How to finally start meditating (like a pro)

“If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life.” Tony Robbins

I’ve failed at a daily meditation habit more times than I can count. I used to think it was ridiculous, a waste of time, new-agey eastern-philosophy pseudoscience.

I was so damn wrong.

I didn’t get it— I’d close my eyes and sit on the floor, trying so hard to.. I don’t know.. not think about anything? It wasn’t working.

I didn’t make any progress.

I’d quit, decide to give it another shot, and quit again. No matter how hard I’d try, I couldn’t see the value in meditating. I felt like an idiot sitting on the floor, looking for Buddha.

It just wasn’t working for me.

I tried different methods. One suggestion from James Altucher— spend a minute imagining yourself meditating for 30 minutes. Think about what it would feel like. I did this for a month.

The good: I was actually able to do it. The bad? It didn’t really help. It was a start, I guess. But no matter how I hard I tried, I couldn’t get myself to just sit in silence for 10 minutes.

It was like my meditation muscle was broken.

If you spend 5 minutes researching the most successful people, you’ll quickly see a pattern of meditation emerge. Successful people meditate. Why can’t I get it to work for me?

I tried something new— And I finally figured out how to meditate.

My first attempts at meditation weren’t particularly calculated— I assumed that you sat in silence, maybe put on some zen playlist from Spotify, and just, you know, stopped thinking about things.

Instead, I tried Guided Meditation. There’s a bunch of ways to do guided meditation, but my favorite, the one I’ve had the most success with is the Headspace course. By the way, I don’t make any money or anything off of this, I just love it that much.

It turns out I had no clue how to actually meditate.

Guided Meditation works like this— you put on a track and a guide gently talks you through the 10-30 minute session.

Without guided meditation, I could barely last for 3 minutes without getting bored, anxious, and giving up. My first guided meditation session? 10 minutes. No Problem. It almost seemed too easy and I was hungry for more.

I’m up to 15 minutes of daily meditation and after becoming thoroughly hooked this month, I’m committing to 365 days of meditation in 2015. It’s become a ritual that I look forward to everyday.

So what’s the secret anyway? Why is meditation valuable?

I see two distinct benefits from daily meditation.

The first happens during the actual meditation— when I’m sitting with my eyes closed, listening to the guide. Once I finally empty out my mind, I really enjoy the feeling of calm and silence. It reminds me of previous experiences in an isolation chamber.

Effortless relaxation, disconnecting the mind from the body, sensory deprivation.

The second happens immediately after I open my eyes after the session. It’s the feeling of waking up from an incredible night of sleep. Things just seem to feel different. Like I’m more aware, grounded, conscious.

I track my mood on a daily basis using POMS and there’s a very positive correlation between meditating and my “tension-anxiety” score.

If there’s one thing that you change in your life, I highly recommend that you give meditation a shot. Even if you’ve tried before and failed (I did, so many times), try guided meditation— I think you’ll be surprised to find that you can actually do it.

P.S— I’m holding a book giveaway to close out 2014 and 53 lucky winners will win 104 books. The contest ends in a few days, so enter to win before it’s too late