Practice Meditation + Mindfulness

Mission progress

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts and one of the world’s leading advocates for mindfulness training. He’s demonstrated the phenomenal health benefits of integrating meditation into our daily lives and in this Note we’ll learn about meditation—what it is, how we can rock it and what we can gain from doing so.

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Why Meditate?

Working with Thoughts and Emotions

Why Meditate? According to Ricard, the ultimate reason is to transform ourselves so we can transform our world. That works for me! In this Note, we check out my favorite Big Ideas on working out our mindfulness muscles, looking at the power of neuroplasticity and highlighting the fact that it’s *all* about the consistent practice, working on our consciousness thought after thought and emotion by emotion.

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The Miracle of Mindfulness

An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Written in 1975, The Miracle of Mindfulness is one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s earliest books. It was originally written as a long letter to one of his main staff members in South Vietnam—encouraging him during very challenging times to continue their work of “engaged Buddhism.” It’s beautifully written and packed with wisdom. Big Ideas we explore include what qualifies as a miracle (hint: it’s ALL a miracle), choosing to sit or stand but avoiding the wobble, how to balance on top of a bamboo pole and three questions to ponder.

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Conquest of Mind

The Conquest of Mind is an amazing book written by an equally amazing man: Eknath Easwaran. We use Easwaran’s translations for the Bhagavad Gita and The Dhammapada and in this book he provides all kinds of great ideas on how we can win “the war within.” In the Note we’ll explore the fact that we don’t want to be heroes in the beginning and then sneak out the back door, the fact that we can ALL change, and the miracles that can be created by hard work.

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The New Science of Personal Transformation

Mindsight. It's the seventh sense you didn't know you had! Can you pay attention to the inner workings of your own mind? That's what Dr. Dan Siegel, one of the world's leading neuroscientists + psychotherapists, helps us do in this phenomenal book. We'll explore Big Ideas ranging from the basics of brain hygiene to the power of integration and how to live with more flexibility and coherence as we leverage the best of modern neuroscience.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Stillness Is the Key

This is our fourth Note on one of Ryan Holiday’s books. Ryan is one of my absolute favorite writers. One of the testimonials in the front of the book perfectly captures my sentiment. Screenwriter and director Brian Koppelman (Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen and Billions) puts it this way: “I don’t have many rules in life, but one I never break is: If Ryan Holiday writes a book, I read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.” (btw: Cal Newport’s the first testimonial. He says: “Some authors give advice. Ryan Holiday distills wisdom. This book is a must read.”) Penguin Random House sent me an advance copy of this book. As I knew it would be: It’s fantastic. Of course, the book’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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25th Anniversary Edition

Ellen Langer is one of the world's leading researchers studying the science of well-being. This book was was published over 25 years ago—before the concept of “mindfulness” went mainstream. Ellen takes a Western scientific orientation to mindfulness (vis-a-vis an Eastern mystical) as she challenges us to overcome our mindless patterns, let go of false limits, focus on the process and notice all the wonders present in our lives.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Everyday Zen

Love and Work

Charlotte Joko Beck was the founder and former head teacher at the Zen Center in San Diego. I bought this book 10 years ago but it wasn’t until Eleanor recently pulled it off the shelf and dropped it on the ground that I picked it up and read it. (Very Zen, eh? lol) The book is a collection of edited talks Joko gave at her Zen center. It was published in 1989 when she was 82. (She passed away at 94 in 2011.) Fun fact: Joko started practicing Zen at 48. She went on to become an influential figure in the American Zen movement, founding her own approach called Ordinary Mind. So… If you feel a little “behind” in any aspect of your life, take heart! :) The book is packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a few of my favorites with some practical wisdom we can apply to our lives TODAY.

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The Relaxation Revolution

Did you know you can alter your gene’s expression through mind body practices like meditation? Yep. And Harvard MD Herbert Benson has the remarkable scientific data to prove it. In this Note, we’ll learn more about his “Relaxation Response” (think: opposite of “Fight-or-Flight Response”), why you should care about it and how to rock it.

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Success Through Stillness

Meditation Made Simple

Russell Simmons is often called the godfather of hip-hop. He’s a fascinating guy and entrepreneur. This book is a quick, straight-to-the-point guide to meditation written in a style that makes you feel like you’re having a chat with Russell. Super simple, fun, practical. Big Ideas we explore include: how to deal with the #1 excuse for not meditating, and the #2 excuses + how meditation benefits your focus + creativity and how make your amygdala quit acting like an annoying car alarm.

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The Power of Now

A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

This is Eckhart Tolle's first uber-best-selling classic where we learn how to watch the thinker, reconnect with Divine Intelligence, accept whatever's happening to us as if we had chosen it (that's a *really* Big Idea), clock time vs. psychological time (a lot of peeps think that just b/c you’re in the Now you can't set goals… not so much… we'll look at what Eckhart's really teaching on this), and the importance of taking responsibility in our lives.

Locked +1s

#20 How to Stop Thinking

The #1 Tip on How to Master this Important Lost Art
Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading experts on optimal breathing. When I interviewed him recently, he made a very interesting
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#320 You, Buddha and Your Fundies

Why Buddha Kept Meditating Post-Enlightenment
In No Mud, No Lotus, Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that when he was a young monk he thought the Buddha never suffered. Then, as he matured, he
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#335 Meet Your Telomeres

Your New BFFs - Think: Aglets + Offensive Linemen
Elizabeth Blackburn won a Nobel Prize for her research on telomerase — the enzyme that nourishes our telomeres. She wrote a book called
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#394 Start Again

And Again and Again and Again…
In our last +1, we talked about the renowned Vipassana meditation teacher S.N. Goenka and his mantra: “Work diligently. Diligently. Work
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#395 Strong Determination

How’s Yours?
Continuing our theme of S.N. Goenka-inspired wisdom, let’s chat about something he calls “Strong Determination.” First, context.
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#396 Impermanence

"Anicca, Anicca, Anicca"
Continuing our fun little recap of wisdom picked up at an S.N. Goenka Vipassana retreat, let’s talk about impermanence. We’ll do so via
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#452 The Space

Between Stimulus and Response
Viktor Frankl was a remarkable human being. He was a leading psychotherapist before suffering the horrors of Nazi concentration camps. He
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#611 AI vs. HC

A Quick Accounting
In our last +1, we talked about Byron Katie’s investment strategy and putting your focus on the most important stock market out there:

#670 Meditation’s Instant ROI

Trouble Falling Asleep? Cut It in Half!
Meditation. At this point, most of us are pretty aware of the fact that it’s been proven to be pretty epic for our well-being. Congrats,
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#671 The Magic Pill of Meditation

Do You Take It? (Science Says…)
In our last +1, we talked about meditation’s instant ROI. Quick recap: Stanford science says that if you have trouble sleeping, you can
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#672 Just Brush Your Brain

Meditation’s 1 + 2 + 3 + 4
In our last couple of +1s, we had fun looking at how to cut 15 minutes off the time it takes us to fall asleep by popping the magical
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#677 Interbeing

Qi Gong, Thich Nhat Hanh, You, Me, and Rain Drops
In our last +1 we talked about those two 50-pound sandbags I got to carry back to the car yesterday after someone decided to go Beastmode on
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#709 The Optimus Meditation

Aka the Optimize Virtue Meditation
In our last +1, we had fun with our virtual Optimus Medallion. The first batch of medallions hot off the Optimize mint (hah!) will be
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#710 Virtue Mantras

(Super Helpful!) Tools for the Mind
In our last couple +1s, we talked about the 11 virtues that show up on our shiny new Optimus medallions and make an appearance in our
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#711 More on Mantras

via Eknath Easwaran (the Indian Joseph Campbell)
In our last +1, we chatted about mantras and took (yet!) another trip down Etymology Lane where we discovered that the word mantra literally
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#712 How to Train Your Mind

Remember the Elephant’s Trunk
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been having fun working with some tools for the mind—also known as mantras. Today I’d like to tap into
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#859 The Invisible Gorilla

And the Spotlight of Your Attention
Have you ever heard about the Invisible Gorilla? Insert1: Spoiler alert coming for those who haven’t heard of it yet! Insert2: Watch this

#941 The 5 D’s of Meditation

Do It with Dignity, a Defined Anchor and Strong Determination Then Do It Again
Yesterday I led a session with our Coaches on our fifth Fundamental: Be Present. (Preceded by Eat + Move + Sleep + Breathe and to be

#299 The Inner-net vs. The Internet

One Has All the Real Answers
In Life Visioning, Michael Beckwith tells us we need to turn off the Internet and plug into the Inner-net. We THINK the Internet has all
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#1243 Eudaimantra

How to Extend Sovereignty Over the Mind
Earlier today I wrapped up a few Time Blocks of (pre-inputs) Deep Work (3.9 hours to be precise!) as I finished my Note on Mark Hyman’s
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#392 Blissipline

Bliss + Discipline = Secret Sauce
Michael Beckwith coined one of my favorite words: blissipline. Two parts: Bliss + Discipline. This brilliant thought from Beckwith captures
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#393 Work Diligently, Patiently and Persistently

And You’re Bound to Be Successful
In our last +1, we talked about the power of blissipline. Bliss + Discipline = Boom! When I think about bringing discipline to our lives
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#53 Little by Little

The Buddha on How to Optimize
One of my favorite gems from the Buddha is this wisdom: “Little by little one becomes evil, as a water pot is filled with water. Little by
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#228 There Are No Enlightened Beings

Only More or Less Enlightened Moments
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that we can’t seize the day per se—we can only seize the moment. Enter: Carpe punctum. In
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#519 How to Create a World-Class Mind

Hint: Train It for 10,000+ Hours
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that Yuval Noah Harari doesn’t have a smartphone. He’s basically written an algorithm that
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#942 Moment to Moment to Moment

to Moment to Moment to Moment…
In our last +1, we meditated with Emerson and chatted about the 5 D’s of Meditation: Do it with Dignity and a Defined anchor with strong
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#1005 Thoughts + Heartbeats

Meditating? Thoughts Are NOT Your Enemy!
Emily Fletcher was a Broadway performer living the dream. Only… Her hair was graying at 27, she was always stressed and had chronic
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#1006 Brushing Our Brains

Here’s Your Brainbrush
In our last +1, we spent some time with Emily Fletcher and reflected on her meditation wisdom that thoughts are not our enemies. As she
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#1143 Virtuegong

Qigong + Virtue for the Win!
I’ve been doing a super-simple Qigong practice for years. (Thank you, Michael Gelb for getting the balls rolling!!) Every.single.time I
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#1150 Cover It All in Leather

Or… Just Wrap Leather Around Your Feet
In our last +1, we tapped into some wisdom from Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness as we wrote ourselves a permission slip and then