Beginning meditation

As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m giving meditation another shot. I first really got interested in actually meditating after listening to the 10% Happier audiobook.

10% Happier by Dan Harris

I’m listening to it again this week. As a meta point, it’s the best narrated audiobook I’ve listened to. It also happened to be one of my first Audible purchases. I mistakenly thought all audiobooks were of that quality. Dan Harris speaks for a living at a very high level.

I’m bookmarking and writing notes as I listen this time around. His perspective is shared by a lot of others. He was skeptical of meditation and waded through different types and communities to come find a practice that works.


I’m going through the introductory Take 10 series on Headspace. Ten minutes for ten days. I tried it last year, fell asleep the first day, and quit after the second. This time I’m acknowledging that meditation needs to be practiced.

I read Cal Newport’s Deep Work to start this year and it made me think about how uneasy we are with being bored these days. Boredom can’t go where our phones go. The same goes with focus. Cal Newport talks about is practicing focus so that you can focus deeply on whatever problem you’re working on.

I believe in growth mindsets and deliberate practice. If meditation can be practiced, then I’ll can approach it that way. 10 minutes each day.

I used to think: Time meditating is literally doing nothing. Is that better spent elsewhere?

The answer: Probably. That’s if you think time meditating really is literally doing nothing.

This time around, I’m thinking about it as brain training. People don’t question the benefits of exercise and the benefits outside of the actual time spent working out. I’m hoping meditation will be similar. With 10 or 20 minutes every day, I’ll see the benefits during the entire rest of the day.

Early session impressions

I’m improving on focusing on single tasks. I tried time blocking in the past. Focusing for 25 minutes shouldn’t be hard. Still, I’d end many sessions with the timer ringing and me realizing I trailed off into the internet somewhere in the last few minutes of the work session.

It’s been really helpful on days when I didn’t have enough sleep the night before. Healthwise, it’d be a trap to think it’s really making up for lost sleep. But it’ll be a good tool to have if it can make those days feel less zombie-like.

This week of focus has been great. If it’s from some kind of placebo effect1, that’s fine. If meditating makes me think meditating works, then, I mean, that’s enough. it’s literally all in the mind.

The brain is weird.

  1. Creating a placebo for meditation for meditation studies has its own complications.