This audio clip is from episode #72 with Dan Harris, originally published on September 23, 2019.
Advice for new meditators, misconceptions about meditation, and the difference between changes in state vs. changes in trait [48:00]
It’s not about stopping thoughts
- The whole game of meditation is not to stop thinking (which is impossible)
- It’s to notice when you’ve become distracted and start again and again and again
Altering traits not states
⇒ Peter recommends this book about meditation: Altered Traits
- Peter says the feeling of meditating in the moment usually isn’t pleasant (but it can be sometimes)
- So if you are focused on the transient change in your state (feeling blissful, lowering your heart rate, not stressing out), you will probably get frustrated and feel like it is not working
- But realizing that the real benefit is the change in trait (i.e., your attitude the rest of the day) is what truly matters
“If I meditate for 20 minutes in a day, I’m not meditating for those 20 minutes. I’m meditating for the other 23 hours and 40 minutes.” —Peter Attia
*Advice to new meditators*
- The point of meditation is not to feel any specific way… it’s to feel whatever you’re feeling right now so that you learn how not to let your feelings push you around
- The real world application of that is that you’re better at life: “We don’t meditate to get better at meditation, we meditate to get better at life.”
- The thing to know primarily for meditators is don’t get hung up on feeling calm or blissful
- Just tune in on your ability to see clearly whatever’s happening right now (distracting thoughts, knee pain, an itch?)
Real world application (Example)
- What we’re training over time is the ability to notice that anger, for example, has come upon us
- And can you in that moment resist the urge to say something that’s going to ruin the next 48 hours of your marriage?
Dan Harris is a correspondent for ABC News, co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America, and formerly the co-anchor of Nightline. He has reported from all over the world, covering wars in Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, and Iraq, and producing investigative reports in Haiti, Cambodia, and the Congo. He has also spent many years covering religion in America, despite the fact that he is agnostic.
He wrote the book 10% Happier, a #1 New York Times bestseller, then launched the Ten Percent Happier podcast and co-founded the Ten Percent Happier meditation app. He is currently working on a new book about kindness and compassion with an estimated release date of 2021.