“Having a set time for meditation is key; make it as much a part of your daily routine as eating breakfast in the morning, or brushing your teeth before bed.”
Kris Freedain is a passionate father and husband who first began meditating 10 years ago through his interest in Buddhism. How was he able to build the habit and stick to it for so long? Kris’ number one tip for beginners is to prioritize meditation in your life. It’s just as important as any other activity you do to take care of your body: taking a shower, eating a meal, or brushing your teeth. He shared more tips and insights with us in his interview.
Why did you start meditating? What was your goal?
I started meditation a little over a decade ago, when I first became interested in Buddhism. I remember the first time I tried to ‘sit’, during a guided meditation session at Hsi Lai temple in Hacienda Heights. I thought my legs were going to fall off. Having them in that position for 20 minutes put them to sleep. Now, many years later I can say I have a consistent practice and instead of worrying about pain in my legs I can practice proper meditation each evening.
When I started I don’t know that I had a goal aside from seeing what it was all about. Now I can say my goal is working to reflect on life, working to bring calm to the chaos, and working to see the world as it truly is.
What is your meditation routine?
My meditation routine is something that has taken some time to develop. After struggling with consistency I have found that having a set time for meditation is key; make it as much a part of your daily routine as eating breakfast in the morning, or brushing your teeth before bed. Make time for it each day.
Most days, my own meditation routine actually has a social aspect to it. There are a group of us on Twitter that ‘check in’ with one another using the hashtag #OMCru, an open invitation to sit with others across this little world we call home.
— Kris Freedain (@KrisFreedain) November 5, 2014
I will then sit on my cushion, lower my gaze to keep any visual distractions out, and practice for 10 or 20 minutes. At the end, I will warm my hands to rub my eyes, head, limbs, and back, then join my palms and repeat a short refuge prayer.
Can you tell me a story about how meditation improved your performance?
One day a coworker asked me if I meditated, saying ‘you’re just so calm all the time. I need that.’ She asked if I could teach her meditation which of course I agreed to. Providing simple instructions would be safe for her. I am no teacher of course, but I know she would be safe with a simple counting breath practice.
That evening, I thought about her statement and upon reflection, I guess it had not really crossed my mind much. I never really had anger issues, but I am happy that I come across as calm and collected, especially in a position that deals with major time constraints and the potential stress associated with releasing software for one of the largest computer companies in the world. I sometimes think I can be hard to deal with at work, but my coworker gave me a different perspective. I guess it is making a difference.
Do you think meditation gives you a competitive edge? Why?
The most direct way to answer this question is, simply, yes. However, in my own practice I have found that the one I’m most ‘competing with’ is myself. Meditation gives me a path to improve upon, and that really is what it’s all about.
What would you recommend to anyone starting out their own meditation practice?
As I mentioned earlier in the interview, having a set time for meditation is key; make it as much a part of your daily routine as eating breakfast in the morning, or brushing your teeth before bed. Make time for it each day. To add on to this statement, be extremely consistent with this for at least two weeks. Most individuals that do this will see a difference at the end of those two weeks. The added benefit to this is, when one is consistent with something for two weeks, it is even easier to continue that long term. You will have already laid the groundwork for your practice.
Get your free chapter of The Strongest Mind in the Room: How Meditation Boosts Human Performance. Find free guided meditations on our How to Meditate Coach.me Guide.