Is Meditating Actually Being Lazy?
We live in a society that highly values people who are chronically stuck in high gear, always busy doing something. In contrast, it seems that one of the great sins in our society is indulging in feeling happily lazy.
But - when you meditate, you just sit there and do nothing. Isn't that being ... lazy?
Traditional long-form meditation might seem lazy - but meditation in practice is actually quite demanding as you struggle to quiet your mind and hold still and do nothing at all for half an hour. It's not that easy!
Back in the 1960s a little book came out called "The Lazy Man's Guide To Enlightenment" and ever since then, I've loved this title and general idea - that in order to achieve spiritual progress, we don't have to achieve or accomplish or do anything all all.
Is it really true that we don't have to push and struggle, we don't have to manipulate our own inner experience into submission, in the name of spiritual progress? Can we advance spiritually and reap the multiple wellness benefits of meditation without all the discipline and struggle?
We're continually advancing other aspects of our lives to be less difficult and take up less of our valuable time. Can we do this with inner growth and awakening as well?
I've explored this question in depth, and here's my conclusion: Now that we have tech to help us, it has indeed become possible to gain much of the benefit of classic meditation, without all the classic struggle. I know a lot of meditators won't like this idea. But I also know that a great many of us will be quite thankful that tech can help us in our meditative explorations.
Using carefully-crafted audio-visual guidance, we can now tap tech to help us effortlessly ease up, become more centered, and open our hearts and minds to deep rejuvenation and insight.
The Quiet Your Mind App aims to make meditation fit your hectic schedule, and also to make meditating effortless and enjoyable and even fun. We offer traditional long-form guidance if and when you want it - and we also offer quite a number of guided short-form meditations that you can insert into your day and enjoy, in every every free moment.
You can jump in and install the app for free, or explore my three main books on this topic:
What Is Short-form Meditation?
"Quick Dips Into Deep Contemplation"
In classic Sanskrit texts from ancient India, three distinct levels of mindful mental focusing are identified. The first and easiest is called 'concentration' which all of us know and practice regularly - focused attention is what enables us to devote our full power of manifestation right where it's most needed. When we can't concentrate, we get nothing done, nor do we look deeply into anything. ADHD is one manifestation of the inability to concentrate. And learning to be more mindful always requires managing our attention so that it calms down and becomes centered on one focal point. Usually in meditation, this focus is on the breathing.
The second level of mindful focusing is called 'contemplation' in which we focus attention toward some particular object, theme, or idea, and allow the power of association to be stimulated by the object or theme. We look deeply into various aspects of our chosen focus, contemplating with deep reflection.
The third level of mindful focusing is called 'meditation' in which all thoughts become quiet, and the mind is simply present with the object - or expands to include the 'whole at once'. This is the ultimate experience of deep meditation that spontaneously emerges, and which recharges our inner batteries with hope, insight, trust, and renewed vigor.
Short-Form Approach To Inner Awakening
Most people in our society would love to be able to meditate and reach this 'quiet mind' state regularly. The emotional and health benefits are well-documented. But traditionally, such meditation requires about 20 minutes minimum, as the scattered focus of a busy mind is brought under control by a hopefully benign ego. The attention is focused on a point, then allowed to associate with words and thoughts for a while, and then hopefully brought into a quiet-mind state of full meditation.
But for most people in our society, regularly sitting for half an hour, once or twice a day, and succeeding in quieting the mind through long-form traditional meditation isn't even a possibility. Most of us simply can't do it - a lot of us have tried traditional meditation, and most have given up and quit. That's the reality of our situation, as I've observed from 50 years of teaching meditation.
So. I've been asking the key question - what particular aspects and functions of traditional meditation are actually most valuable in contemporary society? And how can we advance these functions so that everyone can master them?
While working in corporate America developing mindfulness programs for at-work application, I found myself pushed to develop shorter and shorter units of guided experience, to fit into a hectic employee's or executive's workday. Following a number of years of experimentation, this research has evolved into the Quiet Your Mind book, program and app.
Whenever you have just a few minutes free, the Quiet Mind app will guide your attention almost instantly toward one of many focal experiences which generate the feeling of inner calm, balance, clarity, joy, and expansion.
How This Quiet Mind Process Works
The Quiet Mind experience is accomplished through generating a quick shift in cognition from thinking mode, into sensation mode. Rather than taking fifteen to twenty minutes to make this shift, the audio and visual guidance provided by the Quiet Your Mind app helps you instantly refocus in mindful meditative directions.
Moving through this quick shift once an hour might not generate the total pay-off of an hour of solitary meditation - but it will definitely deliver a mini-meditation experience that helps you feel more 'here' and calm and positive inside your own skin. And each time you do this, you get better at it!
The core of this Quiet Your Mind program are 24 six-minute guided meditations which combine concentration, contemplation, and meditation. If you return at least once a day for a 2-minute or 6 minute short-form meditation, you will progressively develop new mental habits that build day by day into a deep meditative practice. And when you have more time, try one of our 8 longer Audio Adventures.
You'll find loads of different types of guided experiences awaiting you on this app, each of which aims your attention inward toward a unique experience of your personal core of being. If you have time for a half-hour meditation each day, great. If not, this app provides you with all you'll need in order to use short-form meditation to improve and expand your daily experience of life.