5. Meditate, Mantras, Mindfulness
January is one of my favorite months of the year for so many reasons, in the context of this writing, it is because it is the time of the year that commands newness and new beginnings. We are lit up with merry; with the afterglow and excitements of christmas and the holidays, hopeful that our lists of new year resolutions would survive past mid-January. We are wide-eyed and childlike, staring at the world with renewed beauty and wonders. We make mental lists or notes of things to avoid in the new year that will make us better people, individuals and citizens as we walk into the new beginning with pride and expectancy.
As the month progresses, sometime during the middle of it, all of our enthusiasm and optimism begins to dwindle. All the plans and resolutions begin to fade and we get caught up in our worlds again, somehow we allow our planned design of a better self in the new year slip away. We bid adieu to our dream of self-improvement, see you again next December.
Towards the end of 2015, my Bishop began to share with us the theme for the new year, the theme is ‘Thrive.’ Our mantra for the new year would be to inspire everyday people to thrive daily in christ, win souls and make disciples. Few Sundays before the end of 2015, we began learning how to thrive in the world today and the fundamental principles of our being in relation to thriving. With wide eyes and enthusiasm, I prepared my mind to be expanded beyond its current state. I picked up my pen & pad and I started learning that in other to thrive, one must know how to manage time, money and relationships. The three most important factor to be fruitful and multiply in today’s world.
In other to grow professionally or personally, an individual must prepare to meet new people and network, hence relationships. How the person interact and handle those relationships has a lot to do with the possibility of growing professionally, making new connections, landing a job etc. If the individual then progress further and gets the job or makes the professional and/or personal connections, time management becomes an important factor in long-term growth, gaining trust, demonstrating reliability, dependability and responsibility. To maintain success and lead a fruitful life, one must be able to manage money and cultivate a positive relationship with money.
My Bishop introduced us into the new year with the statement that “the only person that can stop God’s will for your life is you.” The statement reminded me of all the numerous new years resolutions that never came to past. Were the resolutions too ambitious or was the planning/execution inadequate? Were they not practical enough or unattainable? I pondered. All of this knowledge and questions got me fired up for 2016 and I decided that 2016 is the year that my plans for a better self will not die in mid-January. I will set attainable goals and channel my willpower muscles. So, I Prayed about it.
I decided not to make a long list but to make a realistic expectation of myself. My new year resolution was simple, “to seize each day and live it to the fullest with all that comes with it.” How was I going to achieve this? that’s a standardized test question. All I knew on December 31st 2015 was that I was going to implore more mindfulness into my daily life. I will start each day with meditation and or yoga with a mantra that goes in the line of “Love, peace, kindness, goodness, self-control and gentleness. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His Grace. And then, when my day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.”
Few days into the new year, a friend sent me a YouTube Talk by Psychologist Kelly McGonical, author of The Willpower Instinct. The Talk was an answer to my prayer. In the talk, Dr McGonical shared insights about willpower and the important of it. She defined Willpower as the ability to do what matter most and do things that are in line with our goals; the ability to regulate our thoughts and emotions. She divided Willpower into three components: I Wont Power, the ability to resist temptation. I Will Power, the ability to do what one something regardless of its complexity and the I Want Power, the ability to keep one’s goal and values in mind so that when temptation arrives, one can remember the long-term goal and overcome temptation. She explained the role of the prefrontal cortex (region of the brain responsible for our personality, planning, decision-making, self-control and cognitive behavior) plays in willpower and how getting more sleep, reducing stress, physical exercise and meditation can help build up our willpower. Willpower is like a muscle that can be “beefed up”with more breathe-focused meditation, yoga and exercise. Meditating for as little as 5 minutes a day is effective and can help increase the size and efficiency of our prefrontal cortex over time.
For 27 days of January, I have started each day with eucharisteo, 5 minutes meditation, 20 – 30 minutes yoga, prayer and an optimism to seize every part of my day. This meant that I have had to wake up earlier, which has improved my time management ability. I am more optimistic and more mindful about my relationships. As for the money thing, one step at a time :). Starting my day with Meditation has been very beneficial in processing information from the day before and mentally preparing myself for the present day. I have survived the mid-January resolution crash and hope is restored!
I implore you today to add a little meditation to your daily routine and start your day well and I look forward to hearing how meditation has been doing your day a solid!