Blood Sugar

#233: Dan Harris: How to Meditate & Meditation Techniques for Beginners

by Deanna Mutzel, DC

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What Others Are Saying About This Interview

Favorite Quote:

“A front row seat at the rich pageant of human neuroses that stand in the way of adopting this manifestly healthy habit and so I decided to write this book…”

Books Discussed Herein

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book

10% Happier: http://amzn.to/2sppzC2

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

Connect with Dan

10percenthappier.com

Show Notes

 

 

05:08 Meditators are more sensitive to the impacts of food, sleep and environment upon mental acuity.

07:26 The main thing that meditation does for beginners is boost self-awareness. Your urges are able to pass without action.

09:28 Dan created an app called 10% Happier to teach people how to meditate. It includes a course by neuroscientist Dr. Jed Brewer.

10:21 Meditation allows us to respond wisely rather than respond blindly. The moments we tend to regret most are those where we responded blindly. Dan consumes no sugar. With his addict’s brain, he cannot do moderation.

14:09 Our ancestors had a hypervigilant pleasure seeking and pain avoiding ego as a survival tool to avoid danger, find adequate food and sexual partners.

15:48 Mindfulness is the ability to step out of the traffic, the cacophony of your own mind. Meditation helps you boost that skill.

17:00 Four years ago Dan wrote a book called 10% happier. He thought that once people read the book, they would start meditating. That did not happen. Forming healthy habits is very challenging. Dan started a company called 10% Happier to teach people how to meditation with an app.

18:56 Dan’s book Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics is about the cross country road trip he took with Jeff Warren, meditation teacher. His goal was 3-part: tell a fun story, find out what is stopping people, who want to meditate, from meditating and helping them do it, and teach basic meditation.

20:19 The two biggest obstacles to meditating are “I can’t clear my mind.” and “I don’t have time for this.”

21:10 ___________ is my meditation. Maybe you can do an activity that is meditative, but most of us do not. Meditation is systematically trying to pay attention to what is happening now and returning to that moment with each distraction.

23:14 Meditation is sitting quietly, eyes closed and paying attention to the feeling of your breath coming in and going out. When your mind wanders, refocus on the breath. Seeing that you are distracted and starting again is meditation. When you see it, it no longer owns you as much.

24:43 The point is not feel calm. The point is to learn how to see clearly what is happening in your head so you can navigate it in a more supple way. Make a mental note of striving or desire and go back to the breath.

28:38 Anger is a passing state of mind. We have a choice to churn the emotion or let it pass and make a wise decision about the best way to handle the situation. Situations can be defused more quickly.

30:42 Mindfulness and Transcendental Meditation are most common today. Mindfulness is a secularized version of one type of Buddhist meditation, Vipassana. Mindfulness meditation has been studied extensively by science. Vedic and transcendental meditation grew out of Hinduism. They use a mantra, a word that you repeat to yourself silently and focus upon it.  Vedic/TM is more calming because it is a concentration exercise. Mindfulness meditation is about embracing the full cacophony so it does not control you.

35:25 Mindfulness meditation helps you to become aware. In a way, you are waking up. In service of waking up, there are a multitude of practices that you can do.

36:43 Walking meditation can be done informally. Feel your legs moving. Notice what you are seeing. Tune into the physical sensations of the activity. A formal walking meditation is a very slow walk across the room tuning into physical sensations. This is a good one for fidgety people.

39:17 Meditation is counterintuitive to type-A people. Approach with an attitude of interest and exploration. The goal is to be more aware of what is happening in your own head so you are not so yanked around by it.

40:07 Psychedelic mushrooms may be a mindfulness accelerant.. Dan hopes that we can learn more about the efficacy and it can be delivered in a safe environment with medical supervision.

43:40 Dan doesn’t do woo woo at this point, but he does not rule it out.

46:13 Dan’s Morning Routine: Upon waking he stretches, showers and meditates for 15 minutes. Sometimes he uses a guided meditation from his app. What you do the night before is important. Eat healthy. Get to bed on time. He tries to meditate, combined, 2 hours each day.

50:10 Dan’s Elevator Speech: Have you ever noticed yourself, or those around you, getting carried away by emotions in a way that is not constructive? Meditation is a great way to transcend political tribalism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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