An Intro to Meditation

What is Meditation?

If you are new to the concept of meditation, the word itself may seem foreign. It may conjure up Buddhist monks on some distant mountaintop in the middle of the Himalayas.

You may think that it involves sitting cross legged, muttering things to yourself, or sitting in isolation for hours at a time.

All of these things are often done while meditating, but you can also meditate without doing any of these things.

So what is meditation?

Meditation, in simple terms, means deliberately focusing your attention on one specific thing. That’s it.

If you focus on a shop window, trying to figure out what dress or pair of pants to buy, you are meditating. If you are driving down a lonely stretch of highway and you “zone out”, you are meditating.

In all of these instances, the constant stream of thoughts that are normally running through your brain, that ceaseless “chatter”, quiets down. Your mind stops serving up that endless stream of things you need to do next, people you owe things to, and reminders of all the obligations and responsibilities you are supposed to be doing.

The result of this silence, of “quieting your mind” is that you create an opportunity to access a part of your mind that is normally hidden from you.

How your mind works

You see, we have two dimensions to our mind. Our conscious mind, and our subconscious mind.

Our conscious mind is often referred to as the “critical mind” and it is always comparing, judging and deciding. It is very useful for living life as a responsible adult, always focused on doing the right thing at the right time.

Your subconscious mind on the other hand, is the polar opposite. Spontaneous, uninhibited, energetic, it is the source of your emotions and creativity. And, surprisingly, it is the source of most of your decisions.

Have you ever had a time when you were critical clear on an intellectual level that something was the wrong thing to do, but you did it anyway? This is because you conscious was clear on that fact, but your subconscious was not clear about it at all. And in a battle between your conscious and subconscious, your subconscious almost always wins.

It has emotions to back it up. And at the end of the day, our emotions are what dictate most of our decisions. 

Now you may be wondering, “I never noticed any inner conflict regarding that decision?”. And it’s true. More often than not, the views and desires of our subconscious are covered up with the constant chatter of the conscious mind.

Which is a shame, because those subconscious urges end up shaping most of our life decisions.

What meditation does

And this is exactly where meditation is so useful.

It is a simple means of quieting your conscious mind and opening yourself up to your subconscious. The resulting mindset is one where it is much easier to communicate with your subconscious. You can learn about your deeper fears, desires, and motivations, which you carry inside yourself but you were never aware of until now.

More than that. Once you achieve insight into subconscious, you can even teach yourself new things.

The subconscious is a much more powerful learning instrument than your conscious mind. When you succeed in teaching your subconscious a new way of looking at the world, or a new behavior pattern, it sticks naturally without having to have constant reminders or battles of will to keep the positive habit going.

In the coming weeks we will begin experiencing some examples of the many different ways meditation can be used to gain insight into your deeper self as well as to introduce new, positive thoughts and behaviors into our lives.

Let me show you how it’s done

So how is it done? How do we access our subconscious?

By relaxing.

It’s that simple.

By relaxing our mind, the frantic thoughts that so often run through it fade away. And in that space our subconscious mind rises to the surface.

But how do we relax our mind? It’s not a muscle, after all. And we can’t exactly touch it, either. But the fascinating thing is that when we relax our body, our mind relaxes as well.

Our body and mind are very much intertwined, and look to each other for feedback on how to behave.

When we have racing thoughts, our body looks to our mind and says “it’s time to freak out”, and it increases our heart rate and the flow of endorphins. And when our mind sees our heart rate increasing and our endorphins pumping, it starts thinking even more frantic thoughts.

You see the cycle?

By simply reversing this behavior, and deliberately relaxing our body, we can very quickly bring ourselves to a deeply relaxed state of both mind and body.

Put it into practice

This week, we will practice just this. In only three and a half minutes, you will see how easy it is to quickly relax your body. The result is the positive feeling of deep relaxation, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated even after the meditation ends, and a host of physical benefits to boot.

It’s really that simple, and all it takes is 3.5 minutes. And the best part? Every time you practice this meditation you will find yourself relaxing more deeply, and more quickly.

So go ahead and find a quiet place, put on a pair of headphones, and press play. You can also download the meditation to your computer and listen to it whenever you wish.

Here are some other times you can benefit from a quick, relaxing meditation:

  • When you wake up
  • When you go to sleep
  • When you are waiting in line for, well, anything
  • When you are commuting in a public transportation (but NEVER when you are driving!)
  • Halfway through a busy workday

Here’s this week’s meditation:


This week, we learned the following key points:

  • Meditation is not a certain behavior, but a state of mind
  • This state of mind allows us to move past our conscious mind and connect with our subconscious mind
  • The result of this connection is:
    1. An increased ability to learn about ourselves and our hidden motivations, and
    2. To internalize new ideas and behavior patterns
  • This mindset is easily achieved by simply relaxing your body, which results in your mind relaxing as well

Stay tuned next week as we discuss how a meditative state like the one you just experienced becomes “Jewish”.