The Year of Living Meditatively.
January 10, 2021 2:37 PM   Subscribe

21-day Meditation Challenge. Dan Harris author of Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, is holding it this month for those wanting to explore mindfulness and mental wellness. (Apologies for the a late post, the last day to sign up is today Jan 10th).

Requires download of Ten Percent Happier App.

"Over the course of 21 days, our teachers will guide you through a series of meditations demonstrating the benefits of developing self-love, compassion, and acceptance, and showing you how to do it.

To those of us accustomed to beating ourselves up over last year’s failed resolutions, this approach may seem counter-intuitive, but unlike shame and self-recrimination, these practices provide a renewable resource for taking action and developing the resilience that is critical to making sustained, healthy change.

Here’s how the New Year’s Meditation Challenge works: your goal will be to meditate at least fifteen out of 21 days. The Challenge runs from January 4 - 24, 2021, and the last day to join and complete the Challenge is January 10.

Each day you’ll get a short video from Dan Harris, accompanied along the way by some very special teachers, followed by a related meditation about ten minutes long. "
posted by storybored (27 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Would love to join but can’t justify the subscription. Is it really necessary?
posted by aesop at 3:57 PM on January 10

Can one meditate while screaming in existential anger? Asking for a friend.
posted by Splunge at 4:23 PM on January 10 [15 favorites]

aesop, there are lots of ways to meditate that don't require payment. I like the Calm app which has a limited free version so you could try it out. If you're in the US, there is probably an Insight Meditation group in your time zone that offers regular only zoom meditation classes.

Splunge, tell your friend that's one of the best times to meditate.
posted by medusa at 4:29 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

FWIW I meditate using the Android (default) Clock app, which has a countdown timer. The Insight Timer app has a free version with a lot more bells and whistles if you want that.

A good introduction to Buddhist vipassana meditation for people who like to read about it instead of following directions in an app is Mahasi Sayadaw's Practical Insight Meditation, which you can get for free on I will note that "mindfulness" and Buddhist meditation often used interchangeably but not necessarily the same thing, depending on who is talking.

It has been a great part of my life to have a daily meditation practice, but you don't have to spend money to do it if you would prefer not to!
posted by Craig Stuntz at 4:45 PM on January 10 [9 favorites]

I highly recommend
posted by PhineasGage at 4:53 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]

tell your friend that's one of the best times to meditate.

Oh. I see. Then I have been meditating for over six years. Cool.
posted by Splunge at 5:31 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]

Looks interesting. The intro video calls out "shame and self-recrimination" - my two favourite hobbies.

For those like me who really struggled with meditation, this is probably the simplest and best starter.
posted by greenhornet at 5:34 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]

So the moment the 4-7-8 breathing technique becomes a habit, it stops working, because it no longer occupies the "monkey mind"?
posted by hat_eater at 5:49 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Hoping to come back and try some of the resources here. Thanks everyone.
posted by aesop at 6:07 PM on January 10

I've spent years trying occasionally to understand meditation. I need to understand what I'm doing, in order to do it. I read "When things fall apart" by Pema Chodron this year and when I finished the book I got out my notebook and highlighter and decided to finally make sense of what's going on. Here's the summary I wrote.


Meditation is where we practice dealing with our minds in a safe and calm environment. Through a consistent practice, we start to notice our daily hopes and fears. We start to observe our behavior of indulging in, and repressing, our hopes and fears.

Step one: Acknowledge whatever happens in my mind without judgement.

Step two: Let thoughts simply dissolve.

Step three: Return to the moment.

As we practice acknowledging and letting go on the mat, that is how we weill begin to relate to our hopes and fears in our daily lives, too.

As our perception grows, indulging and repressing begins to wear thin. It doesn't go away - rather, a wider, more generous, more enlightened perspective arises.

(With regards to what is happening in my brain in the three steps - sometimes I imagine using a feather to gently brush thoughts aside. Sometimes I imagine giving the thought a big hug and saying "Welcome home, make yourself comfortable, you are welcome here." Sometimes I imagine my breath is the waves of an ocean crashing on the shore and then receding again)
posted by rebent at 6:32 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]

Local Shambhala orgs now have a number of their sitting meditations free online. I like this much better that the apps because it puts me (remotely) in community.
posted by Silvery Fish at 7:13 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]

Watching one's breath sounds like an easy introductory meditative practice, but it is the one that leads most people to say, "Oh, I can't meditate. I tried it." I think better ones involve trying to develop a "second attention," the easiest of which is "listening through the hands," open palms relaxed on the knees. Just opening up the peripheral vision and the sense of sound is good, too. Not trying to be a guru here, just offering up some basic body/mind meditative practices that are easier than concentrating on the breath. Try that later.
posted by kozad at 7:14 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

The challenges are free. I'm not a 10 Percent member the rest of the time, but I do do the challenges.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:33 PM on January 10

I found Bhante Henepola Gunaratana a great way to get introduced to mindfulness meditation (free book here, free audio here).

The most important thing, once one has the basics, is to simply do it regularly. That's, I think, the hardest part for most people. It's helpful to not think about whether one is doing it well, or whether it's working, etc. If you actually sat still for 30 minutes, that's a victory in itself. I have days where my thoughts wander the whole time, but I realize that even these "failure" sessions are practice that make me better at it, and often the next day turns out better.
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:16 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]

The 10% challenge is free! But Insight Timer (a different app) is mostly free and has literally several thousand free meditations. Both apps are worth checking out.
posted by hungrytiger at 8:21 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

don't just do something, sit there!
posted by lalochezia at 8:46 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]

You don’t need an app or any complicated instructions to meditate.

Just sit down for 2 minutes. Use a timer or forget time. Then go for 5 minutes next time.

Meditation is an exercise in patience and can change how you perceive time. Just start trying to do it and most of it comes naturally.
posted by beesbees at 10:17 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]

Awesome! My new year’s resolution was to meditate again and I’ve been pretty consistent with a daily practice after lunch. I’ve been using the Calm app, and am doing a series called 7 days of soothing pain which has been really helpful.

Splunge that’s good to know, the existential anger is what stopped me yesterday!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:41 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

I'm all about the Oak app on iOS.
Guided, Unguided, male voice, female voice, Loving Kindness, Mindfulness, Sleep, timer only, and a free class on Mantra meditation.
Plus a beautiful interface and it's all free.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 3:58 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

I'm so glad you posted this! It's like seeing a friend on the blue.

Everybody will come at it differently, but this app is certainly the thing that worked for me. After a number of false starts over the years, this has kept me on track for about three years now. The approach — "meditation for fidgety skeptics" — really resonates with me.

I'm less skeptical now and ... 9% less fidgety? Maybe? Haha.

Two important things:

- If you would like a 30-day trial, memail me.

- If you work for the USPS, or are a warehouse employee, teacher, healthcare employee, grocery, or food delivery worker, you can get free access.

It can be hard to recommend something that costs money knowing that there are plenty of good, free alternatives. But, again, this worked for me and that has been invaluable.
posted by veggieboy at 4:16 AM on January 11

Elder Ting asked Lin-chi,
“Master, what is the great meaning of Buddha’s teachings?”
Lin-chi came down from his seat, slapped Ting and pushed him away.
Ting was stunned and stood motionless.
A monk nearby said, “Ting, you should enable notifications!”
At that moment Ting attained great enlightenment.
posted by thelonius at 4:27 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Thank you for this! I’ve developed a guided meditation habit over the last year and a half (at my therapist’s suggestion), and I mostly use free stuff scrounged from a variety of apps. It’s great to have another source.
posted by kwaller at 5:44 AM on January 11

To those of you asking for free alternatives, Sam Harris (who is Dan's brother I think?) app Waking Up should have an option of free subscription to those who can't afford it. (It's normally 100 USD a year which is not cheap but it also seems to have a lot of material produced for it on regular basis.) Some people don't like Sam for non-meditation related reasons but I found his introductory course to meditation really, really helpful. Maybe this helps someone.
posted by desultory_banyan at 7:21 AM on January 11

A simple breathing meditation I got from a Zen meditation book is breath counting. You focus on your breathing by breathing in deeply, out slowly, and at the very end of each exhale you count the breath. If you get distracted and miss counting one, or aren't sure what number you're on anymore, you just start back at one. I've found it's an easy way to meditate with an awareness for when your monkey mind is chattering.
posted by little onion at 11:12 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

I'll put in a plug for Insight Meditation Center, whose Audio Dharma site has been up collecting talks for a long time. Also available as podcasts and a youtube channel. You'll find several courses in beginning meditation practice there. For example.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 11:50 AM on January 11

I'll put in my plug for the Plum Village app which is produced by the community founded by Thich Nhat Hanh. There are guided mediations and dharma talks as well as silent, timed meditations with bells. No charge. Good stuff.
posted by kaymac at 12:13 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Local Shambhala orgs now have a number of their sitting meditations free online. I like this much better that the apps because it puts me (remotely) in community.

In case you don't know, Shambhala has a sexual harassment and abuse abuse problem that has led to many complaints and most recently Pema Chodron leaving Shambhala.
posted by medusa at 12:30 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]

« Older F I S S I O N M A I L E D   |   Robson wasn’t looking for a murder-cow when she... Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.