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Ten minutes a day to a happy state of mind

It's time for my annual appraisal. I wonder how much my bonus will be. I don't really care about the actual amount itself, I just want it to be more than what most others get in the company. Why just most others? Why not more than everyone else in the company? Maybe there are a couple of people that deserve to be paid more than me. But who are they? Is it A? Nah, I'm definitely better than him. Could it be B? Definitely not. I've had a lot more impact than her. But she has better visibility in the company. But that's unfair for someone to get a higher bonus just because they have more visibility even though I've had better impact. If that is indeed the case, then I'll be disappointed. Maybe I should figure out how to gain more visibility. Maybe I should talk more about the things I do. But I don't like talking about the things I do, they should speak for themselves. Ah, screw it, I'll think about it when I find out my bonus. No point thinking about it now.

That guy that performed at Boom Chicago last night has only been doing standup for two months. And he's already landed a gig at a famous place! My first gig is coming up soon. Will I be able to match what he has achieved in two months? Maybe I will. After all, his jokes weren't all that great. But his delivery was impeccable. Maybe I should work more on my delivery. I should record my performance and watch it again to learn from it. Or maybe I should just perform in front of a mirror. Isn't that weird? Performing in front of a mirror? Who does that? I've never done that before. Why start now? 

I'm spending too much time on Instagram. Maybe I should uninstall the app from my phone. How come all these people are having so much fun and putting up such amazing pictures? Why don't I look good like them when I click my own pictures? Why can't I click such good pictures? Maybe they're just using filters? Should I be going out more? But I enjoy the time I spend at home reading. I actually enjoy it less when I go out sometimes. But if I don't go out, how will I make friends? Maybe I should go out even if it isn't all that fun. Maybe I'll eventually come to like it. Or maybe it'll all be a total waste of time and money. 

This is what a typical meditation session looks like.

Meditation isn't emptying the mind of all thoughts. Nor is it sitting down and chanting something. Nor is it forcing our mind to think about something specific.

Meditation is simply like any other time of the day when our heads are full of thoughts that span a variety of topics. The only difference being that, while meditating, we ought to observe these thoughts from a detached and curious perspective.

Meditation is when we split our mind in two - one, a patient that pays by the hour and talks about their life and the good and bad things they are experiencing. And two, a therapist who sits and listens patiently, observing, drawing patterns, adding curious questions to help the flow, not judging, never judging, never suggesting or telling what needs to be done, but simply listening.

The detached observation of our thoughts brings up interesting questions - why do I want to have the highest bonus? What is the issue with not achieving the same level of success as the other rookie comedian? Why do the Instagram pictures of someone draw up comparisons with myself?

And over time, like with a therapist, the part of the mind that generates this constant flow of thoughts will eventually start to address the curious questions that are being generated through a detached observation. And this, over time, leads to a better understanding of the self and higher confidence.

Now, these thoughts needn't be personal at all - why do we consider all humans as equal? Why is democracy the best form of organization we have? Why do some people fail to reach the same conclusions as others when presented with the same facts? What is the purpose of life?

And when they aren't personal, the results we reach over time can be like what the Buddha reached - which we call enlightenment.

But that is the ultimate step.

We all start off with thoughts that are strictly in the personal realm. And by sitting down and meditating on them (i.e. observing them with detachment and asking curious questions), we tend to take a wider perspective as opposed to one that is narrow and centered on us and our ego.

And this is how meditation leads to a happier state of mind, and eventually enlightenment. 

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