What Is Your Identity?

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In our modern society we have so many external factors that we use to identify ourselves.  In fact, not only do we use these things to show others who we are but we use them to tell ourselves, falsely, who we are.  These are often things like how big your TV is, what type of phone you carry with you or the clothes you wear.  For me it’s watches and cars.

In the end, you are not your phone or your TV or even your clothes.  Styles and devices often change.  Statistically speaking, you probably wont be driving the same car you are driving today in 10 years.  You may feel a deep sense of identity from that car right now, however. We draw a deep sense of identity from our friends as well.

The grand illusion is that we are not those things.  This was a concept that has taken me a very long time to understand. When you look deep in to your soul and try to understand who you really are then material things start to mean less to your overall identity.

One big problem that I, and most everyone else, have is attachment to these things because I feel they define me.  Meditation is something that has helped me with this.

Ask yourself today, “who am I really?”

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Learning To Meditate – How-To

A Rose

Discovering Meditation

In late 2008 I was working in an IT job.  I worked Monday through Friday, was off by 4pm and had my own desk.  Unfortunately, this type of work just isn’t what I’m passionate for.  I was often stressed out working with someone who was constantly worried about not getting jobs done on time or that the boss wouldn’t be happy.

One particularly stressful day, my co-worker (there were two of us in the IT department) left for lunch in a panic.  Looking back on it, I cannot even tell you what they were so upset about.  My heart was pounding and I was feeling wrecked.  I went online and looked up stress management techniques.  I found a short how-to type website that told me to close my eyes and just try to breathe and think about inhaling and exhaling.  It told me to do this for five minutes.

So I set a timer and for fine minutes I did my best just to think about inhaling and exhaling.  After five minutes I felt like a new man.  I felt like my energy was back and my stress had been released.  I was blown away that I could calm myself down do easily in such a short amount of time.

Developing My Practice

I started, in the next few weeks and months, to research this technique more and more and found that this was meditation.  I had heard about meditation my whole life but had always thought it was just for hippies to sit around and chant “om” and be lazy.  I had no idea what meditation was for or how to do it.

In 2009 I started a new job in a new state and decided to learn how to meditate more effectively.  Meditation would become an on again, off again relationship over the next few years. but when I was diligent in my practice I felt great.  Since my practice has been fairly steady for the past many months, I contribute this practice to my mental well-being that I have been experiencing.

Most Common Concerns

The most common thing I hear people say when I suggest they meditate for stress and anxiety relief is “I don’t know how to do it”, which was my problem years ago.  The second thing I hear is “I’ve tried it and I couldn’t make my mind stop.”  Let me address both of these concerns for you right now and hopefully you can start a practice of your own.

Meditation 101

Here is a step by step how-to guide to meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably somewhere where you wont have many distractions. Background noise shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Start repeating a mantra (a word or sentence that you choose, can be literally anything) in your head over and over.
  4. Focus also on your breathing.
  5. When thoughts pop in your head, think of them being taken away on clouds and go back to steps 3 and 4.
  6. Stop after a few minutes when you start to feel better.

That’s it.  That’s meditation.

But I Can’t Stop My Brain

Meditation is a “practice”.  You don’t “do” meditation, you practice it.  The first time I tried shooting a basketball I missed.  I miss 50-60% of the time still after 30 years.  This doesn’t’ mean I should stop trying to shoot a basketball.  It just means I wont hit the shot every time.  You will have thoughts in your brain that come a lot more often than you wish during your meditation practice.  Just remember step five and practice, practice.  Maybe after many years you’ll be meditating like a monk.  Until then, you will feel the benefits.  I guarantee it.

Be well. Be positive.