Clean your Teeth, Clean Your Mind

I’m honored to feature this guest post from my friend, fellow entrepreneur, and painter Ann Rea. Ann has built a reputation as a very successful artist, been featured in Fortune magazine and the book Career Renegade. She also helps other artists thrive at her popular blog Artists Who Thrive. When she told me this story, I knew it had to be a part of our Practicing Mindfulness Experiment. Take it away, Ann.

Ann Rea

Ann Rea

About a year ago I was sitting in a yoga class and the instructor made a passing remark, “If you practice daily meditation it will change your life.”

Now I very well know this.  I have studied eastern religion and philosophy, self help galore, and I have done neuro-feedback for the past five years.  This is medically aided meditation.

However, for whatever reason I had not yet committed to a daily practice of meditation.

Why?  Two things.  I had not decided to do it nor had I exercised the discipline.

When I heard the yoga teacher’s remark something shifted.  I recognized the pure truth.  I thought, “What is in my way?”

A standard of twenty minutes of daily meditation seemed like a great idea but within daily pressures of life it seemed impossible to fit in.

One morning I was brushing my teeth with my electronic toothbrush.  It automatically runs for two minutes.  Then it struck me.  If I cared enough to clean my teeth twice a day for two minutes I should care the same, if not more, for cleaning my mind.

So I started my daily mediation practice for two minutes a day.  Who doesn’t have two minutes?  Stay off Facebook, write fewer emails, talk on the phone less, or avoid TV.  I could find two minutes.

I set a gentle timer on my iPhone and I meditated for two minutes each day for one week.  Each week I upped the timer for one more minute.  I made it easy on myself.

Now I maintain a daily sitting meditation practice of eighteen minutes each day and it has changed my life.

The noise in my head can’t rule my emotions or cloud my intellect the way it once did.  I am more grounded, decisive, relaxed, insightful, and focused.

This daily practice has strengthened the discipline that I bring to my painting and my business as a business consultant for creatives.

Two minutes.  Just start with that. It will change your life.

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  1. On first read, I thought, this is perfect: I (actually) love brushing my teeth, I have an electric toothbrush, I spend at least 2 minutes (I’ve been known to go two cycles) and I also have trouble finding 20 minutes in a day. But I thought you meant I was supposed to meditate WHILE brushing my teeth. Kill two birds with one stone, right!?

    Then I thought I have a larger challenge, I don’t really know what it means to meditate. Yes, I could check wiki, but what’s your definition?

    Thanks for posting, Ann!

  2. You’re welcome.

    Multi-tasking would be the opposite of meditating 😉

    Meditating is simply sitting quietly, breathing deeply, and observing one’s thoughts so to quiet the mind.

    Tune in to your consciousness and you’ll discover the chatter that is actually creating your reality.

    You are what you think.

    • Whoa! Love the way you put that.

    • Wow, three little lines that are tough. Ever listen to Car Talk? Here are their “simple” instructions to replace an engine:

      1.) Remove old engine.
      2.) Replace with new engine.

      Easier said than done. I’m looking forward to the meditation challenge, but I can’t seem to get anything done lately unless John makes a challenge of it. 🙂 So, uh, John?

  3. Hi Ann!

    I’ve actually never meditated much until Deepak Chopra posted the 21-day meditation challenge. There have been a few days I’ve missed, but overall it’s been a great experience. It takes only about 15 minutes, but that’s because Deepak does an introduction (helpful for beginners!).

    I definitely agree with your thought above – you are what you think. It’s really amazing all the things you become aware of while meditating. I will be continuing my practice, even after the 21 days because it’s already impacted my life…

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Yes. I am familiar with his challenge. An excellent framework to begin a practice.

    You’re very welcome.

  5. Meditated this morning for the first time in, could be close to … ever. Wow. Kind of like the car wash: just hold on and when you’re out the other end you’ll be sparkly.

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