The Basics of Mindfulness Meditation
INTERESTED IN MEDITATION, BUT DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET STARTED?
Mindfulness meditation is a simple, secular, scientifically validated exercise for your brain.
In this two-week course you’ll learn how to meditate with skeptical newsman Dan Harris and one of the greatest American meditation teachers, Joseph Goldstein.
Every day, delivered straight to your mobile device, you’ll get video lessons that teach the essentials, and guided audio meditations that walk you through the practice in the simplest possible way. Also, because self-discipline isn't always enough, you’ll also get a living, breathing coach to help you follow through.
Just in case you’re worried, meditation does not require a lot of the things people think it might. For example, you don’t have to sit in a particular position. (Unless you want to, of course.) You also don’t have to light incense, chant, or believe in anything in particular. There’s nothing to join, no special outfits to wear.
To be clear, meditation is not going to solve all your problems. But it might make you 10% happier. Give meditation a try by listening to a sample guided meditation from the course below.
ABOUT THE COURSE
After having a nationally televised panic attack, Dan *knew* he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, he realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business, but had also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.
He stumbled upon an effective way to rein in that voice, something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation, a tool that research suggests can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain.
Dan wrote 10% Happier because, when he was getting started as a meditator, he couldn't find many introductory books that were geared towards skeptics -or people raised in the age of irony. Since the book came out, a lot of people have been asking how they, too, can get started. Hence this course.
THE BASICS: COURSE OUTLINE
WITH DAN HARRIS and JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
DAY 1: GETTING STARTED
Drop any preconceptions you may have, and get started
DAY 2: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I can't stop thinking. Is that a problem? Am I too "Type A" to meditate? How do I know if I'm doing it right?
DAY 3: BEHIND THE WATERFALL
Explore the biggest benefit of meditation: the ability to know what's happening in your head - right now - without getting carried away by it.
DAY 4: HOW DO I KNOW I'M BEING MINDFUL?
How can we tell when we're being mindful? And why is mindfulness useful?
DAY 5: DISCOMFORT, SLEEPINESS, RESTLESSNESS
Unbearable itch? Check. Screaming back? Check. Learn how to deal with discomfort during meditation.
DAY 6: RESPOND, DON'T REACT
Mindfulness as a superpower; the antidote to mindless behavior.
DAY 7: HOW NOT TO BE YANKED AROUND BY YOUR EMOTIONS
The ability to respond, not react is easier said than done. Here's how to put it into practice (at least 10% of the time).
THE (SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN) BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
Dan had always assumed that meditation was bullshit.
But then he heard about the explosion of scientific research into mindfulness. This research is still in its early stages, but it's strongly suggestive of an almost laughably long list of benefits. These include: lowering levels of stress hormones, reducing your blood pressure, and boosting your immune system. Meditation has also been shown to mitigate depression, anxiety, ADHD, and age-related cognitive decline.
A study at Harvard found that beginners who meditated for just eight weeks literally grew their gray matter in the areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion. Meanwhile, the area of the brain associated with stress shrank.
Meditation can also be kryptonite for the voice in your head – your ego, your inner narrator, the nonstop conversation you’re having with yourself. This is the voice that compels us to do the stuff we’re most ashamed of – like eating the 18th cookie, firing off that angry email or – in Dan's case - going to warzones without considering the psychological consequences, getting depressed without even knowing it, and then blindly self-medicating.
Over two weeks, this course will teach you how to meditate in the simplest way possible, without any of the woo-woo, and without using the word 'namaste'. Along the way, your personal coach will help get your questions answered and help you stick to your goals.
Sample Lesson from Day 2 ("Frequently Asked Questions"):
This course is for anyone interested in the benefits of meditation, without any of the baloney.
In the 1940’s, if you told someone you were going running, they probably would have asked, "Who's chasing you?"
Then what happened? The scientists swooped in, proved the benefits of exercise, and now we all do it – and if we don’t, we feel guilty about it.
Right now, meditation is where exercise was several decades ago; it’s the next big public health revolution. As a result of the new science, meditation is now being adopted by some surprising people: corporate executives, elite athletes, the US Marines - and even this fidgety, skeptical newsman.
Used effectively, meditation can be kryptonite for the voice in your head. If it can work for a fidgety, skeptical newsman… it can work for you.
ABOUT THE EXPERTS
Dan Harris is co-anchor of both Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America on ABC News. Before that, he was the anchor of the Sunday edition of World News. He regularly contributes stories for such shows as Nightline, 20/20, World News with David Muir and the weekday edition of GMA. Harris has reported from all over the planet, 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 America's faith scene, with a focus on evangelicals.
After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan found meditation and then wrote 10% Happier, as a way to convince fellow skeptics to give the practice a shot.
Dan has been at ABC News for 15 years. Before that, he was in local news in Boston and Maine. He grew up outside of Boston and currently lives with his wife, Bianca, and baby boy, Alexander, in New York City.
Joseph first became interested in Buddhism as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in 1965. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma and Tibet.
He has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization's guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.
He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.
Dan Harris is the co-anchor of ABC News' "Nightline" and the weekend edition of "Good Morning America,". After covering the religion beat for ABC News, he discovered meditation and wrote the bestselling book 10% Happier. He's been evangelizing to skeptical, scientifically-minded folks ever since.
Joseph has been teaching meditation since 1974, and was one of the first teachers to bring mindfulness to America. He is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts.
YOUR PERSONAL COACH:
Beginning meditators have a TON of questions. So, you'll have access to a real, live coach - an actual human being who can answer your questions (usually, "Am I doing this right?") and help keep you in the game.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"Excellent content - much more practical, down to earth, accessible than many attempts to teach meditation. It would be the first thing I would recommend to anyone interested."
- Sherrill G.
"I learned that I'd been making it too hard. That meditation is a lot simpler than I thought."
- Pieta B.
"I appreciated Joseph's expertise and Dan's real-life applications. The live coaching is always helpful and I feel necessary. "
- Raina C.
In his #1 New York Times Bestselling book 10% Happier. ABC News anchor Dan Harris explores how his on-air panic attack in 2004 prompted him to search for a way to defang the voice in his head. He found meditation, and it's helped him be less yanked around by his emotions.