I’ve been meditating more or less daily for the last few years now. Usually just before I start work for the day, you’ll find me sat on a rug in the master bedroom (which is thankfully quite spacious and lends itself nicely as quiet space in which to contemplate life, the universe and everything – and has the added bonus of being situated directly next door to my office from where I work 100% of my time these days) in a half-lotus position, allowing thoughts to drift across my consciousness like clouds.
Or that’s the aim at least. Sometimes it’s a bit more like a thunderstorm in there. I’ve tended to find it quite difficult to stop my thoughts from spinning in the past, and it’s to this tendency that I attribute most of my occasional problems with insomnia. What I’ve come to realise through time spent meditating is, it’s ok to have the occasional internal thunderstorm taking place. One of the metaphors that’s often used by practitioners is that the mind is like a clear blue sky. The sky is always there, it just gets obscured a bit by the clouds sometimes, and that’s perfectly natural. Difficulty arises when you struggle against the clouds, rather than simply letting them go about their cloudly business while your conciousness observes and occasionally reflects on a specific cloud if there’s a need to do so.
I think meditation has really helped put my thoughts in their proper perspective and, even if it hasn’t completely cured my insomnia, it’s provided me with a toolkit for managing my thought life more effectively, and often surprises me with additional nuggets of insight; self-revelations if you will, that keep me heading towards a more mindful existence.
- I’m thinking about meditation because I listened to this podcast from Tim Ferris and Jack Kornfield earlier in the week and found it quite illuminating. If you happen to listen to the podcast, there’s a guided exercise that Jack takes Tim on quite late on (it’s a 3hr podcast!) that is very similar to a guided mediation on Jack’s site here, that I found useful for exploring difficult situations both at work and at home.
- I had lots of time to listen to podcasts this week on account of travelling to and from Devon for a family funeral. Another one I listened to was Russel Brands interview with Yuval Noah Harari who is also a fan of meditation (2hrs a day he reckons). It’s the first Under the Skin podcast I’ve listened to, so I wouldn’t be prepared to say whether the series itself is any good, but anything with Yuval Noah Hurari is worth a listen IMHO.
- Harari’s book Sapiens would likely be close if not the top of the list of my top ten books ever. Homo Deus is similarly well worth a read, though nowhere near as groundbreaking, in my view, as Sapiens. Looking forward to whatever he’s working on for the future though!
- I’ll be at Assurance Leadership Forum NORTH on Tuesday. Looking forward to meeting with and hearing from testing leadership folk while I’m up there. Mainly in my capacity as a test management tool product owner, I’ll be looking to identify trends, thinking and opportunities to improve the TestRail offering and better serve the testing marketplace.
- Sadly I will not be at the #MidsTest meetup on Wednesday due to a conflicting appointment with some friends and a curry with my name on it.