365 days. Mindfulness of the Breath twice a day for at least 20 minutes. These are the results I’ve experienced. Enjoy.
Keep in mind that meditation is a very personal practice. My benefits may be completely different from yours.
I’ve Developed Self-Awareness.
Before I started meditating, I was completely unconscious about myself. I didn’t know a thing about how emotions and thoughts worked. And because I didn’t understand these things, they were controlling me like a puppet.
Now that I understand much more about emotions and thoughts, I can easily deal with them. I don’t have to automatically give in to every negative emotion, and I can enjoy positive feelings without getting attached to them.
Also, my “background emotion” has changed. Before, it was either uncertainty or anxiety. Now, it’s equanimity and confidence. I became easy-going and acceptive. Things finally began to work out for me. I stopped being bothered by negative thoughts because I had seen the truth about them – they are not me and I don’t have to believe them.
I’ve Dropped All Harmful Habits.
Practicing meditation allowed me to see through the nature of addictions and bad habits. I realized that it’s just an attempt to find happiness within external things, which is impossible since external things are impermanent.
Happiness based upon them cannot be fulfilling because as soon as the thing ceases, our happiness ceases as well. And there is nothing we can do to prevent that. Meditation has showed me that true happiness comes from within, and if I’m serious about living a happy life, I need to focus on what’s going on inside me instead of distracting myself with things that are nothing but a smokescreen of hollow pleasure.
These realizations allowed me to drop a lot of unskillful habits and replace them with things that are beneficial to my mental and emotional health.
I’m Able to Enjoy Life.
Meditation has made me acceptive of many things that I used to hate. Things that normally would make me snap were not frustrating at all. I even began to like some of them. I’ve also noticed a shift in the way I saw my chores. I used to hate cleaning the house, chopping wood or doing the dishes. But now, I’m able to enjoy these activities and do them even better. I’m able to find happiness in everything I do, which for me, is a huge step towards a better life.
I Finally Became Happy.
For the longest time, I was looking for something that would bring about true happiness. But just like the vast majority of people, I failed time after time.
However, practicing meditation completely changed the way I perceived happiness. My whole life, I lived in an assumption that I must look for happiness in the outside world. I thought that I need to be rich, have a girlfriend, a nice car, and an expensive phone in order to be happy.
But as my practice became consistent, I realized that attachment to materialistic things is the very root of human suffering. I’ve learned that one doesn’t need anything to be happy. All that is required is an understanding of that simple fact.
I’d like to hear about your results of meditation. Share with us; how long have you been practicing, and what did you get out of it?
May I ask how you arrived at insight from focusing on your breath? Feels counter-intuitive to me. Were you not doing any introspection? Engaging with your thoughts? Were you reading about Buddhism when you were not meditating? I’ve arrived at similar conclusions by indulging in magic mushrooms a handful of times, without having to spend 40 minutes per day for a year. Not arrogance, just curiosity. I’m learning about Buddhism right now.
Reflecting on this comment that I’ve found on a YouTube video about mindfulness was my catalyst (copied to my desktop for easy access):
“The notion of present moment awareness stems mostly from Buddhist traditions and the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.
You can never not be present, you are always present. The objective is not the denial of the past and future or the denial of everything that isn’t positive. The objective, is not to lose yourself in the past and [future]. You can be present while also preparing for the future and pondering the past. In order to cultivate peace, you have to go beyond pleasurable and painful sensations. We have a culture of seeking out pleasurable sensations and then when we have painful situations, trying to get rid of them as fast as possible, leaving no room to explore experience and no room to explore pain and pleasure in experience. Anything, such as materials, possessions, money, etc, will fail you in this department. So will hobbys, traveling, etc, it’s the same type of seeking.
Peace is an inherent quality in us. Why do we love to sleep? Firstly, we have to sleep for biological reasons lol. However, we also love it, because it’s peaceful. If we put that under a microscope, where is that peace coming from? You could argue it’s a result of processes in the brain and the releasing of “relaxing” chemicals. However, even then, you would still have to agree, that peace is still something natural to us. When you are asleep, you are at peace, you are peaceful. When you are asleep, there are no materials, money, possessions, relationships, etc, there’s just you, sleep, and the peace. There is nothing to “give you” this peace. Therefore from there, we can conclude, that peace is simply a natural quality we possess. This peace only seems to disappear when we wake up, because we’re so accustomed to believing that we’re not already at peace. Peace is different from happiness. Happiness has an opposite, which is sadness. Peace does not have an opposite. How could it? Disturbance is not the opposite of peace, because peace is still present despite whatever is taking place.
When we say “I am depressed” or “I am lonely”, we focus on the depression or loneliness. We never focus on the “I” that is depressed or lonely.
We spend years referring to ourselves as “I”, and we’ve never investigate what this “I” really is. We hear theories, concepts, etc, but we never investigate by way of experience. You have to wonder, how something so important got overlooked.
Depression is felt in the body and seems to be present in our thoughts. However, can your nose be depressed? Can your cheek literally be depressed? Can your stomach be depressed? Can your leg be depressed? Can a thought literally be depressed? You can think depressive thoughts, but a thought itself can not be depressed. Depression is the result of being upset, but it is not that which is upset. This should be intriguing for most. So, if your cheek or nose or leg or breast can not be upset, in other words, the body, and if thought can not be upset and since thought is the nature of the mind and collections of thought are therefore the mind, what is left to be upset? That’s up to you to discover.
I highly recommend researching Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Jiddu Krishnamurti. They provide teachings you can test out for yourself. There is no belief, no fancy woo, they simply give you the tools to investigate your experience. If they spoke it, you can test it out for yourself. You do not need to be spiritually inclined to take away something from these people. Those 3 people also rejected the existence of God, they didn’t believe in a God, they didn’t teach about God(s), and nothing they teach requires faith or God, if that helps my fellow skeptics. The only time they mention religion, is if someone religious asks a question, in which case, they make a compassionate concession to their belief in order to explain their teaching with terms the religious person can understand, but other than that, there is no God in any of their teachings.
As a heavily scientific person, I was skeptic of these men. I thought it would be typical Deepak Chopra nonsense, but I was very wrong. I encourage you to be skeptic of them while keeping an open mind.
Spirituality is not the same as religion. To me, authentic spirituality is the investigation of experience.
Science is behind in this regard. Eventually, science will have to acknowledge the types of people I’ve mentioned above and that will be an incredible day, when science and practical spirituality meet.
Disclaimer: Stay FAR AWAY from “New Age” spirituality. It is nothing but nonsensical pseudo-science, romanticized mysticism, and wrongly misunderstood Eastern concepts.”
Focusing on the breath is like a training for the mind. You develop mindfulness and once you’re somewhat good at it., you apply it to things that you want to investigate. It’s like building a microscope that you use later to look at things. The better job you did at building it, the deeper you can get.