Thanks to Chase, Bill, and Andy, I Finally Started Meditating

A few years ago, serendipity led to having a former student, Chase, visit my classroom to give a talk and a demo on meditation. You can read about that wonderful visit, including unfiltered student feedback, by clicking here.

Ever since then, I’ve wanted to get in the habit of meditating, but it never seemed to stick. And that was despite Chase coming back to my classes for the next three years. Sad to say, those annual visits from Chase were the only time I meditated all year.

I know about all the amazing benefits that meditation offers, but for some reason, I wasn’t able to make it a priority. Chase would remind of the saying: “If you don’t have time to meditate for an hour a day, then you should meditate for two hours.”

I’ve even downloaded the Calm and Headspace apps to my phone, but other than listening to a brief intro, I never really used the apps after the initial download.

But somehow, about two weeks ago (perhaps is serendipity at work again), I came across a post Bill Gates had written a couple of years ago about meditation on his blog site, GatesNotes. The title of the post was: Why I’m into meditation. Here’s an excerpt:

(in my 20s) I thought of meditation as a woo-woo thing tied somehow to reincarnation, and I didn’t buy into it.

Lately, though, I’ve gained a much better understanding of meditation. I’m certainly not an expert, but I now meditate two or three times a week, for about 10 minutes each time. Melinda meditates too. Sometimes we sit to meditate together. (We use comfortable chairs; there’s no way I could do the lotus position.)

I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports. For me, it has nothing to do with faith or mysticism. It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.

He then goes on to note how it was Andy Puddicombe, the 46-year-old co-founder and voice of the popular Headspace app, who turned me from skeptic to believer. Prior to finding Headspace, I had read several books about meditation, all of which intimidated me. They made me think that the investment in terms of time and energy was just too high. Headspace made the barrier to entry low enough for me. It’s just 10 minutes a day of listening to Andy’s soothing British accent and trying to stay with him.

I thought to myself, OK. If Bill Gates can find 10 minutes a day to meditate, I’m sure I can as well. And if he uses Headspace, then that’s good enough for me.

So I logged into the app and began taking the introductory course, which consists of ten brief sessions (three-four minutes) of listening to Andy and learning to relax, breathe, and clear your mind. My wife and son have been doing the lessons with me every night as well.

We just finished the introductory course tonight, and I think it was just enough to get me interested to continue with a more formal program that Headspace offers.

So it only took four and a half years, and the advice of Chase, Bill, and Andy, and an app but I think I am ready to make meditation a part of my life. Special thanks to Chase for planting the seed and sticking by your most reluctant student…

Namaste…

*image from Headspace

96 thoughts on “Thanks to Chase, Bill, and Andy, I Finally Started Meditating

  1. nice! like you, I’ve dabbled in it in the past from time to time, but never have really taken it to heart and continue the practice. that’s great that you and your family have begun to make this a regular part of your day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice

    I need to do that more

    But do you ever struggle with negative thoughts coming particularly often to mind when you’re trying to “clear your mind” for meditation?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You will soon find that you crave that quiet time for your thoughts and miss it when you don’t make time. I am happy you have found your starting point and wish you all the best as you discovery the power and benefits of meditation. It is so cool that you have made it a family venture. Namaste, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s great. Stick with it. Keep persisting. Remember, there’s no wrong way to meditate, as long as it involves a little metacognition, or self-observation of your mind. So you don’t even have to be sitting still. You can be doing stuff while setting aside a little bit of your awareness to watch what’s happening in your mind. This is called every-minute meditation, or mindfulness meditation. You can do this kind of meditation throughout your waking hours.

    Don’t worry about your awareness straying from your mind, into daydreams and such. I’ve been at it for 26 years, and this still happens to me often. When you realize it’s happened, just return back to the meditation. It’s the letting go and returning back that keeps your discipline strong.

    The insights you can gain from meditation can be mind-blowing. I think the endeavor is well worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Remember being normal is overrated, wouldn’t you rather be insane? 😉
        But really I did like what you said about meditating every minute, through your waking hours. I feel thats more what I do. Though I do set aside specific time to do it too.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Same here. I try to do a minimum of 15 minutes of formal meditation, with the rest of the day being the every-minute variety.

        I did not know you meditated. I’m under the impression that many Christians are distrustful of this practice.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes, many Christians are distrustful of tbe mysticism associated with it BUT that doesn’t make meditation bad. I focus on God while meditating, for a specific time. I think meditating is being mindful of what you think about. My definition of meditation can be broad , but it matters so much what we dwell on, and I try to focus on good things.That shapes our attitude for the day.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. That’s meditation, in my opinion. Focusing on God, or anything else, helps. When your mind strays away, and you catch it and return it to its focus, that keeps your discipline strong. At least, that’s how I see it.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Did he like it? Zen is a tough discipline, and not for everyone. I cheat at it, so I can tolerate it.

        It comes from Japan, but I think it’s more popular in America. Most Japanese don’t practice Zen.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh no, there’s a million and one different ways to meditate. Some of the more common versions are: Vipassana (insight meditation), Transcendental, Tibetan (of many odd varieties), Pure Land (which comes in many forms, generally involving the chanting of mantras), and some forms of prayer are considered meditation–especially when done with rosary beads.

        But I’ve only scratched the surface.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh dear, don’t do that for then you remind me of a Dr I worked for. He practiced meditation, burned incense every day when he did it and he probably chamted Om…..!
        The problem? He had a habit of being late to work every morning. BUT that didn’t stop him from meditating. He would spend a half hour to an hour meditating before he saw patients. Left it to us to deal with the angry patients waiting impatiently in the waiting room. We were under strict orders to not disturb him No matter what while he was “meditating” . We only were supposed to get him if there was a fire!

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Damn, you’d think with all that meditating, it would have occurred to him just how much he was inconveniencing his patients.

        How aggravating for you, trying to placate a bunch of angry patients.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Yes, way too stressful! There were weeks we wouldn’t get paid on time either, for he had just been too lazy to write out our checks! He charmed the ladies with his looks thats how he kept his patients.

        Liked by 2 people

      10. I know our basketball coach at Nova, Jay Wright, uses the phrase “Be Here Now” with his players, to get them to focus on the present, and forget about what just happened. Sounds similar…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. wow – it’s great to know that you have been at it for so long. Now I know who else I can ask questions! The lessons I took did involve trying to focus on your breathing, and then letting your mind drift, and then coming back to your breathing. It sounds like that is a key skill to learn!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Breath meditation is one of the most basic and ancient forms of meditation.

        Returning to the breath is kind of a skill, but don’t beat yourself up much for failing miserably at it, over and over. After 26 years, I often have sessions when my mind is all over the place, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop it. Meditation is a tricky little monkey that sometimes behaves very serenely and saintly, and other times gets into all kinds of mischief.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. That’s pretty awesome! I too thought that meditation was woo-woo until I actually sustained a daily practice. It’s not life-changing, to be sure, but it does allow you to get more closely acquainted with your mind. Wishing you the best on your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

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