The Compound Effect of Meditation

I experienced the compound effect of meditation a couple of months ago. Once in a while, this type of experience will creep up on me.

I was on a road trip headed out of state. Being in the car for a long period of time creates certain environmental stimuli that normally trigger some anxious feelings. It has taken me years to recognize these as deeper feelings associated with impulsive or addictive behaviors in the past.

In any case, while I was driving along I had a sudden realization. Instead of the presence of anxiety, there was nothing. There was a feeling of emptiness and I literally felt lighter.

This might sound incredibly simple, but it was a profound experience. There was a sense of peace, and I knew that I had let something go for good.

This isn’t the only time something like this has happened, and I can’t help but attribute these experiences to the practice of hundreds of hours of meditation over many years.

What is the compound effect?

Compound interest explains how you can make a massive amount of money by investing a very small amount of money consistently over a long period of time.

The compound effect is what happens when you apply the process to any small decision in your life. Whether it’s cooking one more healthy meal per week, or meditating for five minutes per day, the effect of this action applied over a long period of time will produce RADICAL results.

I’m not talking about in 10 years, either. Seemingly insignificant decisions made every day over the course of a year are almost guaranteed to have a massive impact. Up the ante and you could see similar results in 3-6 months.

Unfortunately, it’s incredibly easy to forget about the power of the compound effect and stop following through right at the tipping point of our journey.

3 Things to Remember About the Compound Effect

When you think about starting a meditation practice or creating any new habit, it’s important to remember how the compound effect works. This will enable you to stick with anything, even if it feels utterly useless. Here’s what you need to remember…

1. You won’t know it’s working.

Until it already has. Chances are you won’t see the effects right away, or even for some time. If you can remain patient (especially in the very beginning), you will eventually experience the positive benefits along with a boost of motivation! You will start to understand how that one little commitment was changing you all along.

Applied to meditation: If you’re brand new to meditation, the chances are great that you will experience some immediate benefits. However, chances are you will soon run into a period or phase where it becomes harder to sit, your mind races faster, and you begin to really question why you’re carving out all this time to sit still. It will feel like it’s not working. More and more thoughts will come up that tell you what you should be doing, what you shouldn’t be doing, why this is a waste of time, and what you need to change.

Remember: Letting these thoughts surface is the work of meditation! Your mind is just being sneaky AF.

2. Less effort is better.

The compound effect doesn’t care how complex your system is for achieving your goals. All it cares about is that you do something on a consistent basis. Don’t sabotage yourself by attempting something you don’t even want to do. Start with an action that is SO easy you think to yourself, “How could I NOT do this every day?”

Applied to meditation: It’s easy to believe that 5 minutes of meditation won’t make a difference. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Something as simple as taking 3 deep breaths multiple times per day can have profound effects. At the end of the day, the most important factor is consistency.

3. Narrow your focus.

One small change in habits will carry over into everything you do. You might not have any idea how, but it will. Trust that you don’t need 10 different strategies. You need a commitment to yourself, that you keep.

Applied to meditation: Forget about other habits as you begin a meditation practice. Don’t worry about the different techniques. The best part about meditation is that if you keep showing up, you can’t really screw it up! Increasing your awareness of thoughts and feelings will have a direct impact on everything you do. As you become more conscious of the decisions you make, you automatically start to make better decisions in every area of your life.

Conclusion

When you make a commitment to a consistent meditation practice you are literally restoring your mental and physical health. The beautiful part about it is, there is no requirement to DO anything. You can just relax. You don’t have to change anything because your mind tells you that you should. When the time comes to change, you will just change – as long as you commit to giving yourself the time and space to let change happen.

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