This is the text from a speech I wrote in 2013
I can’t meditate
Let me be more clear
Meditation is impossible. My mind is a mess, it’s too difficult. I fall asleep. It’s boring , I have too many thoughts, it’s not for me.
This is what I hear when I sometimes ask people if they meditate. like the henry ford quote, whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.
On average we have 70,000 thoughts a day. – 3,000/hour or 50 thoughts PER MINUTE
In my last speech, I mentioned the positive effects of Yoga
What I didn’t tell you was that Yoga is a moving meditation
Tonight I’ll talk about my experience with meditation, what medical and scientific studies tell us about meditation, I’ll show you how to meditate while seated, and you’ll feel the effects yourself.
In case you haven’t noticed. we are in a constant state of overstimulation. You’re driving to work listening to a podcast streaming via Bluetooth from your iphone. Your ipad calendar beeps, now you know you need to be in the conference room in 10 minutes. Back to the pod cast. Your phone whistles as a text message comes in. But now back to the pod cast. Did you really comprehend anything during the past few minutes or was your mind wandering about what you’re going to present at the meeting. Did you remember to feed the dog. As Dr. Deepak chopra(co-founder, with Dr. David Simon – a neurologist of the chopra center – advancing the cause of mind body healing and former chief of staff at the New England Memorial hospital in Mass) says, if you’re doing two things you’re doing none. That really resonates with me. Ever been with a friend at lunch, while you’re text messaging another friend. Keep talking you tell the friend in front of you, I’m listening. .No, you’re really not. That’ one reason why I meditate, so I put my full attention into the task at hand. At least I practice this skill. You the listener in my speech have a task, to listen to me. Now let’s be honest, whose mind wandered in the past few minutes to something outside this room, I’m not judging, it’s perfectly human to do this. I do it all the time. Sorry, what was I saying.
So why meditate – helps you focus on the task at hand
My story with meditation
Prior to last year when I thought of mediation, I’d imagine a Buddhist monk sitting atop a mountain in south east asia, skinny, starving with no food, no social skills, detached from society and reality. Unable to join the real world so he resorted himself to sitting atop this mountain. But on the other hand, people like Oprah, Clint Eastwood, Albert Einstein, are or were fans of meditation.
I learned how to meditate last year. I remember the first two classes I went to. I awoke feeling cotton mouthed just as the flute music ended. Was a nice nap. Didn’t need to come here to nap. I’ve since learned
After a few times – I stayed awake throughout. Afterwards, I wondered, was I in a dream. It was surreal. On the drive home in the dark everything was different. Like my reality shifted. Everything was occurring differently to me. The cars were moving slower, but not too slow, headlights were brighter, but not too bright.
Most important to me, my thoughts were clear, and I was listening to them, tuned into my own intuition. As award winning author Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Blink, the more we listen to our intuition, that gut feeling the better we get at it. I wasn’t worrying about nonsense, like worrying that my girlfriend didn’t pass her exam. I wasn’t worrying about my anatomy final. I was thinking clearly, about important things, like what I was going to cook for dinner. I was thinking in the present, and future, and not in the past.
My biggest meditation moment was one day during meditation class I was starting at a Bamboo Plant when it started to move
Lift off the table
I couldn’t believe it!
I was 100% sober, and this plant was moving
I saw it with my very own eyes
At least I think it did. I know what I saw, but did it really lift off the table? I don’t know
Meditation is the practice of bringing your attention back to something, so it this exercise – back to your breath
So let’s try a little experiment. I’m going to lead you through a short easy guided meditation
Sit comfortably in your seat..and when you’re ready, gently close your eyes
Relax your neck
As you breathe in…shoulders
See if you can relax your body 5% more than right now
Relax your arms
Now bring your focus to your breath, and follow your breath from your
If you want, put one or two hands on your heart, or maybe on your stomach.
Time Two Minutes
When you’re ready, open your eyes and just be. Feel what you feel.
I’m confident you’re more present to me at this very moment. Your mind is clearer, your thoughts are clearer. You’re more relaxed. So in addition to how you feel right now, allow me to tell you what studies – clinical scientific studies – have told researchers about meditation:
– Overcome stress (University of Massachusetts Medical School, 2003)
– Boost your creativity (ScienceDaily, 2010)
– Improve your sex life and increase your libido (The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2009)
– Cultivate healthy habits that lead to weight loss (Journal Emotion, 2007)
– Improve digestion and lower blood pressure (Harvard Medical School)
– Decrease your risk of heart attack (The Stroke Journal, 2009)
– Help overcome anxiety, depression, anger and confusion (Psychosomatic Medicine, 2009)
– Decrease perception of pain and improve cognitive processing (Wake Forest University School of Medicine, 2010)
– Increase your focus and attention (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007)
– Increase the size of your most important organ – your brain! (Harvard University Gazette, 2006)
Just yesterday I received an email in my Inbox with the title:
12 Unconventional Habits of Highly Productive People
Number One was meditation
By now I’m sure you’ve heard about all the wonderful health and cognitive benefits meditation offers. But did you know Stanford University researchers consider it the #1 way to boost willpower? Regular meditation increases grey matter in the prefrontal cortex, which governs decision-making. Over time, you’ll greatly improve your ability to avoid distractions and stay focused on the task at hand.
Increase brain matter. Wow.
With what I’ve shown you today, and with the benefits I’ve pointed out. Maybe you’ll want to continue the practice you started today.
There are many ways to meditate, following your breathe, flute sounds, visualizations, counting , either numbers, or mala beads. What we did toay is perfect, there are free videos on youtube, I have a guided one on my website.
Now here’s one secret to meditation I’ve learned. It’s not how long you do it, it’s how often. With only 24 hours in the day, say 8 of them sleeping, leaving 16 waking hours, food, kids, work. It would be difficult to meditate an hour a day. Now remember we meditated for 2 minutes. If you meditate daily for just a few minutes, you’ll see a shift in just a few days.
Now if anyone asks if you’ve mediated before. You can proudly answer yes, that one time in toastmasters. I challenge you, take a few minutes out of each day, we meditated two minutes today. Maybe when you first awake, or before bed, or arrive early for that appointment and relax in your car.
Three weeks ago I sat down to write this speech, actually truth be told I started this speech talking into my phone on the ride home from Toastmasters many weeks ago.
I was inspired, I was in the moment, I was determined to have this speech written
“When the mind is clear – the dream is bright”
When I meditate I feel the goals in my dreams get brighter. It’s easy to do fun things, but I want to leave a legacy. I want to eventually leave this earth with more than memories at a bar.
Last Saturday night I enjoyed two hours at The National Comedy Theater, and though I was on the guest list at two places downtown, one where I knew was playing great music I’d dance all night to, I knew this would only serve as a distraction to what my dream is bright meditation lead me to feel.
I wrote this speech at home on a Saturday night