I’d heard so much about the benefits of meditation, ever since I started my journey in martial arts, many moons ago.
My martial arts career started 2 years before I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey and I have been interchanging ideas and gaining inspiration from both disciplines over the last forty years.
My first venture into the world of meditation did not go according to plan, however — being taken out of my trance-like state by the smell of burning and smoke, really taught me that I should approach this practice a little more carefully!
Inspired by my latest discussion about meditation some thirty years ago, I sat up on my bed and prepared to stare at the lighted candle placed carefully (or so I thought) on the dressing table located under the window of the bedroom of my apartment in South London, here in the UK.
You can guess what happens next!
Thankfully, my senses were working overtime and alerted me to the smell of burning paper after the candle had tipped over and set alight some paper that was on the table…I must have entered some form of “lost” moment because the flames had started to gain some serious momentum.
But all ended well as I threw a glass of water that was luckily sitting on my bedside table and that marked the start of my journey into the world of meditation.
If you know me, you will understand that I like to keep things simple…and real.
I have no time for unnecessary complexity or dealing with people who are looking to mystify something to gain attention…or money.
So let me give you my views on meditation — an extremely beneficial practice that I think has been more and more overcomplicated, as it gains immense traction in an ever stress-increasing world!
What Is The Definition Of Mediation?
You can really go to town on this one and I will let you perform the google searches to keep you entertained, amused, and mostly confused.
I’ve had some very recent and insightful conversations with a guy called Manvir Dhinse and we were discussing meditation in great detail.
Manvir wants to help entrepreneurs and everyone, in fact, to manage and overcome the stresses and challenges of business and day-to-day life, before they lead to burnout.
He is passionate about emotional wellbeing and mental health but he is also one of the few people I have met who can simplify and relate what he is doing into your day-to-day life…in practical terms.
Manvir “gets it.”
To me at least!
Meditation: Gaining control of your thoughts and emotions.
That was a neat little definition that I put to Manvir who told me that it resonated with him immediately.
Not that I can claim the credit for the phrase, by the way, that was explained to me when I began my journey in Russian martial arts, nearly twenty years ago.
Having been through the mysticism and structured learning techniques of Eastern martial arts and philosophies, my venture into the world of the Russian arts was a welcome change.
Gone was the hierarchial environment where you had to be a high-ranking black belt to sit at the dinner table of the chief instructor — I was now staying at his house, with a small group of people and all of us were eager to learn.
Many discussions were had at the dinner table and the subject of meditation came up and it was explained to me that in essence, we are always meditating…in some way…just by living our normal, everyday lives.
And…we all need to gain control of our emotions and thoughts, for the sake of our overall health, wellbeing and to help us achieve our purpose in life.
To give you a simple perspective of the philosophy of Russian martial arts and how they differ from others, it was explained to me that many martial art styles practice the art of breaking boards and bricks to demonstrate power, focus, speed, and strength.
“Why break perfectly good wood and bricks that you could use to build something?”
Was the considered response from our chief instructor!
Makes perfect sense to me.
Benefits Of Meditation
For me, one of the key benefits of meditation is to help you develop a powerful mind.
I have written an in-depth article about how to develop a powerful mind and you can read it here.
Thankfully today, the scientific community is starting to buy into the concept of meditation and the numerous benefits it offers.
Here is an article from Healthline, highlighting 12 Science-based benefits of meditation and I am glad that the scientific community is taking note.
Another study at Yale University found that mindfulness meditation decreased the activity in the brain’s default mode network (DMN).
This is the brain network responsible for the wandering mind and self-referential thoughts – aka, “monkey mind.”
It explains that the DMN is “on” or active when we are not thinking about anything in particular when our minds are just wandering from thought to thought.
And since mind-wandering is associated with being less happy, you can see the benefit of “dialing it down.”
But for me, I come back to the definition when it comes down to the main benefit — you must be able to control your emotions and thoughts.
Taking what I describe as the two powerful and controlling emotions of love and fear, meditation allows you to maintain a balance.
You cannot eliminate fear, in my opinion, but you can learn to control and use it — what can I say about love that you don’t already know, other than to enjoy and give more of it?
Your thoughts control your actions and you only have to look at the actions of some people to understand precisely what not to do, just as well as what to do more of.
Balancing your emotions and being more purposeful does not have a downside and meditation is a powerful tool to help you do just that.
How Do You Meditate
My friend, fellow entrepreneur, and business partner Danny Kelman makes sure to set aside time to meditate every day.
My friend and Internet entrepreneur Fernando Raymond does the same and makes sure to tell me to keep up my own practice.
My friend and fellow martial artist Chris Ray Chappell taught me the art of standing meditation from the Chinese internal martial arts, which has allowed me to strengthen my left hip, which was seriously damaged in my early martial arts career.
Six years ago I used to walk with a cane and thanks to Chris, I no longer need it.
And of course, there is Manvir Dhinse, who has some very exciting things coming up in the future.
I could have linked you to a ton of celebrities, as would be usual in articles like this…but I like to use examples of real people and where I know what they do works.
So let’s answer the million-dollar question and I am going to talk from my perspective here and give you something easy and simple to follow, that will give you an almost immediate method of gaining the necessary controls I have talked about earlier.
If you want to take things further, then talk to Manvir and Chris as they do this full-time and will give you a practical program that is easy to apply, and yields great results.
A Simple Way To Meditate
I HAVE TO SAY THIS ABOUT ANY EXERCISE I RECOMMEND AND THAT IS TO CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR PRIMARY HEALTHCARE PHYSICIAN OR NURSE BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE OR PROGRAM.
This is a breathing exercise that will serve to calm you and focus your thoughts.
The breathing technique here is not really important, but if you understand how to “belly breathe” then it will help.
Lay down on the floor and close your eyes — you want to feel “heavy” and allow your weight to drop and imagine you are falling through the floor.
Now you need to focus on your breathing and simply concentrate on breathing in and out slowly and deeply and do so for a few minutes, staying calm and relaxed.
Next, you bring in your mind — take a body part such as your legs and simply focus your attention on your legs or “put your mind into your legs,” as it was explained to me!
The next part is a little more tricky as you need to pause your breath for a few seconds after exhaling deeply and the goal is to feel your heartbeat or pulse in the body part you are focussing on.
In this example you will feel your pulse in your legs but don’t panic if you can’t…it can take time and you have to learn to relax.
Please be very careful and don’t force anything.
Make sure that you stop immediately if you feel dizzy or faint — this can happen with deep breathing exercises if you are not used to doing them, so please be careful and only do this at first while lying down.
The benefits of this exercise are enormous — you will feel both refreshed and relaxed, ready to go and do whatever you choose to do, with a purpose and even if it is to go to bed and sleep.
More importantly, you are learning to connect your mind with your body and with the sense of real feedback — your pulse provides exactly that when you can relax enough to feel it.
In Russia, they explained to me that the technique is used for healing, and with a severely damaged left hip that was ready for replacing, I put the technique to use immediately and with great results as I was able to train and perform movements that I could not perform before.
In fact, I credit that technique, with a few other exercises and the standing meditation from Chris Chappell as the reason I have been able to hold off my hip replacement for twenty years, despite the efforts of orthopedic surgeons in to convince me otherwise!
Give it a try!
We are living in an ever-increasing world of uncertainty and volatility, which is stressing the human mind in more ways than ever before.
While stress is good — you need a stress factor to strengthen, just like when you stress a muscle when you exercise, it grows back stronger.
But like everything, too much becomes toxic, so stress in itself needs to be managed and nurtured…carefully.
Meditation is an extremely powerful practice that comes with many benefits and we are only really scratching the surface of the real power of the human mind.
But, like anything else, it is easy to surround the practice with “smoke and mirrors,” which only serve to add layers of complexity and mysticism.
You are meditating every day and in ways that you probably don’t even think about, but there are numerous and scientifically proven benefits to setting aside some regular time to practice.
Good luck on your journey, whatever you do and if you want to discuss this in more detail, then please get in touch!
Last modified: February 2, 2022