Attention Management in Meditation

In the third week of our Meditation and Mindfulness for Beginners Course we introduce the idea that meditation is a simple three-step process in which you continually: Focus Lose Focus Refocus We stress that the idea in meditation is not to stay focused all the time...

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7 Key Ingredients for any Meditation Practice

7 Key Ingredients for any Meditation Practice

Have you ever gone out on a Sunday morning, returned home with a gorgeous pot plant, and then watched as it slowly withered away and died over the coming weeks? Perhaps no one ever told you that a plant, like a pet, needs more care and attention than you'd assumed. A...

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To Detach or To Connect?

To Detach or To Connect?

Standard mindfulness instructions invite you to pay attention to your thoughts and emotions — but not to get caught up in them. Various metaphors are employed to illustrate this idea. Watch your thoughts like: clouds floating across the sky, or leaves flowing down a...

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Do You Need a Meditation ‘Anchor’

Do You Need a Meditation ‘Anchor’

"A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." — John A. Shedd A few short years ago there was no such thing as a meditation app. Today, there are hundreds. On just one of them — Insight Timer — you can select from 15,000 guided meditations...

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5 Best Meditation & Mindfulness Podcasts of 2018

5 Best Meditation & Mindfulness Podcasts of 2018

If you're like me, you've probably had days, (and maybe even weeks or months), when you haven't felt that inspired to meditate. Like exercise programs and healthy diets, a meditation practice can seem like a fantastic idea at some times, and a burden at others. And...

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Insomnia Cure: How To Fall Asleep Using Meditation

Insomnia Cure: How To Fall Asleep Using Meditation

Imagine this: you go to bed at 10:30pm but two hours later you're still not asleep. Or this: it's 2:30am and you suddenly wake up, thoughts about what you have to do at work tomorrow queuing up like spam in you head. Or this: it's 6am; you've spent 8 hours wrestling...

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Micro-meditations for awareness and insight

Micro-meditations for awareness and insight

I frequently meet people who say they would like to meditate. Of course, they don't actually meditate, and don't really have any intention of doing so. They like to meditate in the same way they'd like to win the lottery (without ever buying a ticket). This makes me...

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How to Practice Acceptance

How to Practice Acceptance

Meditation is hard. Or so I've been told. But that's not my experience. Most of the time I find it quite easy. I'm not trying to brag here. But I would like to point out that meditation doesn't have to be difficult. I've heard teachers with decades of experience...

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How to Meditate Without the Struggle and Confusion

So I'm sitting at my desk on this, the final day of the month. My mind is blank. This — even though I'm a meditation teacher — is not good. I have an article to write — by tomorrow. Then a thought enters my head: "The world doesn't need another article on meditation."...

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What’s Wrong with Positive Thinking?

Meditation teachers have a habit of telling people what to do with — or about — their thoughts. Psychologists and self-help gurus do this too. Thoughts, however, are rather mysterious. Scientists can't really say exactly what they are or how they’re formed. And whilst...

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How To Stop Falling Asleep While Meditating

How To Stop Falling Asleep While Meditating

Do you have trouble staying awake when you meditate? Do you feel like it's wrong, or bad to fall asleep — or that you'll miss out on the benefits of meditation if you doze off? Does falling asleep mid-practice feel frustrating, or embarrassing? These are common...

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Why Did I Stop Meditating?

Why Did I Stop Meditating?

There are elephants in the meditation room. One of them looks guilty. It's the one that's not meditating. At least, not as often as it thinks it should. Perhaps you don't meditate as often as you'd like either? Why is that? Some people say they don't have time. Others...

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Meditation is boring

Meditation is boring

Some people say meditation is boring. They're right. It can be. Indeed, many of the most widely used meditation techniques — you'll probably agree — do sound rather monotonous. Repeat a mantra, over and over again, inside your head. Scan the body from head to toe, and...

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How To Deal With Distraction

How To Deal With Distraction

In recent months I've been writing about some of the many meditation myths and misconceptions which, when unquestioned, often make meditation much harder than it needs to be. I've addressed the idea that the aim of meditation is to still your mind; the notion that...

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To Be or Not To Be (Present)

Some people have suggested that the current interest in meditation and mindfulness is just a fad; and that once media interest wanes these practices will revert to their previous status — as the esoteric hobbies of a few curious eccentrics. I'm not one to try and...

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I Just Can’t Find The Time To Meditate

In our Meditation Myths & Misconceptions series of articles we've recently explored the mistaken idea that meditation is all about making your mind quiet, and the incorrect assumption that you have to sit still in order to practice. Another reason many people find...

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Stillness in Meditation

Last month, in the first of this series of articles on Meditation Myths & Misconceptions we explored the mistaken idea that meditation is all about making your mind quiet. This month we'll explore a related idea: How much effort do you put into remaining perfectly...

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Meditation Myths & Misconceptions

Meditation Myths & Misconceptions

When I started teaching meditation, apps didn't exist, mindfulness was a term you'd only be familiar with if you studied Buddhism, and nearly everyone coming to a class worried that they'd be expected to sit cross-legged on the floor and invited to chant Om. Although...

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What To Do When Your Mind Works Against You

What To Do When Your Mind Works Against You

A reader recently asked the following question, having read my article How to make friends with your emotions. What would one do when one has become addicted to so called negative emotions and thoughts and can’t break the habit of rumination that seems to serve no...

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Keeping A Meditation Journal

Keeping A Meditation Journal

Have you ever woken up in the midst of a dream, thinking "I must remember this!" then padded off to the toilet — or to put the kettle on — only to have your dream vanish from consciousness? The same thing can happen in meditation. You might remember something...

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Types of Meditation

Types of Meditation

I began writing this post in late 2013, as a follow-up to the post What is Meditation? in which I set about introducing and defining the subject. My intention was to provide a more detailed and nuanced account of the diversity of meditation practices you might come...

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How to make friends with your emotions

How to make friends with your emotions

Do you love your emotions? Do you look forward to days on which a depression visits? Do you eagerly await the arrival of anxiety? And do you enjoy moments of anger, jealousy or shame? Perhaps these questions strike you as absurd? Who on Earth looks forward to feeling...

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How to meditate better by thinking more

How to meditate better by thinking more

assumption noun 1. a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. You probably came to meditation with a lot of assumptions. And even if you've been meditating for years, you probably still have a lot of assumptions — about what meditation is...

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Pause

Feeling stressed? Here's a two-minute guided meditation you can use to take the edge off a trying situation or anxious moment. Need more time to relax? Or a guided meditation to help you get to sleep, or to work through some troubling issue or emotion? I have...

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How to Develop & Sustain a Meditation Practice

How to Develop & Sustain a Meditation Practice

Meditation is easy. It's easy to learn and it's easy to do. At least, it can be, if you have an understanding and approach conducive to mitigating struggle. Remembering to meditate, or doing it regularly, however, seems much, much harder. It's a bit like climbing...

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How much meditation is enough?

How much meditation is enough?

At the first meditation class I attended I was instructed to sit for 30 minutes, and at the conclusion of the first meditation retreat I attended, I was told that I needed to meditate for an hour each morning and evening. Some years later I picked up The One Minute...

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Kiss the joy as it flies

He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity's sunrise. — William Blake This article is a reproduction of the afterword from Bill Morgan's insightful book, The Meditator's Dilemma. In...

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Meditation & Mindfulness Facts

Here's a collection of facts about meditation and mindfulness. They include helpful tips for beginners, surprising 'secrets', as well as findings revealed by recent research. Follow us on Facebook to view more.

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How to fail at meditation

How to fail at meditation

Meditation is hard. I can't meditate. I'm no good at meditation. I find meditation frustrating. Meditation is boring. These are just a few of the comments I commonly hear from people who have tried to meditate; even from people who have been meditating for years....

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What else to do with thoughts

What else to do with thoughts

In  a previous article I introduced five 'orientations' for working with thoughts. In this article, I continue that project by offering another five ways to develop greater acceptance  — and understanding — of the thinking process. The purpose of these strategies is...

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What to do with thoughts

What to do with thoughts

I've written a number of articles on thinking: specifically, on recognizing that thoughts are a normal and inevitable part of any meditation practice and that a mature response to them involves adopting a stance of acceptance and curiosity. In this article I aim to...

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Is your happy place really a happy place?

Is your happy place really a happy place?

In my role as a meditation teacher, I’m privy to many assumptions about the practice. Such assumptions are most frequently expressed when I’m invited into a workplace, where, not surprisingly, I’m bound to share the room with a number of skeptics. Typically, such...

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“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think: ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore’. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.”

― Haruki Murakami

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Meditation and Pain Management

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think: 'Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore'. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.” ― Haruki Murakami Pain and...

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When I run a meditation class I usually ask participants what they hope to achieve, or learn, through meditation. Some will say that they want to learn to control their thoughts and emotions. I can understand this impulse. Indeed, many meditation traditions insist that this is just what we must do: because the mind is a wild and unruly beast, and it needs to be tamed.

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Meditating with Thoughts and Emotions

When I run a meditation class I usually ask participants what they hope to achieve, or learn, through meditation. Some will say that they want to learn to control their thoughts and emotions. I can understand this impulse. Indeed, many meditation traditions insist...

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What meditation technique is right for me?

What meditation technique is right for me?

There are hundreds of different types of meditation. How do you know which technique, or tradition, is right for you? I'd like to propose that this is the wrong question. I don't believe there is a technique right for you, or anyone. There is no method you need to...

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The Problems with Mindfulness Part 2

In Part 1 of this article I explained why a narrow focus on the so-called present moment may create unnecessary difficulties and limitations when practicing mindfulness. In this second part, I'll endeavor to explain why a non-judgmental attitude can be equally...

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Checking in

Checking in

It's not uncommon for people to take up meditation as a means of checking-out. Meditation sounds to them like it might be a good cheap way to escape from the stresses and hassles of the 9 - 5 grind. Like going on a Friday night bender but waking up without the...

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Healthy Mental Habits

Healthy Mental Habits

Meditation teaches you how to relax, how to calm your nervous system, and with practice, how to generate states of mind characterised by clarity and contentment. It works best, however, in conjunction with healthy mental habits. Unfortunately there's no guarantee that...

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Guaranteed Calm

When it comes to meditation, I don't like to overstate the benefits, and I don't like to offer false hope about what's achievable. However, I do like catchy headlines. That's why I've titled this post (and the associated guided meditation), Guaranteed Calm, rather...

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Newsletter Archive

Just a short thank you note from KS in Adelaide. Your newsletters are fantastic and I always feel inspired by the content. View current or past issues of our newsletter by selecting from below. If recent...

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Mindfulness of Emotions

Mindfulness of Emotions

Can you remember the subject Emotional Literacy, from either primary or high school? Probably not, because no such subject exists. Our education systems are largely places for developing the intellect — the thinking mind — often at the expense of the body, the...

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Thought Management Strategies

  by Eric Harrison. How to manage troublesome thoughts. The success of any meditation usually depends on how well you handle the thoughts, sensations and feelings that are disturbing you. Trying to ignore or suppress them usually doesn't work well for very long....

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Meditation on Thoughts

Meditation on Thoughts

A while back I wrote a post describing a dozen or so reasons why it may be a good idea to let yourself think in meditation. I've come up with several more reasons since then, and heard from more and more people who have come to the realization that trying to stop...

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Instead of instructions (or rules) to be followed, there are three conditions influencing what one does as meditation. These three conditions are obvious, commonplace, and concrete, so much so, I will use the words my students have repeatedly chosen for them: gentleness, permission, and interest.

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Three Conditions for an Independent Meditation Practice

Instead of instructions (or rules) to be followed, there are three conditions influencing what one does as meditation. These three conditions are obvious, commonplace, and concrete, so much so, I will use the words my students have repeatedly chosen for them:...

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Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation

I must admit that I'm not a fan of walking meditation — at least, not in the way it's typically presented. I am however, a great fan of walking. And I like to meditate as I walk. I don't shuffle around like a zombie staring at his feet though: I walk at a normal pace....

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Sitting Comfortably

It's useful to spend the first few seconds of any meditation — however short — fine-tuning your posture and breathing. This kind of deliberate body and breath awareness can have almost magical effects. Within seconds, you'll probably feel the breath softening and...

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Red Light

You're stuck at the lights. You have the opportunity to seethe with impatience, or to treat the wait like a mini-holiday. Relax. Shake yourself loose and settle back in the seat. Take three or four deep breaths and sigh. Instructions Scan your body for tension. How...

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3 Point Check

We're all troubled by our thoughts, moods and emotions from time to time, and we may feel powerless to prevent them from taking us into stressful territory. Indeed, sometimes trying to avoid stress actually exacerbates it. And if we make a habit of suppressing our...

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Five Senses Meditation

When you’re anxious, overwhelmed or overtired you can literally lose contact with reality. This is not always a problem, but if you tend to worry a lot, it can certainly be both painful and annoying. This simple mini-meditation, recommended by psychologists, is an...

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The Calming Breath

This meditation can be done in under sixty seconds. You can do it anywhere, at any time. You can even do it with your eyes open, while standing in a queue or waiting at the traffic lights. When extended, it can lead you to the point of sleep within three minutes. When...

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Managing Emotions with Meditation

Much of the stress we experience is amplified by our painful emotions - by the feelings we'd rather not experience. These unpleasant emotions can be difficult to face, so it's not surprising that we try to avoid them. Many of our compulsions and habits are driven by...

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Meditation, Cancer & Serious Illness

In this chapter I talk about serious, chronic or debilitating sicknesses, including those which turn out to be terminal. Since cancer can fit into all of these categories, I use it as a representative example of the other serious illnesses as well. When we first fall...

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Meditation & Health

Meditation affects our physiology in subtle but obvious ways. Even a beginner can notice muscles relaxing, the breath becoming smoother and the mind slowing down during a meditation session. From these humble beginnings, many other benefits may accrue. Meditation...

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Places to Meditate

People sometimes assume that you need a special (or specific, or appropriate, or quiet) place to meditate, and that it should be done at the same time (or some optimal time) every day. But for those of us with kids, jobs and appointments at all hours, the traditonal...

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Meditating without Guidance

Most people find that they can meditate well when guided by a teacher. Without guidance, however,  it's not always so easy. If you're new to meditation, you might have good intentions, but no clear idea of what to do. Or you might have too many ideas, and not know...

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5 Common Mistakes Meditators Make

Most people new to meditation (and many with quite a few years — or even decades — of practice under their belts), find themselves repeatedly struggling with certain aspects of the practice. With the right understanding, these struggles are largely avoidable. Below,...

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How Meditation Can Reshape Your Brain

If you've ever wondered exactly what the real — rather than anecdotal — benefits of meditation are, let neuroscientist Sara Lazar explain. In the video below see the amazing brain scans which show how meditation can actually change the size of key regions of your...

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Meditation Myths

What you believe about meditation — your ideas about what is is, how it should be practised, what the goals of meditation are, and so on — will have a huge impact on how you go about it. In fact, these beliefs, whether you're aware of them or not, will largely...

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What is Meditation?

What is meditation? A simple enough question, yes? No. Here's something strange but true: I've read hundreds of books on meditation (and attended dozens of courses, classes and retreats) and every single author (or teacher) has defined meditation in a different way....

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Why Meditate?

Meditation has not always been as popular, nor as well accepted as it is now. Even today, there are plenty of naysayers and skeptics who might wonder why anyone would want to 'waste' time with such a peculiar practice.  And although meditation and mindfulness are...

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