What exactly is meditation, and what are its benefits? In this episode, James and Phoebe are joined by Chris von der Mehden to discuss how meditation can not only improve a person’s health, but also have a significant impact on one’s business.
There are many studies that prove the benefits of practicing meditation, including ones that show:
- People that meditate have better preserved brains than non-meditators
- Reduced activity of the “monkey mind”, or little voice(s) in our head
- Positive effects for people with depression
- Meditation actually changes the structure of the brain, which can improve learning and memory
- Increased concentration and attention span
- A reduction in anxiety, specifically social anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Reduced blood pressure
To Chris von der Mehden, meditation in its simplest form is about becoming present.
“For me, the real benefit and the reason why I meditate is to really just become who deep down I want to be”
Previously, Chris found himself in a place of emotional turmoil and didn’t know his purpose in life. He started to explore spirituality, and he says that meditation automatically showed up.
The first time he meditated, he says he just let his “emotional garbage” out and for the first time in his life, his brain was quiet. He believes that the ability to meditate and connect with something higher is already built into all of us.
“I realized there was a much more real experience of a spiritual life”
He believes the first step in starting to meditate is to find your “Why”, then go deeper and ask yourself more questions as to why you want to meditate.
For Chris, the reason to meditate was to help people.
“Once you have that clarity, that becomes your highest vision of yourself in that moment”
He adds that by determining your reason for practicing meditation, it will give you a destination, and the intention to get to that place.
The next step that Chris recommends is once you get through a meditation session, spend the next hour or two living from that space you achieved by meditating. For him, he writes or works on a course.
“The real goal of meditating is to live life from that place of being”
For James, meditation is the “work before the work” of creation as an entrepreneur.
Chris says that in some ways, meditation is a way of returning to your childhood and a place of freedom.
The “monkey mind” is a little voice that appears to distract you and tell you little stories. When you meditate, the mind gets quiet and you get to feel emotions.
“Every time (an emotion) comes up and you feel it and let it go, those are just the golden moments”
He says you need to give yourself permission to feel emotions such as nervousness, as a resisting them can actually make them worse.
Chris recommends that you have a thought, observe that you have it, and enjoy yourself having the thought. When you enjoy something, the mind automatically goes away.
A half an hour is a great time to start with during a sitting meditation, but if you’re not able to do this, even going for a short walk, to enjoy everything you see, is a good start. Chris does one seated meditation a day, but goes to a state of enjoyment as much as he can throughout the day.
“Practicing enjoyment; that’s where you get all the benefits of meditation and the problems disappear”
He notes that the more present you become, the more powerful you become.
James’ routine is 10 to 15 minutes of meditating as soon as he gets up, and then once or twice more during the day. This helps him not be as reactive to things that happen and allows him to look at issues instead as creative opportunities.
He says that business is all about solving problems, and that staying open to a solution and looking for the opportunity in it will allow us to be more effective.
When you learn how to meditate and be in the state of enjoyment, it is possible to bring that to another person. In fact, meditation can be more effective in a group setting.
“It becomes this feedback effect where you’re basically just enlightening each other”