Would it shock you to learn that at least 80 percent of world-class performers, including top CEOs, athletes, and celebrities, have some form of meditation practice? Yep, That's right. You know I always thought meditation was some “woo-woo" thing that comes from India, and I thought I was smarter than that to even waste my time with that. It turns out I couldn’t be more wrong about it.
Back in 2017, I moved to Ohio State to pursue a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. I was ready to take on the world. But as soon as I landed in Ohio, I realized just how alone I was in this new country. Without my family and friends by my side, the process of adjusting to a foreign environment hit me so hard. And just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, tragedy struck. I lost my father, and the pain of losing a loved one, while being far from home, was almost too much to bear. I turned to YouTube videos to find ways to cope with my pain, and that's when I first heard about meditation. I didn't know much about it, so I didn't even give it a try and instead tried to distract myself from the pain. But I started reading books to explore different methods to calm myself, and that's when I came across "The Code of the Extraordinary Mind" by Vishen Lakhiani. The book resonated with me because Vishen you know, like me, was an immigrant with an engineering background. The book talked about the 6-phase meditation, and I decided to give it a try. It was hard to stick to the routine of doing it every morning, so I realized I needed some accountability and decided to join a meditation club. I found an Art of Living branch on our campus and there, I learned a different form of meditation that involved controlling the flow of breath, which I found to be very powerful. With the help of the group's accountability, I've been meditating for more than 4 years now. And I can tell you that in these 4 years, rarely a day has passed that I haven’t done my meditation and it has made a significant impact on my life. Nowadays I don’t start my day without meditation, and you know what? Out of all the habits I've tried to improve my life, and I have done a lot, meditation has definitely been the most effective one.
After losing my father, I was able to find a sense of peace and calmness through meditation. It gave me the mental strength to get through the tough times and move forward. And as I continued to meditate, I noticed that the things that used to bother me before, just don’t have that much of an effect on me anymore. I am less sensitive to people’s judgments and comments, and I can now sleep like a baby at night. Also, I used to be a very anxious person and it affected my life a lot. However after I started meditating, I noticed a significant improvement in my mental health. Meditation has also helped me become more compassionate and empathetic toward others. As I became more mindful of my thoughts and actions, I started to see things from other people's perspectives, and this helped me develop deeper connections with people. I am now more open-minded and accepting of others, and this has had a positive impact on my personal and professional relationships. Also, as a Ph.D. student, I used to struggle with staying focused and being productive. However after I started meditating regularly, I noticed a significant improvement in my ability to concentrate and get things done.
But it’s not just my experience, scientific research has also found some amazing benefits of meditation. For example, a recent study showed that people who meditate regularly have a thicker prefrontal cortex in their brain, which is responsible for attention, decision-making, and personality development. Another study found that even just 8 weeks of meditation can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression by 50%! Other studies confirm that meditation can lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, boost the immune system, and even reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Studies have also found that regular meditation practice can increase emotional regulation and enhance feelings of well-being and happiness. These are just a couple of scientific examples of the many benefits that meditation can provide. As someone who practices meditation myself, I can assure you that these benefits are real. So why not try it out and experience the benefits for yourself?
Now, I'm not here to give you specific instructions on how to meditate because there are many different methods available, and what works for one person might not work for another. However, what I do want to emphasize is that meditation is a common practice among successful people, and they often recommend it to others. So, my advice to you is to not dismiss it easily and consider giving it a try.
To help you get started with meditation and stay committed to it, I suggest looking for a meditation group in your area and joining it. Trust me, taking that first step is often the hardest part. If you're not sure which club to join, I recommend checking out the Art of Living Club. They offer a program called the Happiness Retreat, which I believe is a great way to start your meditation journey. I will put the link in the description. Once you've developed a regular meditation practice and experienced the calming and peaceful benefits it brings, you'll be motivated to continue and make it a part of your daily routine.
So, it's clear that meditation is not just some “woo-woo" practice that's only popular in the East. As someone who used to think that meditation was a waste of time, I can say from personal experience that this practice can have a profound impact on your life. In fact, it might even be the one habit that completely transforms your life, just like it did for me. I strongly encourage you to try meditating. The benefits are real, and you might be surprised by how much it can change your life. To get started, find a meditation club you can join and start practicing today.