Self-Discipline Meditations

Meditation practice, in general, helps you develop self-awareness, willpower, and focus. It helps you to pause, slow down, and live more consciously. That is why I call meditation the self-discipline gym.

Most styles of meditation will help you develop self-discipline, in one way or another. Having said that, there are some forms of meditation that are especially powerful for Mindful Self-Discipline. Some of these are traditional techniques, modified for this purpose; most of them are new methods that I have developed as part of my self-discipline framework.

Here you will find the description of the steps of these techniques—which is useful if you are an advanced meditator and want to practice them unguided, on your own. If you want to go deeper and be guided step-by-step, then get access to all the guided meditations by becoming a subscriber of the Higher Mind app.

Aspiration Meditations

Deep Longing Meditation

Use your intuition to discover your deeper goals and values.

  1. Grounding. Allow your breathing to be slow, long, and even. Relax any tension in your body.
  2. Calming. Watch your thoughts passing by like clouds in the sky. Observe them as a witness.
  3. Probing. Ask yourself a question about your aspirations, such as “What should I focus on next in my life?” or “What is my deepest desire?” or “What was I born to do?”
  4. Receiving. Stay open and quiet. Reject any answer from the analytical mind. Hold on to the question and see what comes up. It could be a thought, image, feeling or sound.

Yoga Nidra for Aspirations

Plant the seed of your aspirations deep in your subconscious mind.

  1. Grounding. Lie down and feel your body touching the ground. Feel your breath moving your body. Feel your heartbeat.
  2. Resolution. State your aspiration as a resolution, three times, in positive terms and present tense.
  3. Body Scan. Move your consciousness through each body part, relaxing them mentally, from toes to top of the head.
  4. Breath awareness. Become aware of your breathing and count them from 21 to 1.
  5. Resolution. State your resolution three more times. Feel the reality behind those words.
  6. Returning. Slowly move your fingers and toes, and conclude the meditation.

Shift Your Self-Talk

Shift out of limiting beliefs and negative self-talk into an empowered state.

  1. Grounding. Start by taking three deep breaths.
  2. Awareness. Become aware of the negative self-talk going on right now. Notice the words that are used, the feelings they evoke, and how they are present in your body as sensations.
  3. Deconstruction. Question the assumptions behind this self-talk. Poke holes in your limiting beliefs. Relax those sensations in the body.
  4. Affirmation. Affirm a different narrative, a more positive and empowering self-talk. Repeat it several times, with energy and conviction.
  5. Visualization. Imagine yourself going about your day and the negative self-talk comes up. You remember to become aware of it, deconstruct it, and shift it to the new narrative. See yourself going through that process successfully. Notice how it feels.

Make Your Sacrifice

Generate motivation and commitment toward your highest goals.

  1. Contemplation. Think about your aspiration, and why it is important for you. Contemplate the benefits that fulfilling that aspiration will bring in the different areas of your life.
  2. Visualization. Visualize that aspiration as a fire that needs to be fed. Think of which elements in your life you are willing to offer as fuel for that fire. It could be the time, money and energy you will invest in those goals. It could also be letting go of certain distractions, opposing desires, negative people and bad habits.
  3. Alignment. Visualize each of those elements as wood, and you are offering it all to the fire of your aspiration. See that with each offering, the fire grows bigger and brighter.
  4. Satisfaction. Enjoy the satisfaction of feeling more aligned with your goals and more true to your higher self. Feel good about yourself. Notice that, contrary to your fear, you have lost nothing, and gained something priceless.

Awareness Meditations

Box Breathing Pause

Pause and ground yourself with the Box Breathing technique.

  1. Abdominal Breathing. Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest. Make sure you are breathing through your belly.
  2. Rhythm. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and hold empty for four seconds. Do ten to twenty rounds like this.
  3. Guidelines. Let your breathing be deep, slow and even. Allow it to be relaxed and silent. Breathe in and out through the nose.
  4. Releasing. At the end, drop the pattern and just watch the natural flow of your breath. Enjoy the calm and clarity that is now present.

Shift Your Focus

Overcome procrastination, distractions, doubts and excuses by re-focusing on your long-term goals.

  1. Pause. Slow down and breathe. Become aware of the self-control conflict ahead of you.
  2. Perspective. Zoom out and become aware of your options, their long-term consequences, and the forces at play in the present moment.
  3. Remember. Bring to mind your goals, aspirations, and vision for yourself. Strengthen your commitment to your goals.
  4. Future Self. Emotionally connect to your future self. See the action that will make you experience fulfillment rather than regret.
  5. Intention. Make a resolve to take action that will lead to a +1, rather than a -1 in your life.

The ROAR Method

Let go of negative emotions holding you back.

  1. Grounding. Practice deep abdominal breathing for a few moments, to calm down the nervous system.
  2. Recognize. Become aware of any challenging emotions that you are experiencing. Label it to gain distance and objectivity.
  3. Observe. Notice the bodily sensations associated with that emotion. Observe them with a curious mind.
  4. Accept. Let the thoughts and sensations be there as they are. Accept and welcome them fully. Release all resistance and aversion.
  5. Release. With every exhalation, gradually let go of the sensations associated with that negative emotion.

The SACA Method

Change the story you are telling yourself to one that helps you stay positive and on track with your goals.

  1. Awareness. Become aware of the limiting belief or narrative.
  2. Separate fact from story. Gain clarity over what is pure fact and what is added interpretation (story).
  3. Analyze the effect of your story. Is it empowering or disempowering? Does it help you move forward or does it keep you stuck?
  4. Create an alternative story. Invite a new way of seeing and interpreting the situation. You have the power to tell yourself a better story. Act based on the new narrative.
  5. Act as if it were already true, and your body and mind will make it true.

Positive Reappraisal

Change your perception about tasks that you need to do but don’t feel like doing.

  1. Pause. Bring your body and mind to a state of rest by observing the sensations of breathing.
  2. Qualities. Contemplate the positive qualities of the activity you need to do. Look for aspects of it that you can enjoy.
  3. Consequences. Bring to mind the positive effects of that activity in your life. See how it takes you a step toward your goals or aspirations.
  4. Pleasure. Associate pleasant sensations and feelings with the activity.

Negative Reappraisal

Change your perception about tempting objects and activities, so that you don’t feel attracted to them anymore.

  1. Pause. Bring your body and mind to a state of rest by observing the sensations of breathing.
  2. Defects. Contemplate the defects of that activity or thing that is tempting you. Look at it in a way that you feel aversion and disgust, rather than impulsive attraction.
  3. Consequences. Bring to mind the negative consequences of indulging in this activity or thing in your life. See how this will bring bad effects to your health, wellbeing, etc. See it detracting you from your goal.
  4. Saturation. Take your mind to a state of being saturated with that particular pleasure. Go to the state you experience once you are done with that activity, or are sick of it. Create those feelings in your body.

Action Meditations

The ALFA Method

Recover from failure and disappointment without beating yourself up.

  1. Grounding. Take a moment to ground yourself on your body, mind and senses.
  2. Acknowledge. Become aware of what has just happened. Take ownership of it, but describe it in an emotionally neutral language. Zoom out so you can see it objectively.
  3. Learn. See what can you learn about this situation and about yourself. What triggered you to act this way? What can you change so this doesn’t happen again?
  4. Forgive. Release all narratives of self-criticism, shame or blame. You made a mistake, and it’s over. See what you can do to repair the damages, and focus on being ready to move on.
  5. Act. Remember your aspiration and values. Gently but resolutely recommit to your goals and habits. Strengthen your intention to get up as many times as you fall.

Dissolve Procrastination

Diminish the perceived pain of taking action and motivate yourself forward.

  1. Awareness. Take a moment to check in with your body. What does the sensation of procrastination feel like? Where does it live?
  2. Release. Find out what is the physical, mental or emotional discomfort that procrastination wants you to avoid. Label it so you gain some distance. Accept that sensation as it is, and release it with every out-breath.
  3. Realign. Contemplate the real pain, which is abandoning or postponing your goals. See procrastination as the cause of that pain. Think of the hidden costs of the decision to procrastinate, and what it will do to your future self.
  4. Act. Now that the action feels less painful, and inaction feels more painful, break down the task ahead of you in baby steps, and take a small step forward. Visualize yourself doing that successfully, and feeling good right after it.

POWER Visualization

Train your brain to overcome whatever obstacles are holding you back.

  1. Preparation. Get to a state of calmness of mind and relaxation.
  2. Obstacle. Visualize yourself working towards your goal or ideal, and then facing obstacles on your path. Feel how it feels at that moment—the fear, excuses or doubts that may come, the irritation or confusion, the failures and discouragement.
  3. Willpower. See yourself pausing, becoming aware of the situation, and intentionally making an effort to shift your state. Visualize yourself remembering the tools that you have learned, and using your willpower to apply them.
  4. Energy. Experience the state of heightened energy that comes as a result of tapping into your inner resources and overcoming the obstacle. Feel how empowering and enlivening this feels.
  5. Result. Visualize yourself overcoming that obstacle, and moving forward. Feel how good it feels.

Virtue Meditations

Kindle the Virtue

Learn to generate any virtue, quality or emotional state from within yourself, without depending on external sources.

  1. Grounding. Go into a state of relaxation and stillness by using your favorite method of meditation.
  2. Kindling. Re-create the bodily sensations, emotional experience, and narrative associated with your chosen virtue. Do this by vividly remembering a time in your past when you experienced that virtue. If you haven’t experienced it, imagine how it would feel.
  3. Noticing. Pay attention to the three handles of this state: the sensations in your body, the feelings in your heart, and the self-talk in your mind. Take a mental snapshot of it all.
  4. Enhancing. Focus all your attention, moment by moment, on the experience of that virtue, via the three handles. Make the virtue itself the object of your meditation. You can also repeat affirmations mentally, to strengthen the experience.

Absorb the Virtue

An ancient and secret shortcut to developing any virtue by using your mirror neurons.

  1. Grounding. Go into a state of relaxation and stillness by using your favorite method of meditation.
  2. Visualize. Imagine or “see” your role model in front of you. Your role model is a person who has that virtue highly developed. It could even be a mythical figure or movie character.
  3. Contemplate. Think of the quality that you wish to absorb from her/him. Think of all the ways that person expresses that quality. Get the full picture of the experience.
  4. Inhale. Begin paying attention to your breath. With every inhalation, have the attitude that you are absorbing that quality onto yourself; with every exhalation, spread that quality throughout your body.
  5. Become. Forget your separate identity for some moments, and become that quality. It can almost feel like you have become that person. Feel what they feel, think as they think, act as they act.
  6. Remember. Pay close attention to the “footprints” of that quality inside of you. Take a “mental snapshot” of how it feels in your body, in your emotions, and in your mind.
  7. Act. During your day, tap into that quality by remembering the mental snapshot, and recreating those thoughts, feelings, and sensations inside of you. Act as if that is really you.

Next Steps

Save the Instructions

Download the PDF version of these meditation instructions by clicking the link below, so you can easily follow them on your own.

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