What is Meditation?

Why Meditate?

"When I meditate, I feel great! It allows me to tap into the source of all creativity."

I began my dedicated daily meditation (TM) practice in 2014. I meditate most days (at least 5 days/week). I don't always have time, but I try hard to make time for it every day.

Sometimes I need a reminder of why it's so important.

The shift is subtle. Ask my wife and she'll tell you I'm a nicer person than I used to be. I'm a better listener and am less selfish. As more time passes, it continues to have a compounding positive effective my life. After a good meditation (yes I do feel some are better than others), I often feel a heightened sense of love for others.

Sometimes, I slip and let myself become less regular in my practice and that's when I notice that I've become less skilled at daily living.

First off, the agitation and fidgety sense you feel while you meditate is the act of actually stress releasing from your body. The more restless you feel in meditation, the more you need it.

At times, you experience intense bliss which is a perk of meditation. But often you won't. It may depend on how much stress you need to release, how well-rested you are, when you meditate, where you meditate, etc... no one really knows for sure.

There have been times when I experienced bliss regularly in my meditations. But those times are now few and far between and tend to come in cycles. But I also know that when the stress in my life is high, I need my daily meditation more than ever.

I realize that bliss means different things to different people. For me, bliss means total peace. But what really happens is difficult to put into words. Let me try to explain the experience.

First, my hands go numb. The numbness continues up my arms and fills to the top of my head. It feels like a wave is cresting. If I get lucky, the feeling of that wave does crest and all at once there is complete silence. It's like when you put on noise-cancelling headphones. But the silence extends to all my senses. There is a feeling of peace that I rarely experience in my waking state, and this is indeed a different state (in TM, they refer to it as 'the field')... If I had to compare it to another experience, I imagine this is what it felt like in the womb before I was thrust into the outside world.

Any sensations of pain or physical discomfort fall away (for example, any back pain completely dissipates when I enter this state). I feel very light. Euphoric. It's the best high I've ever had (without any side effects!).

I'll admit it can be addictive but the problem is the more you strive to achieve it, the harder it is to obtain. Entering this '4th state' requires that your mind relax completely. It requires you don't strive in any way and let the mind naturally follow the mantra and settle.

Think of the 'natural release' option on your Instant Pot. You can't rush it and it often takes 15-20 mins to reach this state (if I even do). When I first started TM - for the first year or so, I commonly reached this blissful peaceful state. But 5 years later I am finding this very uncommon, perhaps only happening once every few months.

Meditation is like a shield to an illusion we call reality.

Dissolve into the stillness

When I attain a particularly blissful experience, I feel at one with all. What if what is really happening is that I become so still that I dissolve into the ether? I wonder if there are similarities to those who have experienced NDEs?

Waking Meditation?

What follows is just an idea, not a practice...

What if life itself was the mediation?

About 33 minutes into the interview, Jon Kabat-Zinn dives into this concept further...

It's about approaching life the same way you approach meditation, from the perspective of being an observer. It allows you to detach from what is happening to experience events more objectively... you become a witness and hopefully react with equanimity.

Meditation changes your desires in the course of fufilling them. ~ Ram Dass

I've seen the benefits of meditation firsthand. It's less about the meditation itself and more about the indirect benefits that result.

Remember, this is like physical fitness for the brain. To reduce the likelihood of brain issues later in life (dementia and Alzheimer's), meditation needs to be part of your daily routine!

The occasional deep bliss you fall into is icing on the cake.

I begin my day with a 20-minute meditation. Then every 30 minutes, I spend one minute checking in with my soul. I reflect on the past hour.

I ask these questions and then I meditate on the answers.

Q1. Is what I'm engaged in meeting my goals for the day, week, month?

Q2. Is there a more creative way I can accomplish this? How can I leverage others or past work (processes)?

  1. Are you logging your time in AuthorDock?
  2. Are you getting what you need? Do you need to be more assertive?

Be careful not to slip from assertive to asshole, but being unwilling to clarify demands and rules of engagement is letting the few take you away making a bigger impact on more.

In addition to meditating for 1 minute every 30, you can stop and check in (see Mark's STOP rule) when you feel like you are off-track or getting pulled towards a less mindful decision (i.e. Sugar).

Journey of Awakening

When you see your suffering as just a set of thoughts that come and go, you begin to gain a new perspective on them. You don't get hooked by the drama and you can drop the guilt quicker.

When I let others down or disappoint others, I use to carry an immense amount of guilt around for a day or two. Knowing it's just a thought that will eventually pass, I can let go and learn from it sooner.

Another POV (Point of View)

Logline: A radically inclusive understanding of meditation and enlightenment, where all of one's experience is welcomed and seen as inherently sacred.

“True meditation? It’s about coming alive, not numbing yourself to life anymore. It’s about unconditional friendliness and infinite kindness to yourself. It’s about making it safe, finally safe for all of those unloved, un-met, unseen waves – thoughts, feelings, sensations – in the Ocean of You to come out of the depths, out of the darkness, out of the corners and crevices of experience and into the light of Awareness, which is love.”

Join Jeff's membership community for regular live meditations, talks and Q&A on self-acceptance, healing and the ups and downs of spiritual awakening:

Jeff talks about a few common myths surrounding what we call 'meditation'. This Q&A session was recorded live in January 2023.

  1. Meditation is not about trying to achieve some altered or spiritual state, but rather about being fully present with one's experience, including difficult emotions like boredom, fear, and pain.

  2. Jeff Foster recounts his own journey of seeking to "become enlightened" and transcend his experience, only to reach a point of exhaustion with this approach. He realized that trying to escape the present moment is futile and actually perpetuates the very issues he was trying to avoid.

  3. True meditation is about falling in love with all of one's experience, including the seemingly "imperfect" or "unenlightened" aspects of oneself. The divine or sacred is not separate from the ordinary and mundane.

  4. Divine intelligence or consciousness is already expressing itself perfectly through one's present experience, including doubts, flaws, and vulnerabilities. Enlightenment is not about becoming something different, but recognizing the sacred nature of one's ordinary, human existence.

  5. The core message is to maintain a nondual perspective that rejects the notion of needing to transcend or purify oneself, and instead embrace radical acceptance of one's full, lived experience as an expression of the divine mystery.


Jeff dives into the duality of wanting what you are not experiencing in the moment. When you want what you don't have, you create friction. Our efforts to avoid a state or achieve a state is the act that creates some sense of my avarice.

For a few years, after I first learned TM, I reached a blissful state which was the best 'high' I had ever experienced. But TM is a healthy addiction - taking 20 minutes to just sit and give my overactive brain a break. And for years, that 20 mins of TM was the single highlight of my day. And is that really so bad? Rather than poor a glass of whiskey, I sit and meditate for 20 mins. daily. And my wife can tell that I get more an more agitated, anxious, and impatient with life when I skip my daily meditation too often (I typically meditate 4-5x/week).

It gave me a high that was better than any drug (without the side effects). But like a drug, the noticeable 'alternate state' has tapered off. I suspect now that I've been conditioned to it, while it still occurs, the distinction is harder for me to 'feel.'

Further Reading/Listening/Watching