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You Can't Fail at Meditation – Nerdful Mind #54

January 24, 2021 by Simon Mannes

You can't fail at meditation.

The goal of meditation is to observe your object of focus without judging it. You can't fail at either of these two parts.

If you fail to observe the object of focus and the thoughts and feelings that appear, you won't be aware you're failing because you don't notice that your mind wanders. And when you notice that you "failed" you are already succeeding again.

Here's the thing with judging. It's just another thought. If you notice you're judging your thoughts, don't judge the judging. Realize that you noticed a thought and thus succeeded with meditation.

After noticing your success, return to your object of focus.

Meditation doesn't mean to have a quiet mind. It means to practice noticing when you become distracted and returning to your object of focus. It's practice, not execution.

“Your goal is not to battle with the mind, but to witness the mind.” – Swami Muktananda

Before we get to the rest of this newsletter: I recently launched a new website for Nerdful Mind! I'll publish more in-depth articles about mindfulness for developers there.

Reading Recommendations


“Every day, we are dealing with a thousand things, overrun by emails and messages and tasks and chores … and it can become overwhelming and shut us down. I’d like to talk about an idea I’ve been working with, called the Stateless Protocol. It’s meant to reduce the overwhelm and help us to focus and be more present.”

6 Myths About Stress

“Stress is a part of our lives and there’s no getting around it. But as much as we all live with it, many of us misunderstand some of the basics about stress and its role in our lives. Why does this matter?”

On Coding, Ego and Attention

“As soon as our expert predictions start to differ from reality terrible things begin to happen to our ability to think clearly. Psychologists call it ‘motivated reasoning’. [...] We start to ignore evidence that doesn't align with our ‘expert’ judgments. We become difficult to work with because anyone who is not as committed as I am to the preservation of my ego becomes the enemy. The irony is that for as long as I can remember I thought this was the goal of mastery. I thought that this ‘knowing’ was what it meant to be ‘senior’, ‘pro’ or ‘expert’. I was wrong.

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

Close your eyes, stretch as high as you can, and yawn for 10 seconds.

Afterwards, pause for a moment and check in with your body. How does it feel?

You can do this exercise as often as you like.

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: If you found an article you think others might like, and that fits this newsletter, I’d love it if you write me an email. Just reply!