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Meditation: Indirect & Direct forms

Originally written and published in my monthly newsletter, December 06 2019

In October I started meditating with Sam Harris’ daily Waking Up app and it was hard. I thought I was going to go strong until Day 15 – when it increasingly got harder. I stopped after 30 days.

Cut scene two weeks later, I happened to start taking yoga classes. Initially, it was only a way to stretch out my body – I’m training for a half marathon, and my muscles were begging to stop being pulled. I didn’t intend to make it a habit: but somehow instead of taking only one class a week, I was going to one almost every day. Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Flow, Hatha, doing it all.

A month later, I’m catching myself taking a break from my laptop to practice my crow pose for a few minutes. And it was oddly therapeutic. For someone who’s mind is always on (literally. always. all the time) it was genuinely crazy to have found something that consistently shuts out external inputs and allows me to just be still. 

From this experience, then reading more about what meditation means to different people and philosophers, I have a hypothesis that meditation can be practiced indiretly in various forms. If direct meditation through sitting in silence is difficult for certain people, it might be a good idea to practice indirect ways where you quiet your mind (journaling as writing meditation, painting as creative meditation) to get your mind used to that state, and then advancing to silent meditation.

What are your thoughts?