In a recent podcast I was asked a bit about how I started my mornings.
I mentioned that I meditate every morning for a few minutes to start my day calm and set my goals or intentions.
In the interview I didn’t get to fully explain, and I’ve had a few people ask me about it since, so I wanted to create a post on how to meditate if you’re interested.
This is in no way the 100% fool proof way to meditate, it’s just how I do it after trying many different methods. Maybe it will help you as well. 🙂
How to Meditate
- You can meditate anywhere – even if it’s just for a few minutes. Don’t worry about finding the perfect spot or location to meditate, although a quiet place is usually better especially until you get better at it. I usually meditate right before bed and as soon as I wake up in the morning.
- Observe your thoughts, don’t force them – This is probably the hardest part of the meditation, especially as you start practicing meditation. Our thoughts are wild little buggers bouncing around our heads – “what do I have to do today”, “I’m hungry”, “Why is my dog scratching himself”, etc. These thoughts will never stop if you try to force them to stop. As Alan Watts puts it, “it’s like trying to calm water with a flat iron”, you are only going to make more ripples in the water, or in this case more thoughts. So if trying to stop thoughts just creates more thoughts, then just stop trying to stop them. Instead observe your thoughts. Let them run wild and just observe them as an outsider would. What happens is they will eventually start to slow down and stop on their own. Think of it like waves in water slowly smoothing out after a rock is dropped in a pond. You can’t force that to happen.
- Enjoy being present – Just enjoy being present at this point in the meditation. Don’t try and force anything. Simply be. Your mind may start to wander again, thats normal, just let it go and watch your thoughts again. Eventually you will get good at just reaching this point of peaceful observation faster. This is my favorite part of the meditation.
- Active Visualization – Once you’re mind settles down and the thoughts begin to stop you will naturally feel more present. It’s almost like you begin to take control of the thought machine. You can now create thoughts one at a time with more focus. I call this active visualization (not sure if there is an official name for it). Usually at this point I visualize the words “Thank you” in my mind, and then visual the things I am thankful for that I already have. Then I bring up images of things that I want to happen, but I see them as already happening. For example, a while back in 2008 I really wanted a Mazda RX-8. So I use to visualize myself driving it, hanging out with friends and just being grateful that I already owned it. I wasn’t just dreaming about it, I acted as if I already owned it by being grateful for it NOW. Eventually I got the exact car I wanted which was cool and somewhat proof this meditation and visualization stuff was starting to work for me at least.
- Practice makes perfect – Don’t overcomplicate meditation. Just keep practicing. Don’t worry so much about getting it right every time either. I am not perfect, there are sessions where it’s incredibly hard to calm my mind. But like anything with practice you will get better.
Some resources to help you:
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – This book helped me learn to become present and meditate almost anywhere, by observing my thoughts as the watcher. Highly recommended.
Alan Watts – This short 12 minute video explains very well how to meditate also.
Again this is how I meditate, many people do it differently, do you have your own methods? Would love to hear it below in the comments section…