Meditation 101: The Surprising Path to a Competitive Advantage
Whether your arena of competition is the arts, sports, business, or politics, there are countless ways to gain an edge on whatever you’re up against. One that probably doesn’t pop to mind right away, though, is transcendental meditation. But the benefits of this practice are not only helpful for navigating the bustle of modern life — they can also be applied to any challenging venture where mindfulness, stress relief, and overall cognitive rejuvenation are crucial. Which is, well… pretty much all of them!
Cutting the Cord (Why It’s Important)
It’s no secret: Modern life is noisy. There’s the endless clamor of expectation. The static of relentless pitches for our time and dollars. The screaming ideologies demanding our allegiance. All this and more, blasting us daily, with no end in sight. And smack dab in the middle of that wall of noise is a giant three-pronged outlet that we voluntarily plug our soul and self into every day.
So how do we yank out that cord? How do we pull that plug, take control of our noise, and turn that control into an advantage? Well, here’s how I did it.
Some years ago, I found myself laid off and subsequently relocating with my wife, two young kids, and our spirited canine from California to Cincinnati, eventually cramming into the home of my pregnant sister-in-law and her family. Stressful! Try as I might to spin this as a “Midwestern homecoming” of sorts, it felt a heck of a lot more like failure.
Looking for a way to turn down the noise (and get out of the house), I headed for the local library. After getting sucked into a YouTube rabbit hole I stumbled upon David Lynch and the work he is doing with TM. And oddly enough, I stumbled across what I was looking for. Appropriately, Lynch’s character in his famed show Twin Peaks is often cranking down his hearing aid to better manage the world’s racket. And David Lynch, it turns out, is deeply into transcendental meditation.
The Mechanics of Meditation
(How It Works)
So… what is it? Transcendental meditation is just what the words suggest — a practice of focused attention that helps you transcend, or rise out of the chaos of the world around you. It helps you unplug from the clutter and noise of modern life, which is a lightning storm of stimuli that taxes our mind and body in ways many don’t realize. Especially in today’s reality.
Think about brain waves like waves on the ocean. When the ocean is calm, you’re having the best day ever. You’re sailing your boat, or drifting with the easy current, or perhaps eating fish tacos on the beach gazing at a stunning sunset. But when that wind starts to pick up, those waves can quickly combine into a storm — thrashing, noisy, wet, violent. With just ten to fifteen minutes of focused meditation, though, you’re able to settle those waves and still the waters. In fact, you would be absolutely amazed at how well it works.
Transcendence with Benefits
(What It does)
Given that description, it probably comes as no surprise that the benefits of transcendental meditation are varied and profound. Your brain activity will relax. Calm will set in. Your body and mind will feel rejuvenated. You’ll be able to think more clearly. Your cognition will improve. And any one of these benefits can have a profoundly positive impact on any aspect of your life, from managing personal relationships to navigating business interests.
There are a few particular ways I’ve found that my meditation practice actually translated into a competitive advantage, setting up my mind and body for greater success that would not have been possible otherwise.
Promoting daily recovery: After a long day of productivity and meetings and grinding away at projects, meditation allows me to quickly decompress and shift gears into "R&R" mode. The recuperation that this shift allows is a critical part of refueling for a successful tomorrow, when I’ll be back at it. In this sense, meditation helps promote sustainability and consistency in my own personal ecosystem – two hallmarks of high achievement.
Providing as-needed rejuvenation: It’s not just day-to-day recovery that meditation can help with, though. It can be applied as a quick “booster shot” at any point during the day. I take 20- to 60-minute meditation "power naps" using a guided meditation track to sink into a restorative state. I find this practice most impactful in the mid-mornings or mid-afternoons when I feel my energy or focus start to drift. It’s a power nap unlike any you've experienced. When I wake up, I’m ready to engage with the next part of the day feeling as refreshed as I did first thing in the morning. It's a powerful self-repair tool and also a great way to break up your day and reset if you have a long list of tasks to accomplish.
- Increasing mental clarity: Being more thoughtful in your decisions, big or small, will allow you to be in better command of your work, your career, and ultimately your life as a whole. As you sink into deep meditation, don't be afraid to challenge yourself with the big questions you are wrestling with. Or, use it to step away and process small challenges in order to address them before they become big ones. In any setting – business, sports, creativity – meditation can help you turn down the ubiquitous static of life and focus on the task at hand.
The Path to a Practice
(How to Get Started)
So, where do you begin? Right here. We’ve created this free hybrid track to share with you today. It’s just one of a great many meditation resources out there, each with a different means of guiding you inward. But unlike those, this is one mp3 you can use to start to build routine into your life. We encourage you to use this track as a starting point for your own journey. Search around and see what else speaks to you, and give it a chance to change your life.
For now, though, download the MP3 to your device of choice. No ap. No email. Turn off your ringer and pause the alerts from Twitter and ESPN and Cat Fancy. Find a quiet place to sit. And just listen. Try to do so in the morning to set your day up for peace and mindfulness. Then, repeat as needed. Just press play and let it guide you along.
Early on your goal should be a few times a week, but ultimately you look to practice this once a day. As I said, don’t be afraid to seek out other teachers and practices…but do it. And watch, over time, as the benefits start to flower up in the different gardens of your life.
So Download the meditation and give it a try — you won’t regret it. And if you have any questions about this practice, my journey, or how it’s impacted our mission and approach here at Sickboat, please feel free to reach out!
For more valuable info, tools, and resources for film directors, videographers, photographers, motion designers, video editors, and creatives - check out the Ultimate List of Filmmaker Resources, Glossary of Essential Film Terms, or all blog posts.
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Sickboat Creative Studios 😷🚤
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