I started meditating over 4 years ago. I slowly progressed from doing 5 to 10 to 30-45, and now nothing short of 60 minutes of meditation. Anything less is not enough to start the day with. I even took a journey into a 10 day silent meditation retreat that was near 115 hours of sitting meditation in 10 days. Below is the progression of guided meditations and techniques I have done to express the steps of starting small and building the practice. It is also a suggestion with beginning meditation - where to start, what type to start with - and diving into when recommended to start more in depth techniques.
Although I had experiences with meditations in highschool and in summer 2016 during my Jewish Birthright Experience, the first relatively consistent meditation practice began around 2016, sophomore year of college, after the Birthright trip (Now that I think about it, that meditation in the desert when we stayed in Bedouin tents may have initiated the growing interest). I would listen to the 5 - 10 minute meditations on just breathing and taking time out of the day. It slowly moved into 10 minutes in the morning or listening to a sleep meditation at night until I purchased the Headspace year subscription with meditations for various moods, situations, or circumstances. There was a sport pack that included many sport-focused meditations. I would listen to them prior to basketball practices and games. There were also meditations for studying, test anxieties, social experiences, and more. These later expanded into more activities - eating, walking, exercising - that one could be mindful during. There were a few times I would listen to a walking meditation while heading to class. As I am typing this and looking up Headspace, it looks like it really has added many more features that may be beneficial to look into.
I recommend this app to start out with meditation and mindfulness as it will begin to show all the ways - relaxation, mental toughness, creativity, intentions, etc. - one can practice meditation.
Towards the end of my senior year of college, I felt it was time to explore other meditations and that eventually led me to Vishen Lakhiani's book, The Code of The Extraordinary Mind, that my mother gifted me with for my 21st birthday (or maybe earlier). I tested out an app like Insight Timer, but I was not ready at the time to simply sit in silence or with ambient sounds. I enjoyed the guided meditations, which led me to the...
It is explained in the book, but I downloaded the Omvana app at the time which had the 20 minute audio. The meditation combines different meditation uses explained throughout the book. Vishen shares different activities, like the 3 most important questions in which the reader writes down personal responses to (1) experiences they want to have in the next 3-5 years (time based on Google study that we overestimate what we can do in 1 year, but underestimate what we can do in 3-5 years), (2) what areas one wants to grow and learn in, and (3) how one wants to contribute to the world. I review and revise my own answers at least once a year. In the book he also talks about gratitude, forgiveness, and setting intentions that go into the meditation. In the 20 minutes, Vishen guides the listener through (1) connection and compassion in which one generates a sense of love for someone or something and cultivating (2) gratitude where one visualizes the gratitude expanding from oneself out to the home, neighborhood, state, country, and world. Then (3) one recalls an incident or person that triggered a negative response and practices forgiving oneself and the other person. After these phases, the meditator (4) envisions their life 3-5 years from now in different categories of life - health, career, relationships, etc. With this in end in mind, then (5) how would your perfect day unfold. Finally, (6) one asks for a blessing from the Universe to go forth and have an amazing day.
I remember practicing this one often during the summer of 2018 when I was in Jerusalem helping Tamir Goodman at his basketball camp.
I think this meditation is a great beginner to intermediate level meditation as, at least in my case, it encompassed greater life questions and visions. I think some phases, if not all, require a little bit more time. 20 minutes sometimes just doesn't seem like enough to really get a good session in.
I recommend this app once you read Vishen's book or at least thought through and personally defined the 3 most important questions and have a clear vision of your future.
Dr. Joe Dispenza Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself Meditation
At the end of August, beginning of September 2018 is when I got introduced to and told "you must read Dr. Joe Dispenza's book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself," which has a meditation written at the end of the book or one could purchase the audios. This is when I slowly - with moderate to really intense resistance - began hour long guided meditations. At the time, it was very challenging for me to sit in a chair for this long. In hindsight, I laugh at how complicated I sometimes made it.
It focuses on observing the space around the body, becoming conscious of things one unconsciously does so they can be unwired, as well as rehearse ways one does want to think, feel, and perform in the world. This is a very brief explanation and deserves/requires further explanation, so please look into Dr. Joe Dispenza's work.
I recommend this meditation and Dr. Joe's meditation once really committed to making a change in one's life, whether that be with health, relationships, or anything else. The work requires great attention to detail and effort to understand and then implement. But with practice, can become very fruitful. When it's time, you'll know.
RTT for Abundance
As I was practicing Dr. Joe's meditation, I was still following Mindvalley and in December 2018 was gifted the Mindvalley course Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance. The course or 'quest' covered discovering limiting beliefs, abundant beliefs, and abundance in the fields of health, wealth, and relationships. In each section there was about a 20 minute hypnotic meditation to install more empowering beliefs. During the 35 day course and a for some time afterwards, I would practice it in the morning and/or evening while also practicing the Dispenza meditation.
In continuing the whole inward journey and fascination with meditation, I then got Mindvalley's course Lifebook (which I wrote about here). This really helped with addressing further into beliefs I had, what I envision to happen, the purpose for that vision, and strategy to implement in 12 categories of my life. In helping the student uncover what is really desired, there were some visualization meditations used during the course.
Dr. Joe Dispenza Becoming Supernatural Meditations
As I was finishing up the Lifebook course, I dove further into Dr. Dispenza's work with his latest book, Becoming Supernatural, which revealed additional meditations that I practiced and still practice to this day - Tuning into New potentials (~ 50 min), Pineal Gland (~85 min), Blessing of the Energy Centers (~60 min), Kaleidoscope (~ 2 hours), and some more. Each one has it's own aim whether to create a new potential, heal, and much deeper, mystical aims.
I really enjoy these meditations and Dr. Joe's approach in general as he uses science to explain it all. There is no woo to it, just furthering one's understanding of scientific fields like epigenetics, new biology, psychoneuroimmunology, and quantum physics.
I highly recommend these meditations as one reads and really understands the what, why, and how to execute them. I'd like to repeat that this is basic explanation and requires further study. I say this because there are periods during a meditation practice that one may think they're not doing it right or that it's not for them, but these resistant thoughts may be part of the process and the body's resistance to change due to its addiction to habitually think and feel familiar ways.
December 4 - 15, 2019, I attended a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat that really took my meditation practice and experience to the next level. This technique had two key components to it: Awareness and Equanimity. The meditator is to increase awareness starting the first 3 days on the breath and the triangular area from the top of the nose to the top of the upper lip. While focusing awareness on the inhale and exhale any thought is to be directed to this focal point. The focus for the remainder of the days transitioned to scanning the sensations from the soft part on the top of the head (Anterior Fontanelle) to the toes and then up from the toes to the head. Whenever the mind would wander - which it most definitely will attempt to because the body is uncomfortable out of its routine - it required awareness to notice that it was wandering and then to bring it back to the breath. The equanimous part is being objective toward the thoughts and sensations that would arise. This means not to emotionally react when there was an unpleasant thought, if the mind was wandering for several minutes, the pain in the body, or the uncomfortable sensations. There were some days I felt my legs were going to explode (lol!), but during that intense experience I can assure you I did whatever I could to experience it objectively, naming it highly intense, turbulent, gross, but never bad.
A reason this approach heals any unpleasant addictive thought patterns or ways of thinking - while building one's faculties of awareness, concentration, and other important skills (especially in modern times) - is because, well, one get out of one's own way. There are things we don't understand or problems in our lives we try to solve, but as Einstein articulated accurately, "no problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it."
In addition, we can get caught up in the problem by reacting to it, calling it my problem, my headache, or my whatever. The body naturally wants health, so the more we can get out of the way, the more we can become aware of incomplete or limiting beliefs, that we can then change to more empowering ones. This can heal illnesses, muscular tightness, rashes, and other diseases that often manifest on the body as a result of limiting beliefs created subconsciously from an early age. For example, whenever there is something you are uncertain about, it can provoke a pacifying behavior or an unpleasant thought pattern that runs and runs. Practicing this technique, simply observing (furthering the example), oh when this thought arises there is an impulse to bite fingernails, builds the ability to notice the thoughts that trigger that response and then realize I don't have to react that way as it doesn't serve me anymore.
I think this is a very powerful meditation highly useful for the current day and age with various attention grabbing things from the phone to television to even, paradoxically, self-help and meditation techniques. It really helps with focusing attention on what is important, as well as equipping the meditator with a tool to use in the face of uncertainty, discomfort, pain, change, and so on.
Life circumstances like these will no longer be run away from, resisted, or reacted to, but rather embraced fully, responded to because your consciousness has elevated and the way you approach these situations has expanded.
I highly recommend learning this meditation technique, but it must be learned from a teacher at a retreat like the one I went to called Southwest Vipassana Meditation Center,
Since then I have been learning to be more flexible with the meditations I practice. There was a period I felt a little overwhelm with having many techniques, but now I have progressed to choose based on what I feel in the morning or to choose the night before.
Each meditation is a connection with God, with One. Some days I like to create, generate an emotion of abundance, and/or simply practice Vipassana which observes things as they are. Since I like to turn off the phone on the sabbath, it is a day to practice Vipassana prior to prayers. In addition, it's like I have cultivated an inner clock and can pretty much know when it's been 1 hour
Other Meditations practiced throughout:
This is one I do several times a week as it kind of combines the Tuning into New Potentials meditation and the Vipassana one. It does not really combine them, so what I mean is that it is a 60 minute audio but only the first 25 minutes are guided. The remainder of the audio has just the music, so I have been using that time to practice Vipassana...best of both!
These are fun to do from time to time as they are no more than 15 minute long meditations and cover profound topics
I heard Dr. Morguelan speak in March 2020 at Mindvalley Live in LA. His short 20 minute meditation was unique and quite energizing.
I have not yet tried this meditation but heard good things from Tim Ferris about it.
I mentioned this above. It has many different guided meditations as well as music and a timer to create one's own meditation presets.
This is a jewish meditation where one can pretty much just talk with God however they'd like. It is unstructured and spontaneous but has its own powerful effects.
In the book Judaic Mysticism, there is a chapter on meditations, one being the One-Flame Meditation. It involves sitting relaxed with your spine supported against a wall or piece of furniture. Once relaxed and breathing slowly, the meditator is to light a small candle and place it in front of herself. While breathing slowly, observe the flame and all its colors expanding and contracting. For at least 30 minutes, allow the mind to softly focus on the flame, slowly allowing the "vision to travel outside the flame into the velvety darkness that surrounds it." The practice consists of traveling one's focus on and off the flame.
What I'd like to learn more about
As I develop the practices and taking them into the day-to-day life beyond, I am interested in learning more Jewish meditations and how they differ.
It's an exciting journey to begin and a rich practice to continuously improve on. I hope this progression of my own meditation experience over the past 4-5 years encourages you in starting or advancing your own practice.
If you have any questions or would like some assistance/coaching, please feel free to reach out to me.