The nature of the mind is to think. It keeps bringing up thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories 24/7. In meditation, we try to master the mind, but it starts with just simply observing it. Meditations are the type of thing that unless you practice it daily for some time, you are not experiencing the benefits. People give up because they need sit for ten minutes. If you sit in meditation with the expectation that your mind is going to stop and you experience supreme peace, that’s not going to happen. You’re not going to stop it, but let the mind do whatever it wants to do. Meditation teacher Giovanni Dienstmann talks about developing the habit of meditation and the benefits of the practice.
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How To Master Your Mind with Giovanni Dienstmann
I have with me Giovanni Dienstmann and he is a meditation teacher. He is the writer behind the popular blog LiveAndDare.com. He’s also the creator of the acclaimed Master Your Mind program. Giovanni has been intensely seeking personal growth and enlightenment since his teenage years, and in this process, he’s practiced meditation daily, totaling over 8,000 hours. He’s written hundreds of books, tried several different techniques, spent time on retreats with masters and instructors around the world. All of this practice learning and training has radically transformed his mind and his experience of the world. As a result, he now lives a fierce less, peaceful and fulfilling life. He doesn’t consider himself a guru nor a spiritual master. He says he’s a practitioner on the way. He shares the powerful tools and insights that have helped him. Here we are and it’s great to be with you, Giovanni.
Thank you for having me, Terri.
I know so many people who have tried to meditate and gone to different masters of meditation, read books, tried audios, and videos, including me. It seems like we haven’t found a consistent way to do this. What’s that all about?
Having the daily discipline to practice, it’s very difficult. Many people struggle with that. Meditations are the type of thing that unless you practice it daily for some time, you are not experiencing the benefits. People give up because they need sit for ten minutes. They experience some relaxation and some sense of peace, then it’s gone, unless you practice it daily. The most important thing is building up that connection with the practice. It’s important to start really small. Don’t be greedy. Just start at five minutes per day. Increase one minute per week. It’s easy enough so that all of us can follow. If we do that, then we’re able to continue to practice long enough to experience the benefits.
A lot of times people tell me, “If you don’t do it twenty minutes, you’re not getting any value.” I couldn’t do it for twenty minutes and then I feel like a failure. I don’t want to do it again. Five minutes a day, I can handle that. Just adding on a minute a week, I can handle that. I want to thank you for breaking it down and making it simpler and easier. I’m going to take you to the next step, which is the question I hear people talk about all the time. How do I get myself to actually meditate if I want to and my mind is rushing?
It’s important to understand the nature of the mind is to think. It keeps bringing up thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories, 24/7. If you sit in meditation with the expectation that your mind is going to stop, then you experience supreme peace. That’s not going to happen. You will feel frustrated, you’d feel meditation is not for me, and I don’t have the talent or whatever. The truth is in meditation, we are trying to observe the mind. You let the mind do whatever it wants to do. You’re not going to stop it, at least not in the beginning. If you let your mind do whatever it wants to do, you don’t let that bother you.
You keep your attention on the chosen object of meditation. It can be your breathing, it can be a mantra, it can be a visualization, or it can be a part of your body like the chakras in yoga. Your goal in the beginning is to bring your attention to that object again and again. Try to keep it there for as long as possible. While the attention is on the meditation object, the thoughts are still going on in the background and that’s fine. When you noticed that you have forgotten about the object, you are fifteen thoughts away from the object of meditation, then you tend to bring your attention back. You’d be happy that you noticed. That’s the core of it.
I felt like I got permission to be okay with thoughts in the background. When I’m trying to chase them away, that’s certainly not helping things. That may have sounded very simple, but it was very profound for me. I thank you for that. People that I’ve talked over the years have said, “You need to meditate first thing in the morning.” You’d have a meditation ritual and has to be the same time of day. I would love your thoughts. I haven’t had on a master like you and I’m thrilled to have you.
All of these recommendations are to enhance the meditation practice but they are not essential. Building the habit, it’s the challenge for most people and it’s essential for you to have the benefits of the practice. In science, there are all these little tips that can make it much easier for you to do the habit. If you practice the same action at the same time of the day, the same place, that creates a strong link in your mind. If you always meditate after having a shower in the morning, in the corner of your room, tomorrow morning after you have a shower and you see the corner of the room, you’ll remember. It’s time to meditate. It’s a trigger. It doesn’t mean that if you don’t meditate at the time, meditation is not going to be good that day. It’s just a help for you to build that habit.
I had a client talking about this and asked this question at an event. The client asked, “If I find that I meditate better with either visualization or with affirmations or with somebody guiding me through it, is that okay?” I would like to ask you.
There are as many types of meditation as there are types of diets, or types of sports. We wouldn’t want to say that every person should follow this diet because this diet is the best, or that every person that wants to exercise should this sport because this sport is the best. We all have different needs. We all have different personalities. Different types of meditation are there to suit these different types of personalities and needs. That’s why it’s very important for those wanting to make meditation a part of their lives that they experiment with more than one technique.
They can see which one helps them achieve their goal. Their goal might be, “I just want to be less stressed,” or “I want to learn how to manage my fear and my anxiety better. I want to lower my blood pressure. I want to be more creative in my work. Whatever is the goal for you, experiment with different types of meditation, maybe at least once a week. See which meditation helps you achieve your goal better.
I happen to be gluten-free, plant-based and vegan. I have friends always telling me, “You should eat this. You’re not getting enough of this.” I’m like, “It’s my body and I’ll take care of my body in my way, and you can take care of your body in your way.” We have that same freedom. Find what works for you. You’re also telling us we need to do this consistently.
Once you find the meditation that works for you, don’t keep changing. If you do a different practice every time, you’re not going to get deep in any of them.
That’s where I began my journey. Within a month, I had done seven different things and I didn’t have a practice that I knew fit me. What happened for you? What are the experiences and the value that you’ve gotten that makes you so excited to share this with others, Giovanni?
I was a very restless and anxious teenager. I was searching for something, but I didn’t know what it was. The first time I sat in a meditation in a workshop in my city, I went to a space where everything was fine. I was happy in the present moment. Nothing to run after, nothing to run away from, no anxiety. I felt at the moment to be very special. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. That day I decided, at fifteen years old, I’m going to practice meditation for every day of my life. That’s how my journey started.
When I’m with someone who meditates, my experience of them is that they’re more conscious, more awake, and more present. Is that true?
Yes, if you’re doing meditation right, those qualities would have increased, no doubt.
If someone is trying to break a pattern, like emotional eating or whatever, does meditation help that as well?
There are many reasons why we engaged in behaviors that are not good for us. Maybe we are bored and then we just look forward the next stimulate that we can give our senses. Maybe we’re feeling stressed and we just go to the easiest thing that can make us feel a little bit better inside of our body, inside our mind. We go on default to a behavior that gives that quick spike of feeling good. Many times that is not something that is good for us in the long-term. One way of fixing that is fixing the cause. Maybe you’re feeling bored because we don’t have anything exciting in our life. We don’t have a passionate direction, mission, or a goal. If we include that in our life, we’d feel less the need to engage in other things that are a poor substitute for that.
The deepest way of fixing it is try to create something in ourselves, in our life that is more interesting than what that habit is trying to fill. The same thing with stress. If you can’t go and fix the causes of stress in your life. That can be an external cause. 80% of my stress comes when I contact these people, when I go to this environment. Do I need to have that environment and these people in my life or not? It could be an internal cause. The way I am reacting to things, the way I am seeing things is not helpful and it’s creating stress. Personal growth work, coaching, and meditation can really help you with that. That’s how I would fix the situation in the deepest level. The way meditation can help with all of that, is that it increases your self-awareness. You start noticing what your mind is doing, the moment it’s doing it. You have the power to do something different rather than just noticing it half an hour later. “I’ve got carried away by this emotion and I did this thing that I didn’t like.”
Giovanni, how can people connect with you? Where can they go to find out more?
The best way is going to my website, LiveAndDare.com. They can find my online courses, including the Master Your Mind courses for helping them get started with meditation and choosing their ideal technique. They can find out about my upcoming book, Practical Meditation.
You’ve been a real gift. Thank you so much for coming here to Heartrepreneur Radio.
My pleasure, Terri. Thank you.
For the audience, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. This is an episode filled with wonderful information. I had been not so consistent in my meditation. I’m going to make a commitment that I’m going to go back and consciously go back to my meditation practice. I’m going to do it for five minutes this week and I’m going to add a minute every single week. I’ll keep you posted on that. Thanks for tuning in, here at Heartrepreneur Radio.
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About Giovanni Dienstmann
My name is Giovanni Dienstmann, I’m the creator and the writer here. I have been actively seeking personal growth and a deeper meaning in life since I was a teenager (I’m now in my mid 30’s). In this process, I have practiced meditation daily (for the past 17+ years, totaling over 8,000 hours at this point), read hundreds of books, tried several different practices, spent time on retreats with masters and instructors around the world, and nearly became a monk a couple of times.
Throughout my life, I have invested a lot of energy, study and experimentation on optimizing my mental and emotional states – and overcoming all limitations, especially those imposed by fear, attachment and ignorance, has been an area of focus for me.
All this practice, learning and training has radically transformed my mind and view of the world. As a result, I now live a fearless, peaceful, and fulfilling life.
I’m not a guru or a spiritual master – but a practitioner on the way, sharing the powerful tools and insights that have helped me thus far. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned (and still learn), to empower people to grow, live well, be happy and free. This site is here to serve both your personal improvement and personal transcendence (depending on your needs and interests).
My work is to translate and “update” the tools and teachings of world-wide wisdom traditions so that they are easily digestible for the 21st-century person. In this process, I also seek to integrate lessons from modern science and psychology.