5 Ways to Meditate When Your Mind Is Always Racing
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Like many entrepreneurs, my journey to meditation came through suffering. While in a friend's garden, I had been going through some relationship challenges and I started to have a panic attack. The sun was shining and I was lying on the floor in the fetal position with no idea what was going on. I just wanted it to end.
When someone recommended meditation to me I can remember my mind would drop in and say things like "this is a load of woo woo rubbish."
Yep, I was picturing someone under a tree. But pain forced me to get over my judgment of people under trees.
So then I discovered a couple of apps like Calm and Headspace and they helped me, but when meditating I found that I was stuck within a certain time period, around the 10-20 minute mark. My mind would come in and say things like "it's time to get to work," and I wouldn't understand why I was still having weird, racing thoughts.
Most of all, though, when I closed my eyes to sit with myself, it started to bring up all of the things in my life that I didn't want to admit were wrong or that I needed to face, so I would exit the meditation and go back to distracting myself.
A cycle began with me questioning whether I was doing it right, and so I would stop. This went on for quite some time until I took a trip to India where I was forced into meditation immersion and I discovered my true superpowers.
I started to use meditation as a tool — but not just when I was anxious, stressed, or worried.
On this trip, the lightbulbs started to go off because we were forced to stretch ourselves, meditating for longer periods of time. We were taught how to access information and start to reprogram ourselves. The sessions were long and deep but the impact was nothing short of profound.
Why? I started to remove resistance. The more I removed this resistance, the easier my life and business flowed. As I raised my level of self-awareness, I became more focused, managed myself more effectively, and found that the self-sabotage started to fall away.
One of the biggest things meditation did was get me out of my fearful state. Worrying about what others thought, overthinking decisions. I started to just do it instead of procrastinating.
Neuroscience backs up the importance of consistency too. When building a new habit, like meditation, you need an adapting period for the brain, and consequently the whole body. Starting with a short 10-minute session and progressively expanding it helps with the neural adaptation. Your brain needs to process the new habit. After that period, the brain has now created a unique memory pathway, custom-built for a specific habit like performance and focus.
It's just like someone wanting to run a marathon and then training a couple of times a week but never increasing their distance. They aren't going to perform very well on race day.
Focus, which is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs, is largely due to not being in the present moment. Meditation helps you to focus because you've entered a different state of mind and altered your brain waves.
By meditating for longer amounts of time gradually, the brain’s messengers work faster and more efficiently. So, these "messengers’’ grow bigger and communicate faster with the rest of the brain structures.
To put it simpler, bigger connections for the brain is like having an army with more soldiers by your side! That means that you will be able to conquer any personal war, and you will deal with your daily struggles much easier and more efficiently. When we get our focus back on track and get results, we get our power back.
Personally, I started to notice that when I broke through a certain time period, around the 30-minute mark, the voice chatter would go away, I would no longer question what I was doing and I started to enjoy the process. I like to explain it like, this: Imagine bringing up all the sand in the bottom of a fish tank and then it all swirling around. This is what happens when we start meditating. The challenge is that for entrepreneurs there tends to be a compulsive, impatient, erratic need to race and chase. This is the overactive ego (the false self).
Most entrepreneurs are not meditating wrong. If you're closing your eyes (a typical meditation technique) and sitting up straight then you are meditating. The mind is going to race. I've been meditating for over ten years and my mind still does this in the first 10 minutes or so.
If you want to create consistent change that sticks, the key to breaking through to the next level of happiness, flow, focus, confidence, intuition, and creativity is to break through past the 30-minute mark into the full hour.
In addition, I'm not a fan of using one meditation technique over and over again because meditation can be used for so many different areas of our lives and one technique does not allow us to access all of the superpowers that are found from going deeper.
Many of my ideas that have generated millions of dollars came from specific creative meditations that I guided myself through. I've also used meditation to heal myself from addictions like alcohol and drugs. And I've used meditation to make critical decisions in my life that have come from a higher state of conscious awareness.
When we only use meditation to feel good because we are not feeling good, we essentially come back to our standard operating system. But when we go beyond that — when we meditate when we feel good, when we are constantly challenged and stretched beyond what the mind wants us to do — we raise our awareness level so that we feel energy at another level. We just upgraded to the latest, fastest processor, virus-free.
In 2017, I was at a point in my business where I was completely burned out. The business wasn't moving and I was desperate for time off so I took myself away and meditated for 10 hours per day for 10 days straight. When you spend that much time with yourself, you learn a lot about who you are and how much your mind creates stories and limitations from breaking you through to the next level.
This level of deep work created a connection with myself that was nothing short of life-changing. And now when I'm working with my clients, one of the primary goals is to get them to their first hour of mediation during a six-week period to shift their level of performance and happiness. While I often hear the excuse of "I don't have the time," I often ask this question, "Would you rather have a day of efficiency, focus, and happiness, or a day all over the place?"
The ego says "I don't have the time" because it's impatient. For some, rushing towards an early death. Whenever I find myself in the rush, I remember the burnout and the impact of the burnout on the people around me.
Here are five tips to help you get better in your meditation and help you to shift your performance.
1. Go beyond the timer
Becoming emotionally intelligent is something you've most likely heard before but I want to introduce yourself to something called energetically intelligent. This is when you are hyper-aware of when you're in your heart, when there is energy stuck in your body and how to move it and shift it. When we develop what's called 'coherence' between the mind and the heart, we will notice our body shift its energy. This is when the smile comes across our face, our shoulders drop, and the tension releases. The more you meditate, the more you will know when to stay and when to come out of your meditations.
2. Ask yourself questions, get answers
To start to access your own inner guidance system, once you find you're in a relaxed state in meditation, try asking yourself a question about a big challenge you're facing and then let it go. Your subconscious mind is very powerful and often the answer will drop in from nowhere. You will know if it's the answer you need because it will hit you very quickly, with no emotion attached. This is why you most likely get a lot of insights in the shower. Because in the show you let go and drop into the present moment. It's in the present moment that your energetic intelligence is activated.
3. Sit with a journal by your side
One of the biggest comments I get from entrepreneurs is "but I get ideas in my meditations and I come out of it because I need to write them down." First of all, you will most likely remember what to do when you come out of meditation because the idea will be in your awareness, but a little trick you can use is to put a journal by your side when you're meditating. Still keeping your eyes closed and staying in meditation without breaking state, you can write down your ideas and go back to your meditation. Simple and it works as a great alternative to breaking your meditation completely.
4. Meditate before you sleep
If you're someone who struggles with challenges sleeping, dim or shut off your lights and then sit up in bed and close your eyes and meditate or have a chair next to your bed (that's what I do). When you think about trying to get to sleep it's hard to get to sleep, so when you meditate and let go, often your mind and body will relax quicker. Then slip down into your sheets and have a great sleep.
5. Swap coffee breaks for spiritual naps
This is an absolute game-changer. Many times when I've wanted to exercise I've been too tired and so instead of having another coffee that would take me over the eye-twitching edge, I have a spiritual nap which is intended as an energetic reset. I meditate lying down, and then drift off for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Sometimes I don't even fall asleep but the meditation will reset my energy. This is the ultimate focus and energy hack that has changed how I perform on the days when something breaks my sleep pattern, such as travel.
Remember that your most powerful asset is your mind. When we meditate and continue to go inward, we are constantly evolving and growing, because we're connecting with an intelligence that has many of the answers that the conscious mind simply can't reach.