The Best Form of Meditation You’re (Probably) Not Doing

You might know this about me already, but I’m a big advocate for meditation of all kinds. 

There are a multitude of different types of meditation options available.  With so many options, it can be pretty confusing to know what to do and what will work best for you. 

I’m going to touch briefly on two popular types of meditation for this article, and then dive into a third type that is my personal favorite.

The first type of meditation is one pretty much everyone has heard of:  Transcendental Meditation, or which falls into the category of "mantra meditation," where the practitioner repeats a mantra silently in order to calm the stream of thoughts that arise from the mind. 

TM has become a big business in the U.S. and is fairly expensive to get started with, but even with that facet in the mix, many people can attest that TM was the first meditation practice that they were able to continue to do long-term, which makes it a win in my book.

Meditation type number two is Guided Visualization, which I am obviously quite fond of, given my penchant for producing them.  One big advantage of guided visualization is that it can allow someone who normally has trouble quieting the mind to have a meditative, healing experience. 

It can also allow someone to tap into the meditative benefits of an experienced meditator by following in their footsteps, so to speak. 

Our third type of meditation is what I consider the most important form of meditation in my own life, and I call it simply, "Silence Meditation" although it is also often referred to as "Mindfulness Meditation," which I consider slightly different. 

You might be surprised to hear that I don’t use guided visualizations since I produce so many of them, but that’s exactly the reason I don’t utilize them:  I tend to like my own versions better.

So what is Silence Meditation?  It is the simple, but not easy, act of sitting in total silence, with a focus on achieving a complete stillness in the mind.  A total absence of thought, even for just a few moments. 

This is simple in concept, but difficult in practice, because the mind’s nature is to produce thought and it does so consistently all day and even at night when we’re in REM sleep.  Yes, our nighttime dreams are a form of thought expressing itself, and the thoughts only cease when we go down into the deepest levels of Delta sleep.

How to Silence the Mind…For a Few Moments

Upon reading the above, the mind naturally will produce a question:  "How can someone use the mind to silence their mind?"  There are almost as many ways of achieving this silence as there are meditators in the world, which means that there is no one right way to do it. 

Since there isn’t a single "right way," I will just tell you how I do it for myself, because my methods are somewhat unconventional.  No surprise there, right?

First is the setup, or how I sit.  I use a "V" shaped meditation cushion and place it in front of my couch so that I can rest my back against it.  You could use a wall for this purpose, too.

This goes against the grain of meditation teachers who want people to sit fully upright with no back support.  That’s great for a photo-shoot, but the reason I use something for back support is because I don’t want to be distracted by thinking about what position my body is in during meditation. 

By sitting upright on my pillow while supporting my back with my couch, I eliminate one of the major distractions of sitting and meditating.  For your own practice, feel free to simply sit in a chair that allows you to have upright posture.  Go with whatever is the most simple and supportive for your body.

Next is blocking out the external world, which I achieve with ear plugs and a blind-fold.  More specifically, I use a pair of sound-isolating "ear-buds" for playing audio. They block outside sounds better than regular ear plugs, and allow me to use one of the Genius Brain Power audio tracks to help assist my meditation if I so choose.  Usually an Alpha or Theta track.

Some would consider using brainwave entrainment cheating or a crutch, but if it works for the individual, I say go for it.  Now to be fair, I personally only use entrainment audio once in a while when the background noise level is too high for the ear-buds alone to block. 

95% of the time I just use the ear-buds with no audio because they work better for me than standard foam ear plugs.  Keep in mind that the ear plugs are optional, but if you find yourself being distracted by background noise while meditating, then I recommend trying out some ear plugs for a few sessions.

As for the blindfold, any type of blindfold will suffice, and if necessary you can improvise with whatever you have around.  Even a long-sleeve shirt will do in a pinch.  Enough said there.

Time Enough for Self-Love

With the setup handled, it’s time to start meditating, right?  Almost.  One more important thing:  Use a timer!  You don’t want to be distracted by thinking about how long you’ve been meditating, so a simple kitchen timer will alert you when your pre-determined time is up.

But how long should you meditate?  That is entirely up to you!  I personally meditate in this fashion for 22 minutes in the early morning, which is long enough to get the job done, and short enough that I won’t make up an excuse not to do it. 

I arrived at 22 minutes in a somewhat arbitrary fashion.  I started out at 10 minutes, and added one minute a day until I was at 20 minutes.  Later I added one more minute as an easy way to accomplish 5% more meditation.  Eventually I went up one more minute to 22 simply because I like repeating numbers. 

So 22 is my "magic number," but your number might be smaller, especially at first, and that’s fine!  You could start with just 5 minutes if you need to, and gradually add one minute per day until you are at a number you feel is giving you the results you desire.

The most important part of choosing your meditation duration is to start small and gradually increase the time each day that you meditate IF you want.  If the number feels small and easy to do, then you are far more likely to do it than if you choose a number that feels like an arduous task, or an amount of time that could make you late for work, an appointment, etc. 

A shorter duration is better for those days when you’re not getting into a deep meditative state and you’re constantly silencing mind-chatter without enjoying any mental quietness.  Speaking from experience, the temptation to "bail out" of the process is far smaller if I know that I won’t have to struggle with that day’s meditation for too long. 

The Actual "Silence Meditation" Process

I’m seated, ears are plugged, eyes blind-folded, the timer has started and now it’s time to actually meditate.  The first thing I do is start breathing slowly and deeply, putting all of my focus on my breath.  After years of practice this alone produces a few moments of blissful mental silence.

But not for long!  No sir!  My wonderful mind has all kinds of lovely thoughts it wants me to entertain.  So when the first thought comes up, I use a mental prompt to release it:  Clear the Deck.

As I think those words, I also direct my mind to a brief visualization of the deck of a wooden boat, out at sea, with nothing but blue skies and blue water in every direction, and I imagine that the thoughts are being swept off the deck, down into the water. 

Then I let the visualization fade away and return to focus on my breath.

Silence.  Breath.  Silence.  "I need to mail that check to…"  (or whatever thought bubbles up). 

Yes, the silence doesn’t last for long, especially in the early days and weeks of meditation, and sometimes even after years of practice.  But that’s ok!  The mind produces thoughts.  That’s one of its main jobs and it can take a lot of training to get it to go into that deep silence. 

When that thought arises, and it always does, I will name the type of thought, which is a form of acceptance and acknowledgement.  I don’t want to fight my mind, only to direct it, so I acknowledge the thought with one word whenever possible.

Examples:  Planning, anticipating, ruminating, reminiscing, worrying, analyzing, imagining, judging, speculating.

Once I name the thought, I use my next mental prompt which is:  Let it go.  So it would "sound" (in my mind) like, "Planning…Let it go."  Yep, I keep things simple! 

Silence.  Breath.  Silence.  "I wonder if I’ll have time to exercise before breakfast."  "Oh… Anticipating…Let it go."

Silence.  Breath.  Silence.  "That guy trolling my blog really needs to get a life."  "Ahhh…judging…Let it go."

Two More Prompts

I also use two more mental prompts to help deepen the meditative state.  Over time these have become commands which my mind (usually) obeys.  The first one is "Go Deep."  This pretty consistently puts me into a deeper brainwave state, which I can feel happening because I have practiced it for years, both with and without brainwave entrainment.

The other prompt is "Go Clear" which very nicely clears away any stray thoughts.  I tend to use these prompts after releasing a thought with "Let it go" in order to deepen the meditative state and extend the amount of time where no thoughts are floating through my mind.

Slow It Down

I like to "speak"  all of those thought-prompts very slowly in my mind.  For example, if I’m thinking "Go Clear," I will think "Gooooooooooo" on the in breath, and "Clearrrrrrrrrr" on the out breath. 

Slowing down the thoughts helps lead me back to the state of non-thought more easily. 

This is Too Hard!

When most people first try this style of meditation, they often don’t have much success at quieting the mind.  That’s ok!  The fact that you took some time to sit up straight, breathe deeply and even attempt to meditate is huge!  

Seriously, you should congratulate yourself after every meditation session, no matter how "good" or "bad" it seemed to be.

Even if you spent the entire time "clearing the deck" and "letting it go" with no observable quieting of the mind, you should STILL give yourself a pat on the back for putting in the time and effort.

Then do it again tomorrow. 

With regular practice (daily is best) you will start to have moments of pure mental silence, and over time those moments will grow longer and more frequent.  There can still be bad days where you can’t put the thoughts aside, and that’s ok, too!  

Remind yourself that whatever is happening in your mind is ok.  Don’t fight the mind, just do your best to guide it gently into that place of silent rest. 

These Prompts Don’t Work For Me!

This is where things get personal.  Not that I will take it personally if my prompts don’t work for you, but personal in the sense that everyone will respond differently to the process of guiding their own mind into a place of silence. 

The prompts that I use just might not work for you, which means that you’ll need to come up with some of your own.  I think it’s fine to figure that out during the meditation session, since if the prompts you are using aren’t working, you might as well spend that time to audition some new prompts.

However, and this is a big however, I recommend that you don’t give up on the prompts until you have tried them a few times. 

Why? Because using the same prompts repeatedly over time conditions the mind to respond to those prompts more effectively.

What’s the Point?

I know life is busy, and often the first things that we drop when we are pressed for time are self-care and self-empowering practices.  However, if you can give yourself the gift of just 5-20 minutes per day of meditation practice, you will start to reap many rewards.

The state of no-thought is incredibly calming, soothing and even blissful.  Five seconds of mental silence is like giving your mind a massage or warm bath.  This produces mental, emotional and physical relaxation, reduces inflammation and releases beneficial hormones in the body.

With practice, this or any other type of meditation practice will help you to have "space" between stimulus (stress) and response (reaction) in your environment.  Instead of cursing at the guy who cuts you off in traffic, you might find yourself taking a deep breath and saying, "Let it go" instead. 

After all, that other driver can’t hear your words and your inner peace is more valuable than anger, especially when you’re driving.

Instead of snapping at your spouse/child/parent/sibling/co-worker/etc. when they push your buttons, you could find yourself taking a deep breath and calmly explaining what you truly want to communicate to them. 

Those "little victories" in our day feel really good, and regular meditation can help them to happen more organically, more often.

Best Time of Day?

Opinions vary on the best time of day to meditate.  For years I was more of a night-time meditator, but when I switched to meditating in the morning I found that it had profound, beneficial impacts on my state of being for the rest of the day.

Putting it simply, silence meditation in the morning makes me generally happier, less impatient and more compassionate on days that I do it compared to days where I come up with an excuse to skip it, which is very rare.   

Limiting my morning meditation time to 22 minutes almost completely removes any thought of skipping it, where for mysterious psychological reasons, a 30 minute meditation is easier to skip "because I’m running late" or some other excuse.

Keeping it short and easy to achieve is the key to success in morning meditation.

Take the 5×7 Test Drive

Often one of the biggest self-imposed barriers to trying a something new is the belief that if we start doing it, we have to do that new thing forever, so we don’t even start. 

So forget about forever, and instead just take a test drive of doing a silence meditation for 5 minutes per day for 7 days.

That’s it.  Just 35 minutes of time over the course of a week.  If you can commit to that small investment, it is possible that you will like the results so much that you decide to keep the practice, but you are not obligated by anyone, especially yourself, to do so.

Share Your Experience

Do you already meditate like this?  If so, please leave a comment for how you achieve those delicious moments of mental silence.  Your setup, your inner prompts, any helpful tips for others, etc.

Are you trying this for the first time, or picking it back up again?  Let me know how it’s going for you down below.

I will leave the comment section on this post open for 10 days.

Much Love,
Cameron Day

17 comments to The Best Form of Meditation You’re (Probably) Not Doing

  • Karie

    I access the Silence by using the instructions that Ramana Maharishi gave when he finally spoke after 11 years in Silence. For every thought that arises and that one notices, one asks “To whom does this thought arise?” An answer appears experientially, usually I find that the “me” to which the thought arises is actually floating somewhere above my head! yikes! So you find the “me” to which the thought arises and hear the answer “to me.” Then one immediately inquires “Who am I?” and the answer is found experientially, silently, and it’s definitely not the “me” that was found to be floating out above my head. I find that this inquiry adjusts the wrong identification of a Being who has come to experience itself as “lost in thought”. The true Self is already deliciously blissfully silent, and the thoughts lose their appeal from this place. There is less of a battle with their intrusion.

  • R Davis

    I sit in a chair, early AM. Feet flat, back straight, hands rested. Eyes closed. I focus on the space above my lips and below my nostrils and allow my breath to switch from conscious to unconscious. After a several minutes of this I begin to “scan” my body for sensations… ANY sensations. Cold, tingling, tightness, pulsing, etc. Then I try to just observe it/them. I guess it could be described as the practice of feeling/sensing but not reacting… just observing.

    This is actually the meditation that is taught at Vipassana 10-day silent meditation retreats. If one can leave the dogma and take the practice the benefits are quite revealing.

  • Thanks for this blog Cameron. I light a candle, sit in my chair with a straight back, and ground into the New Earth. Then I drop into my heart and simply breath….with very quiet non identifiable clearing music in the background.
    I have had the ability to go into “no thought” for many years and the irony of this is I used to think I was doing this all wrong…cos I did not see any visions, hear anything or whatever!!!
    Now I relish this quiet time of just breath and me…..
    Sometimes it is 5 minutes, sometimes it is half an hour.

  • Excellent advice. I also try doing the visualization but I know that the one that I really profit from is the silence meditation.

  • Jo Ann

    I started out doing the visualization method by using your guided visualization videos four years ago, however, I have moved to the silence meditation because it is easier for me…not knowing that it actually had a name. I also meditate during the day while doing yard work, housework, etc. Some people may call that day dreaming, but I call it relaxed meditation. Especially conversing with Mother Nature. Very calming.

    Thanks Cameron. The article explains a lot about the different methods.

  • Rebecca

    Does anyone have experience with Kundalini Yoga taught by Yogi Bhajan? It is recommended to meditate between 4-7 AM, along with various sacred mantras (chants) in the gurmukh language. All of it is based on the science of sound frequencies and the tapping into of meridien points. Certain chants are more sacred than others. Hand positions (mudras) are also used to facilitate energy flows. Cameron, could you comment on whether you think brainwave entrainment accomplishes the same results?

    Along these same lines, how effective are transmissions passed through the eyes of a person to another, even online, by persons such as Bashar, or Oneness University meditators?

    Thank you for your opinions.

  • Pam

    I find in the early mornings I can reach a state of non-thought in an open-eyed meditation. I fix my gaze on one object and then become totally aware of the body (feel of feet on the floor, weight of body on the seat, feel of fabric on on the body and any play of air on the skin) and then extend that awareness out to listen to all the sounds around me. By focusing intently on sound (birds, a passing vehicle, etc) the breath slows right down and the mind goes silent. Of course, a thought will pop up – and when it does I imagine a windscreen wiper clearing it from my mind, and then go back to focusing on sound and being present in the body.

    Thanks for all your support, Cameron. It is much appreciated.

  • Mehdi

    First of all thank You again and again. And again !
    I do in silence the higherself méditation and also I concentrate on the sensation of my body, looking for energy tingling then I stay on the area. And when the taugh come singing and dancing I just say come to your body. And focus again on the tingling.

  • Mehdi

    The first articles where so helpful and eyeopening that im dreaming of “why im not a light worker anymore number 3”. Gratitude to you

  • Ara

    thanks Cameron. Yes 22 mins is my time too. When I started meditating over 30 years ago I was shocked to discover I could not sit still for 5 minutes, nor stop thoughts jumping around. So I used the same method I used with Tai Chi practice…start with 2 minutes one day. Then each following day add 1 minute and in 20 days I meditate 20 mins. If thought arose I simply viewed it as a cloud drifting by in a clear blue sky.
    When my Doctor suggested I meditate min 20 min a day, I thought he was crazy, and replied how did he expect a busy working mother to find 20 mins in her day to do nothing ! Strange thing is, when I began meditating daily, somehow, I seemed to have more time in the day !Plus inspired ideas would flash in of an easier better way to do things.
    Like I know I clean my teeth daily, I simple sat undisturbed 22 min daily to meditate, with no expectations, Soon from simple gifting myself with pure relaxation, poise & silence, wonderful things began to happen and continue to this day,One thing for sure after long years of silent meditation and the gifts it gives….yes pure grace….we see through the games of our daily monkey mind, and see the limitations it creates, and yes compassion arises to realize the mass of humanity has been bluffed into only know the struggle of daily mind.So, go go for it and practice daily silent meditation discover what an amazing world we live in now.

  • Chiqui Lemus

    I just simply want to express my gratitude for your work Cameron. Thank you.

  • Vikki

    Hello. I just read you article on meditation. Years ago I read somewhere that one should meditate one minute for every year old they are. I have been trying to meditate for an hour and eleven minutes a day. I do pretty good for the first half hour to forty-five minutes. Then I loose my concentration and have difficulty staying on my task. What do you think of that rule of thumb? Do I need that much meditation a day? If I do need that much does it hurt to split up the time to, say, a half hour two times a day? I want to do what I need to do without over doing it. Thank you for your time and the suggestions in your article.

  • Heather

    Recently I have really found the importance of feeling into all my emotions even the uncomfortable ones. Fully feeling them in a vulnerable openness and sometimes digging in if I feel the need has been very good for me. In doing this I have also emotions of just love, and it feels so good. I love Heather now. I still practice transcendental meditation and feel the need to continue it, (or in the least exploring my space) but this silence meditation you have shared is so far helpful in being kinder to thoughts that arise as well as feeling calmer and patient during the day. Also, in the silence the love easily comes in there and it really is like a wonderul warm bath! Ahhh Finally. Or just ahhhhhhh

    Hug hug hug
    Love love love
    H e a t h e r

  • Goldie

    I followed you because you discussed the Archons. I wanted to know where you got this information, how you verified it. Had I not read the Nag Hammadi lightly, I wouldn’t know where you got this from. Maybe you state that part, but I wasn’t going to keep reading all your articles and take your word alone. I can say that your site just falls short of giving good information to make an informed choice for myself about the Archons or the light after we die. There may be a reason neither of us know fully why the Gnostics were obliterated. Anyway, the information out there on these subjects and from you is anecdotal more than fact, nor based on any emperical infomation that can be verified by a single other credible source. Credibility and integrity are paramount to any good research to make a well-informed choice.

    Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean you are wrong in your own conclusions, but the information you state puts me into a position of trusting your word alone, making the same illogical mistake that you say we shouldn’t make regarding the “archons” or “going to the light”. Where is further reading for this, where did you get confirmation of your position? Please inform. (Just using caution and wisdom, not to offend).

  • Andrea Kmetty

    Hi Cameron,

    First, I’d like to say THANK YOU for all you do. Your article came in time as I’ve been trying to incorporate silent meditation into my daily practice. I also forwarded the article to friends that are just starting their meditation practices and are at the state where daily meditation is more of a struggle then something to look forward to.

    I’ve been using many of your techniques from your previous classes and I tried the ones you just shared. With the ear plugs my body sensations were emphasized, I heard my heart beet and my breath louder than before. While I was using the ‘clear the deck’ the image of the dandelion flower came to mind. The thoughts became parachute seeds and I was watching them carried away by a gentle breeze. I guess my creative inner self took a creative license and personalized the process on its own:) Either way is working for me but I agree, you need to choose one and stick with it.

    I’ve also been using the technique suggested by Dr. Joe Dispenza “focus on the black space between your eyes”. This seems to work for me quite well. Especially when I don’t want to visualize and think. When I achieve this even for a few seconds, I feel this light energy around my brain that feels good. It’s hard to describe but it feels like a gentle massage. Then he says “become no one, no body, no thing, no where, in no time and linger in this void about 15 minute”. I am a long way from becoming “no one” for 15 min so I just keep practicing. Thank you, Andrea

  • Cameron, as always I enjoy and look forward to your e-mails. Thank you.

    Sitting in a straight back chair, close my eyes, breathe in and out deeply and slowly 3 times and focus on relaxing my entire body starting at my feet. For example: visualize my feet, mentally say ‘relax’ as I breathe in, and out slowly. On the ‘Re’ (breathe in slowly), on the ‘laaaax’ (breathe out slowly). Moving all the way up the body by the time I get to my crown, I am in a deep state of meditation.

    If a part of the body feels blocked, I bless it and ‘beam it’ with healing love and continue moving up the body. I may even ask it why it is blocked, forgive the block, release the block, and continue moving up the body.

  • stewart

    hi guys and Cameron, in relation to “no mind state” I feel it is one of the most organic ways to harmonically become a sovereign being. I feel its up there with self employment for example. When I can manage to be simply aware of a “mental drain” attempting to harm me I “watch it” with presence – as I find the slightest offensive tactic empowers the “pain body” of the “mental drain”. Great work Cameron – Joy to you for getting it out there.
    I will add another style of meditation I feel has added to my personal sovereignty is “feeling with only acceptance”. Youll get it if you try it, and do whats good for you so I wont describe it.

    Thanks again bro, S