Actionaut's 5 Keys to Meditation

During the last year I’ve put a strong emphasis on upping my game in terms of my meditation practice, and I must say that anybody who thinks that they can use an app or a software program to meditate is deluding themselves, BUT certainly some kind of meditation is better than none.

The whole point of meditating is unplugging yourself from the modern mileu of pervasive media, constant social media chatter, traffic of all kinds, and noise from all directions. The solution is not yet another iPhone app, the solution is actually pretty simple, and it involves leaving all of your technology behind. I thought I would share how I’ve developed my practice over the last year and made huge strides in reducing stress, increasing creativity, feeling more alive and connected and gaining tons more clarity in my everyday life.

Actionaut Meditating These are Actionaut’s 5 keys to unlock your Buddha within:

1.  Meditation = Exercise for the Mind:   This is a crucial concept to grasp. The best thing I could recommend would be to think of meditation like going to the gym, except don’t go to the gym. Meditation is a gateway to a better you, and a critical tool you can use to unlock the healthy super-hero within.

2.  Attach your meditation practice to another healthy habit:  For me it was trail jogging. Not urban jogging, but getting the F out of the traffic and glass and finding refuge in some green-space, forest or ocean or river or whatever you have near you. If you don’t have green-space in your city, you should move as soon as you can to a city that does have green-space, because let me tell you — in the future the cities without green-space will have terrible real-estate prices and you’re wasting your money. I started using meditation as a “cool down” to my jogging routine and not only did this make me meditate more, it actually made me jog more also.

3.  Find your sacred place:   I’ll tell you my secret. As I developed my meditation practice I started noticing the nuances of nature more. I started noticing places off the beaten trails that I thought seemed peaceful and secluded, I noticed park benches with fantastic views of the city and Wellington harbor, I started noticing the places where lots of birds seemed to gather. These are the best places to meditate. I also meditate indoors as a fallback if it’s raining or whatever, but nothing beats the great outdoors. The most important thing is to make sure that it’s YOUR sacred place — you, yourself, and you, and nobody else. I’ve done the meditation courses and group practice and all of that , and those things are good to learn techniques and make friends, but once you get the techniques down, you need to find your sacred place and begin meditating in that spot at least 4 times per week for at least 20 minutes. As you do this, you’ll start developing a relationship with the place, and it will call you back to it, and this helps you stay true to your practice. Sitting in your car in traffic is not a sacred place. If you can’t find a sacred place, you need to make major lifestyle changes so that you can live somewhere near a sacred place.

4.  Focus on your technique, not a method:  It’s very hard to meditate wrong, and there’s lots of methodologies, but what’s most important is your technique, which is to say…what’s most important is not thinking while you meditate. At first I practiced what I call “mindless” meditation which I originally learned from reading a book by filmmaker David Lynch about harnessing creativity, and since then I’ve learned Pranayama technique by going to a class and now I basically combine these elements and have my own unique practice. You should also have your own unique practice and it should evolve. There are Art of Living courses, yoga workshops and even online videos and  similar stuff all over the world so go to one of these classes and learn some technique, you won’t regret it, and at the very least you’ll make some new friends. Focusing on technique is actually quite simple but very hard at first. Our minds are so active and going at hyper-speed, and you want to basically not think about ANYTHING while you’re meditating. What I do is — as thoughts arise in my mind, I ignore them and toss them aside without reading them. This might sound strange but it works. As you sit with your eyes closed and a thought about what’s on your grocery list comes up, ignore it — don’t zoom in to the vegetables on the list =– ignore the list altogether. Focus on your breath, smile, let the sun hit your face, feel the wind, and just know that it’s all good.

5. You are the wind: As I’ve developed my meditation practice I’ve discovered how connected we all are with nature, and especially with the wind. Breathing is important in meditation. Most of us are used to breathing into our chest in short breaths and worried more about not making strange noises with our noses than we are with taking deep breaths. Deep breaths are counter-intuitive because when you take a deep breath, your belly should poke out as you breath in, not as you breath out. (think about that*) I find that taking slow breaths that correspond closely with the Pranayama approach is a great way to go if you’re looking to develop your practice more. My rule is, each time I sit down to meditate, my first few deep breaths I try to hold in as long as possible until my vision gets blurry, I get a bit lightheaded and I can feel the nuances of my heartbeat. You’ll begin to realize that by taking these deep breaths you’re actually cleansing your system and releasing toxicity from your body. Not to be too gross but if you do it right you can smell it. After meditating I’ve found that you’ll have better smelling breath because you’ll have put more fresh air in and more stale air out. If you do it right, you should be making loud and strange noises when you meditate which is another reason you should find your sacred place where you feel 100% comfortable, confident, and free of social mores. As you zone out and breath deep — and assuming you’re outside — you’ll begin noticing that the wind will react in subtle ways to your breath. This might seem like some hippie talk, but I’m absolutely convinced it’s real.


These are some basics and I hope it inspires you to make it a goal in 2013 to develop your meditation practice and reconnect with your true inner being. Even though modern society wants you to think that all you are is a bunch of bits and bytes flying around in traffic from meeting to stressful meeting hacking away on keyboards and struggling to pay the bills — none of that shit actually matters that much, and if you begin meditating you’ll come to realize that what actually matters is all free. Air, nature, sunshine, your friends and loved ones, the sounds of birds and wind, and that wonderful thing called clarity.

Lord knows we could all use a bit more clarity these days. I truly wish you all the best in developing yours….

So — what do ya’ll think?  I’d love to hear what your favorite meditation techniques are.

What’s your favorite meditation place?

What are your secrets to good meditation?