How to Meditate – Step 2

by Dan Jordan

Step 2 – Don’t dick around on the internet for a full thirty minutes

I hope you enjoyed your first lesson and I trust that it was not too difficult.

But now we move on to the really good, meditativey stuff. You’ve got your thirty minutes, now we’ve got to figure out what to do with them. Grab a timer.

Experienced practitioners will meditate for their full thirty minutes, and oftentimes more. You should not try to this at first unless you have a much stronger will than I do. Your brain is really going to hate meditating and unless you feel like beating it with a stick for thirty minutes, it is better to ease in.

As to the mechanics of meditating, I won’t discuss them too much. The reasons are twofold: there are plenty of good books on the subject, but also because I think it is valuable to begin without worrying too much about doing it “right”. I personally use the Zen Buddhist method as it is the one that has always worked the best for me. (It is called zazen and its practitioners argue that it isn’t technically meditating at all. Practitioners of things like to argue about said things.)

If my basic description of the mechanics of meditating doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, poke around elsewhere and I’m sure you’ll find something you like. Plus, for this lesson, we’ll only be “meditating” for a couple minutes.

Let’s begin. Set your phone to silent and your timer to countdown from five minutes.

For the first five minutes or so, let your mind wander wherever it wants. No texting or interneting. Let your mind wander to good or bad places. Many of your thoughts will likely be along the lines of, “This is fucking stupid”. That’s ok.

Ok. Set your timer for five minutes. Now go read this (for something Buddhism-y) or this (for something Christian-ish; verses 1-14) or this (for secularists and everyone else too). Or maybe all three. Or maybe something different. The goal here is to instill in yourself a sense of wonder and beauty and awe at the world. Read them very slowly. Think about them. If you don’t dig one link, click another. If none of them do it for you, try to find one for yourself.

Ok. We’re about ten minutes in now.

Now, we’re going to meditate for two minutes. Sit comfortably with good posture, back straight, holding yourself with respect. Breath in and out through your nose. Slowly, with great care. Try to focus on your breath and nothing else.

Now we’re just shy of 15 minutes. Do what you want with the rest of your time, but keep quiet and do not go on the internet or turn on your TV. If you want to meditate for longer, feel absolutely free to do so. Chores are also helpful after meditating.