Oprah Winfrey, Lebron James, Bill Gates, Kendrick Lamar, and Joe Rogan. These are some of the celebrities who meditate to improve performance and happiness.

They’re following in the footsteps of Buddhist and Taoist monks, who have trained their minds with meditation for thousands of years.

The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.

-Sogyal Rinpoche

Importance of meditation

Here are mind-altering benefits:

  • Less stress, anxiety, depression, and pain

  • More empathy and compassion

  • Better self-control and memory

For your entire life, things have been happening to you. Some good, some bad, most of which you have processed and dissolved, but a few stuck with you. Over time, more and more stuck with you, and they almost became like these barnacles stuck to you…

How do you get those barnacles off you? What happens in meditation is you’re sitting there and not resisting your mind. These things will start bubbling up. It’s like a giant inbox of unanswered emails, going back to your childhood…Resolving them doesn’t take any work—you just observe them.

Over time, you will resolve a lot of these deep-seated unresolved things you have in your mind. Once they’re resolved, there will come a day when you sit down to meditate, and you’ll hit a mental “inbox zero” …It’s a state of joy and bliss and peace. Once you have it, you don’t want to give it up.

-Naval Ravikant

How to start today

For beginners, American spiritual teacher Ram Dass describes how to do mindfulness meditation:

  • Close your eyes and bring your attention to the motion of your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils

  • Keep your focus at the nostrils, noting the full passage of each in-breath and out-breath from beginning to end

  • Each time you notice your mind has wandered to other thoughts, or is caught by background noises, bring your attention back to the easy, natural rhythm of your breathing

Start with short sessions. Practice 4–5 minutes, then take a 1-minute break before starting again. Over time, the contrast between meditation and everyday life will gradually dissolve. More and more, you will find yourself in your natural, pure presence, without distraction.

The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-in-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.

-Peter Matthiessen

Buddha spent 6 years meditating on the essence, causes, and cures for human anguish. In the end, he came to the realization that suffering is not caused by ill fortune, by social injustice, or by divine whims. Rather, suffering is caused by the behavior patterns of one’s own mind.

-Yuval Noah Harari

Personal notes

I meditate during yoga, deep breathing, and before sleeping. When thoughts and feelings arise, I acknowledge them and let them pass through me. It’s like a stone thrown in a lake—splash, then ripples fade…

Meditation has made me aware of my mind and body. I observe how my body feels moment to moment. I observe what brings me joy and suffering.

If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.

-Dalai Lama


Grabowski S. (2020, March 1). Celebrities and athletes who meditate every day. Mindful Steward.

Importance of meditation

Khoury B et al. (2015). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. J Psychosom Res. 78(6): 519–528.

  • A meta-analysis of 29 studies with 2,668 participants found that mindfulness meditation reduced stress (effect size = 0.74–0.83) and improved quality of life (effect size = 0.44–0.53)

Bamber MD, Morpeth E. (2019). Effects of mindfulness meditation on college student anxiety: a meta-analysis. Mindfulness. 10(2): 203–214.

  • A meta-analysis of 25 studies with 1,492 college students found that mindfulness meditation decreased anxiety (effect size = 0.56)

Goyal M et al. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 174(3): 357–368.

  • A meta-analysis of 47 trials with 3,515 participants found that meditation decreased anxiety (effect size = 0.38), pain (effect size = 0.33), and depression (effect size = 0.30)

Luberto CM et al. (2018). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of meditation on empathy, compassion, and prosocial behaviors. Mindfulness. 9(3): 708–724.

  • A meta-analysis of 26 studies with 1,714 subjects found that loving-kindness meditation increased empathy, compassion, and other prosocial behaviors (effect size = 0.40–0.45)

Cásedas L et al. (2020). Does mindfulness meditation training enhance executive control? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in adults. Mindfulness. 11: 411–424.

  • A meta-analysis of 13 studies found that mindfulness meditation improved working memory (effect size = 0.42), inhibitory control (effect size = 0.42), and executive control (effect size = 0.34)

Boccia M, Piccardi L, Guariglia P. (2015). The meditative mind: A comprehensive meta-analysis of MRI studies. Biomed Res Int. 2015: 419808.

  • A meta-analysis of 57 studies found that meditation activated brain areas involved in processing self-relevant information, self-regulation, focused problem solving, adaptive behavior, and interoception

  • Meditation caused functional and structural brain modifications in expert meditators, especially in areas involved in self-awareness and self-regulation

How to start today

Dass R. (n.d.). Why is it important to be aware of the breath? Ram Dass Foundation.

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