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 and set my intentions for the day.
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 only way to meditate or even the best way. It’s just how I do it after trying many different methods. Maybe it will help you as well. 🙂
A Simple Daily Meditation:
I like simple. Otherwise, I won’t stick to it long term.
So, here’s what I do:
- Sit or lie down – I like to sit up when meditating in the morning and lie down at night. Sit with your back straight and eyes closed. Hands folded on your lap or resting on your knees is fine.
- Breathe & relax – I breathe in and out through my nose. Focus on your breathing in and out. With every breath out relax your body more and notice any tension in your face, shoulders, or neck area.
- Allow – Allow your thoughts to come and go. Don’t try to stop thinking or it will get worse. In the beginning, the mind is going to be all over the place but eventually will come to a rest. With practice, it will relax faster.
- Gratitude – After about 15 minutes of quiet meditation, I then think about everything I am grateful for. I try to feel happy for everything in my life good or bad. Family, friends, a roof over my head, food on my table, anything.
- Visualize – In the last few minutes, I practice visualization for a few minutes. Have fun with this. Visualize yourself living the life you want or doing the things you want to be doing. Make it as real as possible. Feel the sand between your toes as you run on the beach, smell the delicious food, or hear the roar from the engine of your dream car. It should feel like your actually there.
That’s it. I repeat those 5 steps each time I meditate.
The whole session takes about 20 minutes max.
How Often Should You Meditate?
This is up to you, but I like to meditate twice per day. I meditate first thing in the morning and right before bed. As soon as I wake up, I sit up in bed, close my eyes and start my meditation. Before bed, I do the same which helps me fall asleep. It’s the first and last thing I do every day.
Extra Tips For A Better Meditation:
- 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. I also meditate at my office desk if I feel stressed, even if it’s 5 minutes.
- Observe, don’t force – 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 as 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, that’s 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 visualize 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 certain car. 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.
This short 12-minute video explains very well how to meditate also.