If you begin to practice any sort of meditation, before long you'll hear about silent meditation retreats and how crucial they are to getting the most out of your practice. I've been meditating since February, and by July I'd heard enough such comments, from varied enough sources, that I was convinced to at least look into it. It's now the end of August and I got back from a 10-day Vipassana course three days ago. These are my thoughts.Read More
I’m listening to Gil Fronsdal’s five Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation podcasts, which were recommended to me as good listening for novice meditators. My prior posts were about “Posture and Breath”, “The Body”, “Emotions”, and “Thinking”. This post is about the final lesson, Week 5, “Daily Life Practice”.Read More
I’m listening to Gil Fronsdal’s five Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation podcasts, which were recommended to me as good listening for novice meditators. My prior posts were about Week 1, “Posture and Breath”, and Week 2, “The Body”. This post is about Week 3, “Emotions”.Read More
I’m listening to Gil Fronsdal’s five Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation podcasts, which were recommended to me as good listening for novice meditators. The last post was about Week 1, which focuses on Posture and Breath. This post’s about Week 2, focusing on "The Body”.Read More
I mentioned in the last post that Gil Fronsdal’s five Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation podcasts were recommended to me as good listening for novice meditators. Each podcast is an hour and a half long and a recording of a class taught at the Insight Meditation Center. I don’t know how good a course it is overall, but I’m listening to it and will note my takeaways as I go. This post’s about Week 1, Posture and Breath.Read More
Almost four months in and I’m meditating 15 minutes a day. I was doing ten-minute sessions for a while, and thought I’d keep it at that. Ten minutes felt like a sweet spot—long enough that it felt impactful, brief enough that it’d never be a scheduling burden. And yet here I am at 15 minutes, and once again convinced I’ve found the sweet spot. This mindfulness thing grows on you...Read More
The other evening I was both caffeinated and tired, at the same time. Trying to sit cross-legged left me feeling tense and jittery—not ideal for meditation.
I tried lying down, and everything got easier. Relaxing was almost automatic, I presume because the body associates lying down with sleep and relaxation. And my hands resting on my stomach, rising and falling with every breath, were an easy point of focus. (I've found it a little challenging to focus on my breathing, when sat upright.)
I've heard there are four "dignified" meditation positions: sitting, lying down, walking, and hooking your legs around a beam and then hanging upside down.*
* Not a trained meditation instructor. This list may not be 100% accurate.
The point is, lying down is kosher, as far as meditation goes. I'm not going to do it regularly just yet, but it's a nice option to have.
Does anyone meditate lying down regularly? Let me know in the comments, I'd be interested to hear why.
I thought I was a champion breather. I breathe in, I breathe out, I stop breathing if I'm underwater, I keep breathing when I sleep—it's very impressive, I know. ¶ When I start meditating, however, more often than not, I start feeling out of breath. Suddenly I can't take breathing for granted...Read More
Don't meditate soon after drinking something flavorful or after eating—any residual flavors will get you salivating, and having to swallow over and over can easily capture your attention, especially if you're imaginative and start picturing the Buddha sitting there under his tree, benignly tonguing a grain of rice stubbornly wedged between his teeth. Not conducive to focus, that is. Not at all.
So maybe don't do that.
Part memoir, part magazine article, part textbook, 10% Happier is an excellent introduction to mindful meditation. This is my review.
(Also, this is my last Dan Harris post. I've run through his videos and book. Next up, something new!)Read More
If you’ve been reading my posts here so far, you might have begun to suspect this is a Dan Harris fan site. I’m going to be posting about other people’s material, I swear, but I began with Harris because his take on mindfulness is tuned very specifically for skeptical and secular beginners, which is what I am. My plan’s to go through his materials first before graduating to others.
And with that said, here are two new and very short videos Harris made with Happify, with my takeaways. If you’ve watched his other videos—posted here and here—you’ll be familiar with much of this. These shorts are mostly just repackaged snippets of his lecture, but there's enough new in them to make them worthwhile.Read More
This Google Talk is Dan Harris' full presentation on mindfulness and his book, 10% Happier. If you watched Charlie Rose's interview of Harris (posted here a few weeks ago), you should know the content of that interview is basically a condensed version of this talk—Harris even uses the same jokes, in the same places. Though a lot of this talk was familiar to me, I still found it worthwhile because the full talk goes into greater depth and is followed by some interesting Q&A.
Highlights and takeaways, after the jump.Read More
Eight weeks in and meditation has been consistently impactful. I think. Probably. Definitely probably.
I was surprised to find meditation had an impact even when it seemed to have gone badly, which led me to realize my measure of meditative merit was awry.Read More
This post has an alternate, more precise title:
Mindful Meditation's Effects and Frustrations
(In Which I Yammer On and On About How My New Meditation Practice Seems to be Working, and About How I've Come to Understand the Idea that One Should Be "In the Moment" Even Though I Loathe That Phrase and Most People Who Use It, and In Which I Realize That Meditation Might Have Surprising, Practical Benefits for Writers.)
But that felt a bit wordy. (Just like this blog post will no doubt feel!)
“I’m talking about mindfulness meditation, which is the kind of meditation that has been the focus of most of the scientific studies. It is simple, and secular… you don’t have to join a group, you don’t have to wear special outfits, you don’t have to believe in anything. … I’ll explain how to do it. … It’s not super complicated.”
This video is a few weeks old now, but I thought it’s worth sharing. Dan Harris does a good job explaining mindful meditation without any crystally, new-age nonsense...Read More