I got fairly into meditation in 2018. Not in a way where you do a huge amount of meditation, or seek guidance on how to do meditation well, or on whether what you are doing is meditation at all. I don’t think I even graduated from doing meditation largely in five minute bouts. I just really dug a set of mental things which seemed related to meditation. I was riding an ethos. I suppose meditation was a particularly namable point in the space, but not obviously the most exciting part of it, so I ended up being pretty excited about ‘meditation…?’ while not actually meditating that much.

I also remained so ignorant about meditation traditions and previous human meditation experience that you might doubt that I’m talking about the same thing. (I did talk to other people a little, and did about five guided meditations, which seemed like a different kind of thing anyway, but also very awesome.)

With that said, here’s a kind of meditation I made up. I call it, ‘meditative thinking’. In it, you do all the stuff you would usually do while meditating: be in a meditation-conducive position (I do lying on my back, which I hear is a bad idea, but it is very comfy); set a meditation timer with bells at the start and end (mine also makes water sounds between them, but this probably isn’t crucial); close your eyes; be aware of your breathing; then just go on being aware of stuff in a conspicuously conscious way. But before all this, choose a question to think about. And then, once meditating, think about the question. Maintain the same mental stance as you normally would meditating, insofar as that makes sense. Be aware of your breathing, and your awareness, and your thinking. If you stop thinking about the question, gently bring your awareness back to it.

I still find this good. Though it’s possible that it gets much of its benefit from being a ritualistic way to actually think about a question for five or ten minutes without reflexively opening Facebook because thinking doesn’t correspond to a tab or occupy one’s hands.