Over the years, I have been fortunate to have many mentors and experiences, all of which in some way or another continue to bring me to the path of increased health and wellness. Always fairly healthy and active, I took advantage of my youth and my good health by eating what I wanted when I wanted, drinking whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, working hard and playing hard. “I’ll sleep when I am dead” was a badge of honor. Then one day, I sat in my living room with the goal of sitting in silence on a cushion for a total of two whole minutes with just my thoughts. It was not easy (relatively speaking). But, I told myself that I was going to do it for 21 days and see how it goes. Sure enough the next day I sat for 3 minutes and the following day for 5 minutes. Before I knew it, I was sitting for 10 and 15 minutes every day, first thing in the morning and I had thoughts pass my mind in and out. Buses driving on the street, cars honking, dogs barking, nothing got to me and I was hooked. For over 11 years now, I try to meditate daily. Not every day, sometimes I don’t get a chance to do so or I don’t make the time. Somedays, I squeeze one in on a taxi ride instead of checking my phone or while putting one of my kids to sleep. Without fail, meditating has been the practice I have cultivated over the years with the highest leverage for positive change in my life. Whatever else I have been able to accomplish, surrender to or create has been improved by my meditations.
While meditation has surely improved my life and specifically my mental health, it has opened a portal to other areas of wellness which I did not see before. Sleep. Diet. Exercise. Gratitude. Love, Creativity. All of it has been magnified by my meditations. My whole way of life has shifted from one of dullness to one of awareness. Without knowing why, I changed my diet. I decided to run a marathon, even though I hated running. I started to prioritize sleep. I started writing letters of gratitude to people. I loved more. I did not look to modern medicine to solve every non-urgent problem. I looked inward.
When I would tell people about my new found health and vitality and they would inquire about my routines and my habits, I couldn’t cover it all in a short answer, I told them that I just started taking my meds. They laughed, scratched their heads but would always ask me to elaborate. I would say, “you know, M.E.D.S. Meditation. Diet. Exercise. Sleep.” Eventually they got it and their laughs were now deep and real because now they knew. Each one of these pillars of health has become a point of deep knowledge on my part and I relish any new awareness I receive in connection with them. By keeping this simple concept in mind, everything else seems to fall in place, even when things are falling apart. The best part about any one of them is that they are free and easy and their effect is profound making the return on investment, infinite.