In 2004, Good Morning America’s Dan Harris experienced the last thing a TV anchor would ever want—a panic attack on live television in front of more than 5 million viewers. What many might consider a career-ending event, actually set Dan on a path which led him to meditation and in turn to writing his mega-bestseller 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story. In other words, the obstacle is the way. (Or as the Zen saying has it, the obstacle is the path).
Dan’s new book Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book is out this week, and we interviewed him for DailyStoic.com (read the whole thing here). Our favorite part of the interview is his advice on meditating, which is a valuable endeavor whether you’re an aspiring Buddhist or Stoic. And best of all, much of his advice works just as well for meditating as it does for journaling.
“Find a reasonably quiet place (it doesn’t have to be pristine – and if it’s a little noisy, just wear headphones).
· Set the alarm on your phone for one minute
· Sit comfortably with your back reasonably straight (so as to prevent an unintentional nap – although, to be honest, worse things could happen)
·Bring your full attention to the feeling of your breath coming in and going out. Pick a spot where’s it’s most prominent: your nose, your chest, your belly, wherever…
· Whenever you get distracted – which you will, a million times – just gently start over.”
And his parting advice for us also applies as much to meditating as it does to journaling and practicing philosophy:
“In my experience, it’s a mistake to strive to achieve a certain experience. Often the striving prevents you from getting wherever you’re hoping to go. The goal in meditation is not to reach some special state; it’s to see whatever is happening in your mind clearly. Why is this important? Because when you see your thoughts and feelings clearly, they have less power to yank you around.”
Read our full interview with Dan Harris here and check out his two wonderful books, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book