Found in 13 comments on Hacker News
Two pieces of advice:

- Getting easily distracted is normal. Don't set a goal of never getting distracted: it's unrealistic and counterproductive. I've spent hundreds of hours meditating, and still get distracted (albeit more briefly). Instead, feel good when you notice you're distracted. The goal is to train yourself to notice and return to the sensation sooner, with positive feedback.

- Don't try to block out everything except what you're meditating on. That should be your main focus, but you should let yourself be aware of other things in the background.

The Mind Illuminated has some good practical advice in the early chapters. I can't vouch for the later chapters.

fzingle · 2020-06-06 · Original thread
The anxiety part of this sounds like something meditation could help with.

I've found this book (, at least the earlier stages to be quite helpful in regaining control of my thoughts.

mleonhard · 2020-03-24 · Original thread
With persistence, you can do it for free at home. Here's a guide:

temo4ka · 2019-11-24 · Original thread
Several people in the thread have already recommended meditation. I’m going to join them.

If you’re already doing therapy, consider complementing it with meditation. Meditation, if done right, can be equivalent to years of therapy.

The benefits are great, and for your situation the most relevant are reduced/eliminated anxiety, more willpower, energy, clarity (to see through depression for example); but there many others.

However, there’s a catch: meditation is hard. It requires consistent effort and dedication, just like any practice involving a complex skill (e.g., going to the gym or swimming pool).

For a completely secular practice, I’d recommend “The Mind Illuminated” by John Yates [1], a neuroscientist and a master meditator, whose aim with the book was to create a modern manual for meditation by making old Buddhist teachings accessible to an average westerner. The book is a synthesis of those teachings complemented with both his experience as a master meditator /and/ as a neuroscience Ph.D. This means that along with detailed instructions on how to actually meditate the book contains theoretic chapters explaining in popular scientific terms how your brain works and what meditation has to do with it, by first introducing a simple model, and then gradually building upon it as you progress through the book and develop your skill.


What I was talking about in the previous post is two topics. So, it depends what you're looking for.

There are tons of books and meditation courses. It depends what suits your style. eg, The Mind Illuminated is the most popular meditation book right now. There is even a subreddit dedicated to it. However, it is quite the read, guiding as one progresses, mirroring how a teacher would do it.

Culadasa, who made The Mind Illuminated, is working on another book that goes over the second topic I was diving into (like Noting Meditation). It is incomplete with no eta. It would be a 102 book for after one finishes The Mind Illuminated.

There are other resources on the second topic, but right now both topics are ideally taught with a teacher, especially the second topic, so progress can be aided and verified.

What goal do you have? I can possibly write a skinny as to what to look at and where to go to achieve that goal, including providing more resources.

Also, just in case you do not know CBT, with a good therapist, is, I believe, the only kind of therapy that works well on depression. CBT takes from the techniques in the topics above, and then boils them down into a light version that can be worked through at an accelerated rate.

jasonmcaffee · 2019-08-16 · Original thread
I've been meditating for the last 2 years, and I've found many benefits. Stress reduction, better control of feelings, better understanding of self, and joy are just a few.

It's really simple to start out:

1) Devote 10 minutes of each day to meditation time. Early morning is best, as your mind is fresh and not as distracted.

2) Find a quiet/non-distracting place to sit in a comfortable position. Legs crossed on the floor or in a chair are fine. You want to keep your back straight to help keep from falling asleep.

3) Focus on the sensation of your breath, wherever it is strongest. Typically this is the tip of the nose, or in the nostril, but chest can work as well. Your mind will become distracted with work, worries, thoughts of food, etc. When this happens, congratulate yourself on noticing that it happened, and bring your attention back to your breath.

That's it! It blows my mind how developing concentration can have such a profound impact on your life.

Here are some good resources for those interested:

cube2222 · 2019-08-16 · Original thread
I had always had some kind of anxiety or ocd for as long as I can remember. I'd searched for various ways to deal with it but only discovering meditation really worked for me.

After meditating for 6 months every day (starting with 5 minutes daily, ending with 20-30) I've completely got rid of it. A nice side effect was that I got to be a happier person overall (though that wasn't ever a problem for me), and learned to deal with any kind of stress whatsoever.

I'll happily recommend the, oh so often mentioned on hn, book "the mind illuminated" it really is great to start with:

Recently I haven't been meditating as much as I'd like to unfortunately (I'm trying to get back to it), but the effects are lasting nevertheless. And I still know how to calm myself in a matter of minutes or get more distanced to the situation.

ffwacom · 2019-07-04 · Original thread
Something like this

You’ll know you’re 100% ‘doing it right’ when eventually weird sensations called piti show up. Could take some months of practice or could be a week. It gets progressively crazier from there, but you’ll develop an intuition for what meditation is by then.

This is a 400 page book about sitting still and focusing on the breath that is known to work:

Meditate, do Cognitive Behavior Therapy, exercise, sleep better, eat better, and cultivate relationships with people. Generally, be more present.

Short book on meditation:

Longer book:

Also, try some guidelines to help you choose more intentionally when and how to analyze things. Is it no topic is worth thinking through all outcomes? Or, important topics are worth it, and they are x, y and z? Or, I can do that type of thinking only an hour a day, from 7-8pm? Once a week? A therapist and trial and error can help you figure out what works for you.

Have a counterfactual behavior that you'll do when you notice you're analyzing when you didn't intend to. E.g. if I notice I'm thinking through scenarios, I'll acknowledge that, then focus on my breath.

dota_fanatic · 2018-11-18 · Original thread
Second this recommendation, here's a link for further reviews and breakdowns of why this textbook is so useful:

I dabbled in meditation for years but it wasn't until this book that I was able to see the complete picture and why it's such an important area of study for all reflective minds, and start making real progress. There's so much snake oil out there regarding meditation. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways. It's also simply a great manual for how to approach learning just about anything in a happy and healthy way.

Fwiw, Culadasa (John Yates PhD) taught physiology and neuroscience before retiring and that's very much reflected in his approach to writing the book, using modern understanding of the brain. People think kids should start learning programming from a young age? Meditation as I understand it now is even more important! For personal growth and understanding, general awareness, EQ, and more...

certmd · 2018-11-08 · Original thread
Cannot strongly recommend enough "The Mind Illuminated" by John Yates.

It's been discussed on HN before (it's how I found it a few years ago) and breaks down meditation in a systematic way while relating the phenomena described in Buddhist texts to current psychological principles. This "moments of consciousness model" of the mind is discussed at length and a short answer to you question is yes, different sensory moments are integrated in "binding moments".

RickS · 2018-04-15 · Original thread
The above is an affiliate link, if you care about such things. Here's one that isn't:
For those interested in learning more, The Mind Illuminated is by far the best book I've come across on the topic. It's an extremely systematic college level manual for learning how to meditate. The author has a PhD in physiology, has been meditating for 40 years, taught neuroscience for years, and speaks Pali and Sanskrit, so he's able to read and interpret the original Buddhist texts. These combined allow him to teach with a unique depth and precision.

Take a look at the Amazon reviews, and ask yourself if you've ever seen anything so highly rated:

I hope you find it as valuable as I did :)

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