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A note on meditation

Thursday, December 5, 2019

I do yoga and I run. Next to that I've experimented with multiple methods of meditation. Since discovering Sam Harris's 'Waking Up' guided meditations, I belief I have found an entrance to exploring and expanding my mind.

Meditation has made a positive impact in my life. It helps me to start my days from a state of calm and keep it throughout the days, weeks and months, whatever I do. It helps me explore the relation between my body and mind. And it’s a way to keep tabs on what I think, how I feel and what I want to do with all that.

When talking about my health and about stressing less in life and work, I can’t not mention yoga & meditation. In 2017 I picked up yoga again since moving to Amsterdam in 2013. This year I got back on my twice-a-week streak and I couldn’t be happier about it. Properly punishing my body running, it really needs a regular, good stretch.

Yoga and running both contain meditative aspects, helping me become more conscious of my mind & body and to find a flow and balance in life. So I guess it was only logical for me to dive into meditation itself.

Getting into meditation

Since 2016 I tried multiple types of meditation. I got into it after my travel buddy Pritam gave me a coupon code for a year of Headspace, a very nice and popular app offering a wide range of guided meditations. I also loved a series that had me meditate on 6 different audioscapes, specifically engineered to bring one into certain mindscapes. As intended, I practiced this for half a year and it at least gave me a daily half hour to wind down and let my thoughts pass. And of course, in yoga there’s a lot of (active) meditation.

Waking up

This year (2019) another good friend, Stef, pointed me at an app by Sam Harris recently, which has really changed my meditation experience. Their own introduction is as follows:

“There are hundreds of meditation apps on the market, and several do a fine job of teaching the basic principles of mindfulness. But most present the practice as though it were an ancient version of an executive stress ball—whereas it’s more like the Hubble Space Telescope.

The purpose of meditation isn’t merely to reduce stress or to make you feel better in the moment—it’s to make fundamental discoveries in the laboratory of your own mind.”

Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, philosopher and author. One might know him for his criticism on religion, Stef had already been listening to his podcast ‘Making Sense’ for a while. But he also wrote a book and created an app with a non-religious approach to meditation, both called ‘Waking up’.

I find his guided meditations to be more down to earth than Andy’s from Headspace. The latter are super dreamy & floaty and more important: they now feel very superficial to me. And only now I understand why I grew tired of Headspace.

Don’t get me wrong. Headspace is a great app! But by combining the guided meditations with lessons and conversations, I feel like I’m not only practicing but also learning how to dive deeper and why it works. There’s so much more to learn!

By finding ‘Waking up’ I believe I have found a way (back) to daily meditation. This way I hope to explore and expand my mind and to unlock a bit more of it’s potential.

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