20 Minutes of Silence Changed My Life

Late in 2013 I had a life-altering experience.


I tried mediation for the first time.  First, I’d like to tell you exactly why I did it.

  • I was stressed out
  • Anxious/nervous frequently
  • I couldn’t shut my mind off at night to sleep
  • I couldn’t get a good night sleep
  • I felt worn down and tired
  • I wasn’t thinking as quickly and clearly as I needed to be
  • I clearly wasn’t being myself

If you’re feeling any of these currently, and want to change your life I believe meditation is the solution.  I’m now going to tell you exactly how I do it, as my process is a bit of a hybrid of what you may read elsewhere.

7 Keen Steps to Meditation

  1. Get Alone – I retreat down to my basement to a room that functions as my office from time to time.  The floor is carpeted and extremely comfy.  I close the door and begin my process.
  2. Shut Off The World – The only thing I take with me is my phone (which may sound counterproductive)  but it is turned to airplane mode so I can receive no calls or texts.
  3. Close Your Eyes – This will be challenging for some.  It was extremely challenging for me in the beginning.  The goal is to keep my eyes closed for the entire 20 minutes of meditation.
  4. Turn On the Noise – I use an app called Relax Melodies.  You can find it on the App Store for iPhone.  I turn on the sounds of: the ocean, a piano, a fire, etc.  It varies a little from time to time.  I’d also like to note I wear headphones at the time to tune out any other sound.  This helps me get a tremendous amount of focus and I set a timer for 20 or 25 minutes.
  5. Breathe – After reading a great deal about mediation this is something I crafted slightly on my own.  I start every setting with my legs crossed in standard meditation position.  I breathe in as much as I possibly can through my nose, until my lungs and stomach feel completely full.  I then slowly release the breath through pursed lips (like you would exhale through a straw) and count.  I try to get the count to 20 or 30 with each breath.
  6. Stretch – This is my unique rendition.  As I breathe I added in a stretching routine.  I did some basic research on the most beneficial stress relieving stretches.  A great deal of my routine involves loosening up my hamstrings, neck and back (where I carry my stress).
  7. Positive Talk/Prayer – I also use my 20 minutes of alone time to be thankful and reinforce my thoughts with positive talk.  This too is a unique wrinkle I’ve added to my routine.  It may or may not be for you.  I believe the more my mind is reinforced, the better performance I can expect from my own abilities.

So, how would I have described mediation before I started: weird, hippy, liberal, tree-hugger, yoga pants, eastern practice, etc.  But, after seeing Russell Simmons thoughts on mediation, and knowing Phil Jackson is a student of the practice I had to give it a try.  They seem to be pretty successful (insane understatement)!

Russell Simmons via Twitter (@UncleRUSH)

Russell Simmons via Twitter (@UncleRUSH)

ACTION ITEM: I hope you at least give mediation a try.  My life is measurably better because I adopted this ancient practice and I believe yours can be too.