I’ve been a meditation advocate years…but for reasons you may not expect. While the act of meditating is relaxing in itself, the effects it has had on me, my playing and my daily life are game-changing.
Meditation, in it’s simplest form, is sitting in silence and relaxing your mind and body to bring calm to the chaos that surrounds us. The results are: Lower stress levels, improved cognitive functioning, creative thinking and productivity, and even improved physical health.
How does this tie into your playing?
Well, for me I’ve noticed (side note:I have ZERO scientific proof to back this up) that I am more focused when I’m playing or practicing. I have the ability to “step outside” what I’m working on and move into a “meditative state.” The same is true for me when I’m at the gym.
Case in point: I had been meditating every day for a good 6 months and my focus was through the roof. That was, until I left for a 30-day vacation around the world. I was able to keep my meditation practice up for a few days but eventually I got out of the habit.
When I returned home I tried getting back into my routine but was severely struggling.
The sessions weren’t going well.
My mind was wandering.
I was completely lacking focus.
The shocking part was that when I got into the practice room or the gym, the routines were mentally harder than they had been over the past 6 months.
Fast forward three weeks and my meditation practice started getting back into the groove like it was before my trip. To my surprise, my gym workouts started to become more and more satisfying and my practice routine became more effective and less mentally taxing.
Quick story: I was doing a 90-day workout program that was, for lack of a better word, BRUTAL. By far the hardest workouts I’ve ever done. While I was at the gym I would always FOCUS on how hard the workouts were and how much I didn’t feel like being there.
BUT, as my focus through meditation improved I noticed greater control over my thoughts.
The result: I was able to workout while at the same time focusing on something entirely different, like Drummer’s Resource, my other businesses or what I was planning on doing that night. It’s hard to explain the feeling, but at times I was seemingly “somewhere else” while enduring these brutal workouts. I’d finish and think to myself “that was easy.”
Now, before you write this off and think that meditation is too fluffy for you, let me be clear. I don’t sit indian-style on the floor with my hands in the air as I chant (ummmmmmmmm…..ummmmmmmmmm). I sit on my couch (sometimes I lay) for 10–20 minutes and use an app (Headspace App) that guides me through the process.
If you’re looking for that mental edge, I suggest you try meditation for a few weeks. I’m fairly certain you’ll notice improvements in your concentration, lower stress levels and a better overall sense of awareness and calm.
Don’t have time to meditate?
I’ll leave you with this Zen Proverb:
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then in that case you should sit for an hour.”
I’d love to hear your comments below…
Note: They’re both good. I used Calm for about 2 years and switched to Headspace a year ago.