Strolling in the gardens of Heian Jingu, a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, that features a large pond with a meditative stepping-stone path crossing the water.
Meditation can be anything you do mindfully: for example choosing, making and enjoying tea.
A Zen garden in Kyoto, January 2016.


Meditation is what we all know we should do to exercise our minds and keep our heads clear. Yet, many of us begin with regular meditation regularly – and then stop doing it after a while.

We humans tend to be action focused, and when we get so busy we do not have time to do all the things we would like to do, we easily give up meditation. After all, it is just sitting still and breathing, and those minutes could be used in a more effective way, doing some real work or household tasks.

Paradoxically, I often find meditation gives me more time for that real work and household tasks. With a clear mind, most things get done easily, and it is also easy to prioritize. Make the decision on what needs to be done now and what can be left for later.

Also, just like we give our body different fuel regarding to its needs, meditation does not need to be the same thing every day to be regular.

The more you learn to know your mind, the better you know what it needs.

Basically, when your overall mood is not good and vital – when you feel tired, or sad, tense, worried, angry, disappointed, depressed, or any other negative emotion – the easiest way to feel better is to get your mind off the things that cause this emotion.

Sleeping does wonders because it gives a vacation from thinking and feeling. (Even if you are physically sick, you do not feel pain when you are fully asleep. It is the mind that causes the suffering.)

Simple meditation gives release too. Focusing on your breath is the easiest way to go.

And oh, how wonderful it feels to do that, just focus on breathing in and breathing out, after you have spent half a day torturing yourself with self-dismissing thoughts such as, I am not good enough, I should have done it better.

What bothers you can be hazy too. Everything is kind of okay, but there is still a shadow hindering your experience.

Even now, at this very moment, if you feel at all uneasy, or your head is aching:

Sit or lie down, take a comfortable position, relax, and focus on breathing in and breathing out for a couple of minutes.

When thoughts come into your mind, as soon as you notice them, simply release them and bring your focus back to breathing.

This is meditation. Breathing and being aware that you are breathing. (Or finding something else to focus on, and being aware of the chosen point of focus.)

Important notice for those of you who struggle with thoughts coming into mind during meditation and feeling the need to start over many times: this is how you meditate.

You decide to focus on something, you do that, at some point you lose your focus at least a little bit. Soon you notice you lost your focus, and that is when you gain back your power and you are able to focus again.

The more you do it, the easier it gets, yet there is no human being whose mind is not built for thinking. Your mind is not able to or supposed to be thought-free, blank, for long periods of time.

But when you exercise choosing your thoughts and point of focus, you have more control over your mind.

You can, in a calm and mindful manner, take your mind off the thoughts that do not serve you and promote your highest good. Instead of just going on with a preprogrammed mind, thinking thoughts that are not true yet you believe in them because you are so used to thinking them:

I am not pretty enough. I am not handsome enough. I am not talented enough. I am not skinny enough. I am not funny enough. I am not hard-working enough. I cannot. I am too tired to. I do not know the right people. People do not like me. People do not want me to succeed. I do not have enough influential friends. I do not have enough money. I am not smart enough. I do not have what it takes.

...or whatever it is that keeps you from living the life you want.

Those things are not true, by the way. They are just things you keep on thinking. And whether you think you can, or that you cannot, in either case you’ll be right. Your thoughts create your life experience.

Meditate. You will feel more alive and happy in your daily life immediately. And in the bigger picture, you notice things falling into place more easily and effortlessly. You believe in yourself more because you are not a complete slave to your silly mind any more.

Sitting still and focusing on your breath sounds really boring?

It can. Especially when you are on a high-flying mood, feeling really good. Those moments are perfect for dreaming and visualizing, and taking first steps towards new goals.

The perfect meditation exercise for this is the Pink Bubble Technique, a short and sweet meditation concentrating on something wonderful you would like to experience.