The Process

Madison Richardson sitting on the mats in a World Cup

I started meditating because I wanted to be a better athlete. While that motivation is still present, meditation practice and theory has opened my eyes to its farther reaching benefits, benefits I once cared very little for.

I held rock climbing up as the most important thing in my life. In high school, I remember spending long sessions at the gym just days before my final exams without a care in the world. I’m heading into my third year out of high school now and haven’t had a single doubt about my decision to delay university.

That was how I liked it. I was convinced this was the mindset my fellow competitors didn’t have, or didn’t fully embody. For me, nothing is as important as training and performing.

But now I’m sitting here wondering how true that is. Even for Olympians, what is really the priority?

I recently watched a documentary called, “The Weight of Gold” where Olympians spoke about mental health issues they’ve faced. Too many athletes put everything they have and everything they are into performing and they’re very much worse off for it. Because what happens if you get injured? What happens when it’s time to hang up your jacket for good? Can you be happy when there’s nothing left to prepare for? Or what if you don’t achieve what you set out to do? If what’s getting you up in the morning can be taken away with the snap of a finger, how wise can it be to rest your sense of self and happiness on it?

And that’s where meditation came along. I was recently diving into some theory on Sam Harris’ meditation app, “Waking Up”, when I listened to a recording of his entitled, “Mindfulness & Purpose”. Not a lot of what he said was new to me, but he framed it in such a way as to effectively describe an idea that I’ve been struggling to grasp for years - the process.