Why does anyone do what they do? Curiosity is one driving force. Another force comes from beliefs. Beliefs form thoughts which inspire action.
Among other beliefs shared with me while growing up, I believed in actualizing my potential. Among other influences, this was impressed upon me by my parents and a special athletic group known as Sokol.
Formally known as the American Sokol Organization, I belonged to this gymnastics group for almost all of my life as a child. Sokol has the philosophy of a “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body.” Beyond the philosophy, it felt like a good idea. I never regretted attempting to actualize my potential.
While pursuing this continuous quest, I noticed that martial arts had a similar flavor of one being the best they can be. On top of that, the martial artists were doing something new and curious to me. They were meditating!
Based on my Sokol training, I knew that a healthy body wasn’t enough. Yet, how can one strengthen and actualize the mind? Being a kid and seeing meditating also happening in Star Wars, this meditation thing had to be explored! I went to the library and learned what I could.
To make a long story short, I was exposed to the basic techniques and many beliefs that came with my introduction to meditation. I meditated for many years. Over time, I shed myself of the beliefs which did not serve well. For awhile, I even stopped meditating since I wasn’t certain meditation was backed by science.
Just a few years ago, I came across some scientific proof that meditation yields a better brain. In short, increased focus and the ability to respond as opposed to blindly reacting to my emotions was something I gained. Now there was scientific proof from multiple sources too.
The question that remained for me was whether or not I was doing meditation well. I learned from some meditation iPhone apps that this is a common question. The simple answer is that one should just try their best and yet not focus “too hard.” What is especially important is to make meditation into a daily habit.
From what I learned from Nir Eyal and his excellent Hooked book, forming a habit is a well understood thing. For me, I came to understand that no matter what I will meditate daily even if it is for two minutes no matter how silly it felt. The daily repetition helped make it stick even in my most busy times.
Good luck with your own quest for excellence!