $5, more?
- It only takes 5 minutes to prepare and use (or 10 minutes for even greater effectiveness)
- It doesn’t hurt
- It doesn’t taste bad
- Super portable for those traveling
- Only some minor side effects *
- It is completely, 100% free
*Side effects have been documented to include an increase in compassion, kindness, tolerance, and a feeling of unifying oneness and kinship with all beings.
This has been my reality over the past month or so. In a state of insomnia I turned to the simplest meditations and breathing exercise I knew to try and get to sleep. It was a hard testing ground to work with, I was in a really really agitated and the resistance to doing anything other than satisfying my urges at this point in time was huge. I persisted and wore down my resistance with repeated attempts of tiny dosage (like trying to practice meditation for a single minute and then allowing myself to stop). Slowly I disengaged from the drama in my mind and connected more and more with my tiredness and exhaustion. The chatter of my mind lessening with each attempt. I made it to sleep.
I awoke, surprised. At that moment of awakening on previous days I had been confronted immediately with a mental reboot of all of the anxious thoughts that had been plaguing me the night before. On this morning however, the volume of those thoughts seemed to have been turned down. Some of them were there floating around, drifting across my mind, but for some reason I didn’t really care about them as much as usual. They had lost some power. I was not fully engaged with them. This was incredible and required a repeat test.
Each night for the past month I have set the goal to try and meditate immediately before bed. And each night I really, really don’t feel like doing it. Some nights I talk myself out of doing it and then just lay down and try to go to sleep. Some nights I find the discipline and get it done. This one activity alone of meditating before sleeping has the single greatest impact on the quality of my sleep.
When I meditate
- I lay my head down on the pillow and then wake up. 8 hours pass in-between what feels like anywhere from a minute to a single blink.
- I don’t remember tossing of turning through the night
- I wake up faster and feel more refreshed
- i am less anxious when I wake, I feel calmer
When I don’t meditate
- It takes 5 minutes to half an hour to get to sleep
- I need to change position many times to feel comfortable
- I wake up a lot through the night to change position
- I often wake up early (after about 6.5 hours of being asleep) with thoughts running through my head
- I don’t feel as rested upon waking
And STILL after having over a months nights worth of data, and knowing CLEARLY that it is one of the highest return on time investment activities that I could possibly fit into my day, every night I prepare for bed and I don’t feel like meditating and often I skip it and try to go straight to sleep! It’s ridiculous!
Over the past week however, I am starting to notice that I am actually meditating more nights than I am not. Things are changing and the meditation frequency is improving. As the evidence stacks up I cant ignore the results. The habit is forming.
What meditation techniques am I using?
- I set the timer 5 – 10 minutes
- sit upright in a comfortable position on my bed with a meditation pillow under my but. This helps to tilt my pelvis forward so I can sit more upright and with less effort and engagement in the back muscles so I don’t feel physical pain.
- I try to focus my attention on the tip of the nostrils and feel the sensations occurring there.
- Every time my mind wanders I bring my attention back to trying to feel the tip of my nostrils with as much detail and sensitivity as possible.
- I also always practice compassion and kindness towards myself when I realize I have drifted away. Its no good to berate yourself when you realize you have become distracted as it creates tension and is unhelpful to focusing a kind loving awareness.
That’s about it. And for me it works.
Sometimes I might use a breathing technique called Nadi Shodana or alternate nostril breathing.
If you want some more detailed instructions and discussions on how I meditate or Nadi Shodana I will be happy to write that up in another post. Over the years I have learned a load of good tips. If that post does not exist yet and you want to know now, leave me a comment stating so and I will bump it up the priority list.
Give it a go and tell me if it works for you 🙂