No matter what awaits you, there is no better preparation than a calm mind.
A calm mind gives you an internal stillness from which you can more effectively address life’s challenging situations from.
A calm mind gives you confidence to handle whatever happens to unfold. With an undistracted mind, your awareness blossoms. You are alert but relaxed, and you become quick to respond to whatever the moment demands. Your mental acuity and physical agility are at their peak. You’re more creative. You’re able to connect seemingly random dots and problem solve much easier.
You’re able to conquer fears that would otherwise paralyze you. When your mind is calm, your entire sense of being is calm. Resistance fades away, and the world listens.
It’s in your habitual nature to over-think and worry about the future, but doing so only makes you feel restless and stressed. Unfortunately the solution isn’t as simple as just telling yourself to be calm. When your mind is spinning in a torrent of out-of-control thoughts, it’s incredibly difficult to quieten the storm of emotions. It requires practice.
Calming the mind is a skill that must be developed bit by bit, just as you would any other skill. The practice to achieve this calm we seek is through meditation.
There’s countless resources online for beginners, but for someone who’s never meditated before the easiest place to begin is with a “guided meditation”, a recording with step-by-step instruction. I found some fantastic guides on Tara Brach's website here, as well as a couple from Jon Kabat-Zinn here and here — both of whom are fantastic, trusted meditation teachers.
I was stubborn and resisted meditation for many years, even though I knew of its profound benefits, on both the body and mind. I could never “find the time” and I always had an excuse, with "maybe tomorrow” being the most popular of them all. But once I did finally begin with a daily meditation practice, the benefits were both immediate and profound.
At first, it will probably take some considerable mental effort to get your butt onto the floor each day, but unlike going to the gym or attending a yoga class, you can begin meditating with as little as ten minutes.
A meditation practice gives you space to think clearly. It drains your stress away. It teaches you patience, tolerance and willpower. You learn how to effectively deal with distracting thoughts that try to pull you away from the one thing that matters most — the present moment.