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How I Meditate: Mark Hammersley

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“Scientists see clear differences in brains that have been meditating for 10 years, so I thought that I better get started!”

Mark Hammersley, an entrepreneur from New Zealand, jumped into meditation after digging into the scientific literature on mindfulness. He told us about his daily routine (it includes yoga!) and how it helps him get more done during the work day.

Why did you start meditating? What was your goal?

I had tried meditating in the past. When I looked back, I felt that my life moved forward better when I was meditating.  I had also read a lot about the potential benefits for stress, clarity of thinking, etc.  Scientists see clear differences in brains that have been meditating for 10 years, so I thought that I better get started!  I did not have any particular goals. I just wanted to try meditation and see if it improved my life.

How did meditation make you better at work?

I used to get tired more often. Meditation at its most basic level is like extra sleep.  I don’t have to ‘stay up all day’ anymore. Each meditation session recharges me. My productivity used to peak in the morning but then slow down the afternoon. Now I get two really good periods of productivity out of each day.

Having a clearer mind also helped my creativity. I deal with a lot of support issues. I am able to visualize cause and effect much better when I am meditating.

Actually, the best benefit of meditation came when both my wife and I were meditating regularly. Our relationship was a lot better, things were much calmer and clearer. It made us closer.

Do you think meditation gives you a competitive edge?

Businesses are only as good as their people, so being more focused helped give me a competitive edge for sure. But mediation is more of a tool to help you come through modern life less damaged.  Life is so busy, so fraught, so uncontrollable – therefore for me it’s about letting go and releasing without having to follow unhealthy but socially accepted habits like alcohol to achieve the same effect.

What is your meditation routine?

I started off meditating twice a day for 20 minutes. Now have a new routine:  I meditate in the morning for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of Yoga. Once I finish the session, I try and anchor this state of mind by listening to the same piece of music each morning.  I do ten minutes of yoga in intervals throughout the day as well. I have a timer on my desk set for 50 minutes and every 50 minutes I do ten minutes of yoga.  I find the Yoga helps my posture and is like a moving meditation.

What is your meditation routine?

The hard part about mediation is that your life starts to move quickly in the right direction and blocks that have been there for a while will start moving and move fast.  This can be quite stressful. You haven’t moved those blocks yet because you don’t want to let them go. It’ll still be difficult to remove them.  It’s a bit like being on a rollercoaster ride without knowing where the car will stop. It’s actually for the best that you cannot see the destination (no one knows the future!).  Fundamentally meditation taps into something bigger than your conscious to help you set the direction of your life.

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