I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t meditated much because I felt I sucked at it. I couldn’t slow my mind when I thought you had to ‘stop thinking’. I couldn’t block out the things that were happening around me. I found it hard to fit it into my day. To sum it up, I thought I was no good, and so I stopped.
Then cancer happened, and my whole outlook on life changed. I want to focus, and I want to feel encouraged, I want to be more productive, I want to build a growth mindset and see the good in every day. I want to stop letting everything else take over, and I want to make this my priority. When cancer entered my life, so did Heavily Meditated, a book by Caitlin Cady about learning meditation and her Heavily Meditated app available for Apple and Android. It couldn’t have come at a better time. And, how cool is the name?
Sending my high expectations to the kerb
Let’s just say that Heavily Meditated turned my beliefs about meditation on its head and made me feel more empowered to make it work for me, in my own way. It reminded me that my perfectionism and high expectations of myself have been holding me back from the benefits of meditation. I was trying to practise meditation perfectly, and it held me back from something that could provide so many benefits. You’ve probably heard the term, ‘done is better than perfect?’ Well, that relates to meditation too.
“We practise meditation. Literally. It is a practice. We do it regularly, but it’s always, always, always a dress rehearsal and never an opening night.” – Caitlin Cady
Breaking the meditation myths
In her book, Caitlin encourages you to experience meditation for yourself, in your own way. There is always so much emphasis on how to ‘do it right’, which is what makes you give up. Heavily Meditated is more about fitting meditation into your life than exactly how to do it. It removes all of the rejections around meditation and makes it completely doable for anyone. Here are some myths that are broken in the book, and boy, did they make me feel better:
- No one is ‘good’ at meditating, and that’s why it’s called a meditation practice.
- Meditation isn’t just for the morning or in a quiet space.
- Sometimes, meditation sucks. It is ok when you can’t focus, and you’re a bit wobbly. You are benefiting more from this than not doing it at all.
- You don’t have to meditate for 30 minutes or 10 minutes. If 5 minutes is all you have, that’s great!
- Meditation is not self-indulgent; it is self-care. It sounds cliché, but you can’t pour from an empty cup.
- Racing thoughts are ok; they’re just a bit of weather moving through. As Caitlin says, “Drift happens.”
- You don’t have to have a fancy meditation setup, just find a space that’s comfortable.
The meditation types
There is more than just one type of meditation. They include:
- The Breath
The book covers these meditation types in more detail. Once you read them, you’ll get a better idea of which type of meditation you might like. I’m a fan of The Breath and Visualisation, the latter being my favourite.
What does science have to do with meditation? A lot. Heavily Meditated touches on it quite a bit, explaining exactly why, in scientific terms, meditation is good for us. It’s so much more than airy-fairy woo-woo stuff.
Did you know that research has found that meditation can help create neurobiological pathways linking mindfulness with reduced stress and negative affectivity? Regular meditation can actually reduce the size of the part of the brain that is responsible for signalling your body’s stress response.
Like me, do you have trouble focusing? Another study by neuroscientist Giuseppe Pagnoni, found that those who meditate have more stability in their thoughts. They were able to look at a certain part of the brain responsible for spontaneous thought and, you guessed it, meditators were able to focus better than non-meditators. As part of the study’s hypothesis, they found that this is one of the reasons meditation is so good for treating depression and is one thing I have discussed here on the blog. When you can consciously focus on your thoughts, over time, you can become aware of them and deal with them instead of reacting. I write about this here…
The Heavily Meditated App
I’ve tried a few meditation apps, and they were pretty basic. I’m the type of person who needs some accountability, guidance and a little bit of special.
What I love about this app:
- The colour palette and design, for some reason, just made me feel happy and inspired.
- You can filter and search for meditations based on time and technique.
- You can set your own intentions
- Throughout the day, you can set intention reminders, so the app reminds you of your intention.
- You can get a hit of inspiration by swiping through quotes
- You can create your meditation manifesto
- Caitlin’s voice in the guided meditations is calming and soothing.
- You can use it anywhere
- There is a meditation to suit everyone, and all you have to do is go through and try them. There are meditations with water flowing in the background, bird sounds or chimes, and no background noise. Some meditations help with anxiety and focus, and others help you with distraction and restlessness. These are just a few of the many.
Woo-woo not included
I love Heavily Meditated because it’s a book that’s not ‘woo woo’ new age stuff promising inner peace or teaching you to perform meditation like a monk. Reading the book is like having a conversation with someone who just gets it. Caitlin is forthright and cuts through the crap that turns people off meditation in the first place. I love the way Caitlin writes, too. She reminds me of a friend who doesn’t talk bull shit and tells it how it really is. Imagine walking into an actual meditation class as a beginner; you’d feel pretty anxious, right? With Caitlin as your teacher, you feel comfortable straight away. Anxiety is gone…poof!
Are you ready to remove meditation from what Caitlin calls, the “F this shit pile of unfinished business” to an achievable goal without expectation or the need for perfection? This book is it. Can a book ‘feel’ good? Well, this one does, and it looks good too. It’s also very relatable with no fluff. It’s not a novel that you’ll have to allocate a month to read. It’s a book where you can learn how to meditate in 7 days with the accompanying app, an effortless read.
Happy meditating! Grab your copy and app below.
Buy the book
Disclosure: I received a copy of Heavily Meditated and trial access to the Heavily Meditated app to provide my honest review. There are affiliate links in this post that will not affect the price you pay, I may receive a small commission which helps me keep this blog going. You can read my disclosure policy here.