30 day challenge update: meditation!

It’s time for an update on my 30 day challenges. Here’s what I’ve done the last few months:

June: I didn’t respond to email after 10 p.m. and I read the New Testament of the Bible. Both were interesting in different ways. It turns out that 10 p.m. is a pretty good time for me to turn off email (I’ve tried 9 p.m. in the past and that didn’t work–Google can be a very email-heavy place at times). I’d like to get back to this habit, because it made me distinctly more mellow at night. I noticed that I slipped pretty quickly back into the “email anytime I’m awake” habit.

Reading the Bible was more work. I’ve mentioned before that I grew up the son of an evangelical Christian and a physics professor, which was helpful to learn how to respect other people’s opinions. I hadn’t read the Bible in recent years, so it was enlightening to read it as an adult. If I had to sum up the New Testament in a sentence, it would be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (the golden rule). However, for all the talk about mercy and compassion in the New Testament compared to the Old Testament, there was still quite a bit of fire/brimstone/judging. I enjoyed reading some books (e.g. Acts and Romans) that I didn’t remember much from growing up. Other parts I enjoyed less. But I got a lot out of reading the New Testament, including some appreciation of the text as literature and as history.

I grew up on the King James version of the Bible. But newer translations are a lot more readable in my opinion. I enjoyed the New Living Translation. By the way, I really enjoyed an Android app called CrossConnect Bible (here’s more info on the app on AppBrain). CrossConnect Bible has really solid spoken-word audio of the Bible. It’s perfect for listening on commutes.

One meta-lesson I learned is that for some people, any discussion of a religious book in any context (even as literature or its role in history) is considered as rude as farting. That was something that I didn’t expect in oh-so-open-minded California. Heck, a few people may complain that I discussed the Bible (without endorsing or condemning it) even this much on my personal blog. Sorry if I’ve offended.

July: I tried to use only cloud-based software. For the most part, this was pretty easy, but in a few instances I wasn’t completely in the cloud. I needed to open a terminal window from time to time to type various UNIX commands, and I had to take and crop a few screenshots. Side-note: for taking Chrome screenshots, I now recommend Screen Capture by Google because it can save in .png format really well, with a close second-place of Awesome Screenshot.

After about a year of conscious effort, I pretty much live in the cloud at this point, and I love it. My data is usually in the cloud, so I can get to it from any computer. I’ve switched all my daily software and operating systems to open-source projects such as Linux/UNIX, Chrome, and GIMP. I try to live by the principle “don’t put data where you can’t get it out,” which means that I don’t give my data to some companies and I try to avoid proprietary file formats or things locked down with DRM. I don’t use any pirated software. The latest version of Ubuntu (Lucid Lynx) is fantastic, by the way. This was mostly an easy, fun month. I think lots more people will live more in the cloud in a few years.

August: I took a picture a day. I knew that I’d be climbing Kilimanjaro in August and wouldn’t be near a computer, so I decided to take a picture a day. On the plus side, I started to be more aware of unusual sights around me. On the negative side, I missed a few days and I haven’t posted the pictures anywhere yet. I think reviewing each day’s photos (and posting them for public comments) would be a much better way to improve my sense of composition and photography skills. I still hope to post my favorite daily pictures though.

September: This month, I plan to meditate or quietly reflect for 15 minutes a day. I started today, and quickly learned that quieting my thoughts is pretty hard. I lasted about 2.5 minutes before so many to-do items were bouncing around in my brain that I had to take a break and write a bunch down before restarting. But I did enjoy my first session. I also managed to get my pulse rate pretty low. Now I have to avoid the trap of seeing how low I can get my pulse to go and just enjoy the quiet.

Feel free to join me in my challenge this month–at only 15 minutes a day, it’s a pretty good way to try out a 30 day challenge! :)

96 Responses to 30 day challenge update: meditation! (Leave a comment)

  1. Good Luck with the meditation!
    Although I voted for Sing-lessons :)

  2. I’m even worse, I can’t go more than a minute and thousands of things I need to do or want to do or ever thought about doing come rushing to my brain. I think if I try hard for the next two years I might get to 15 minutes a day, maybe! Good luck

  3. I sent you a tweet about this but since you have a kabillion followers I doubt you saw it :)

    “Meditation is amazing if you can MASTER it. Start off with a few minutes/day and build from there – life changing in many ways :)”

  4. Very good challenge. But, come on, Matt! 15 minutes? Try more ;-)
    It become easy if you focus on the air where it touches your nose. Then count every breath starting with one to 21. Then start again. And so on.
    Have fun!
    eric

  5. Fantastic idea to take a picture a day, I am on a month ‘one-new-recipe every-other-day’-athon at the moment to get me out of the office and you have just reminded me to take pictures! On a seperate note, where do you get all your ideas from!? Was the first 30 day challenge to think of one good idea for a 30 day challenge per day?!

  6. Interesting 30 day challenge this month. I’m tempted to join you, except I know that I’m going to fail at it sooner or later.

    What the heck, if I don’t try I don’t “win” – so count me in (for the remaining 29 days).

    Good luck to Matt, me, and everybody else :)

  7. I think I’m going to join you for this 30 day challenge!

    Interesting observation about flack from mentioning the Bible. Seems a lot of open-minded people are hypocrites.

  8. I’ve started doing the monthly thing after I read your blog! This month I am doing yoga daily for 30 minutes a day. Hope to continue it after the month end! Good luck with your meditation challenge.

  9. That is a good practice . Indeed you should try Yoga too :)

  10. ‘The son of an evangelical Christian and a physics professor’ – wow that for me is interesting. I think I find these post on Matt Cutts the man more interesting than Matt Cutts the Google SEO guy.
    If you want to read a good book I recommend “The Beginning of All Things: Science and Religion” By Hans Kung. He is a pretty heavy hitter when when it comes to those subjects. I know there are a lot of books about this subject, but he is clear and objective and Swiss.
    Religion, the meaning of life and science are great subjects, I do not know why people find it distasteful to talk about. For me they are fun.

  11. I think your challenge this month it’s going to be awesome. Many people I really appreciate, recommended me this before so many times, that seeing someone so busy and popular like u, encourages me even more to think about it.

    All the best and luck Matt.

    Esteve from Barcelona.

  12. Matt, I am sure if you really go through this challenge not mentally but with the heart, God will surprise you. I’ve got very excited with this one. By reading some comments, I agree with Mark Biernat and add that you have much more than just religion inside the New Testament (by the way, God hates man’s religion). People you should follow on this journey: http://www.twitter.com/TommyTenney, http://www.twitter.com/MaxLucado and http://www.twitter.com/RickWarren. I can’t tell you which one is my prefered writer so I will avoid jealousy. ;0)
    PS: Now you’ve got a big score in my concept!

  13. Its ironic to me that you chose this and tweeted about it yesterday. I had been thinking I needed the same thing the last few days. A pure mental reboot every day. I’m doing traditional zazen, focus on breathing (minus the full Lotus position).

  14. don

    …curious what google is doing to combat the spam that is flowing through the Auto Insurance and Auto Insurance Quotes searches these days…the same company continues to hijack your results with this sites and thousands of backlinks auto generated in blog postings, realize this is not the right area…but no other source has worked to get this fixed and create a level playing field..

    Ive submitted spam reports and posted this before but it is still a HUGE problem!

  15. I have been contemplating meditation lately and considered giving it a try. It would be great if you could share any resources you are using or following.

  16. Hello Matt,

    I found your comments below to be true, interesting and funny. This is America, it is your personal blog and you should discuss any topic you like. I do not know why people get so uptight about religious discussions. You do it in a nice, professional and none offending way. I think many people like and enjoy reading your thoughts on this topic.

    “One meta-lesson I learned is that for some people, any discussion of a religious book in any context (even as literature or its role in history) is considered as rude as farting.”

  17. When you were undertaking the 10 p.m. email project, did you usually find that you had an overwhelming number of messages to respond to, first thing in the morning?

  18. Jay Gischer

    One meta-lesson I learned is that for some people, any discussion of a religious book in any context (even as literature or its role in history) is considered as rude as farting.

    Honestly, I think they need to get over it. The Christian Bible is the most important book in the life of anyone raised in the Western traditions. There is so much of our art, architecture and literature based on it that you are really missing out if you don’t understand it.

  19. Matt you have inspired me. A while ago I took one of your 30 day challenges and it made some big changes in my life. Because of that I’ve kind of become a 30 day challenge advocate. Trying to get anyone I know to do them. I have recently started a facebook page inspired by your blog. http://www.facebook.com/pages/30-days-to-a-better-You/127395580642140

    Thanks for your inspiration and this blog.

  20. Prasad

    I am quite sure it will be very soothing. But, as you say its a “Challenge” ; the day to day work just sucks all our time!!! :-(

  21. David

    My experience has been that 15 minutes isn’t enough for me to get settled, etc., but of course your mileage may vary.

    I’m a noob on Chrome/Chromium, and went to install the “Screen Capture” app – then it told me that it needed access to “all data on my computer” which sounds like “root” which killed it for me.

    Probably less threatening than it looks, but I’m old and gun shy…

  22. Nice post, I am also looking for Ubuntu again. After I purchased new laptop I have not installed it. I am using Win7 Home premium

  23. Hey Matt,

    An outstanding, worthwhile achievement. Did you really get through the whole New Testament in one night? (If so, then you really are some kind of genius, you know that?)

    I’m a mother of six children under the age of 12. Because I am a Christian author and was one of the first missionaries to the internet, my kids live the fishbowl experience of life as MK’s. (Missionary kids) It’s a constant concern and prayer of mine that they won’t be so deluged with the “religion” that they lose the “Relationship.” I tell them to keep their eyes on Jesus – not necessarily on His followers. One of the best ways to do that is to actually read the Bible – like you did. The other is to practice the art of “Being still, and knowing that He is God.” (also known as “meditating” :) Very, very well done Matt.

  24. Thank you for your wonderful article. That is great you are trying to meditate more. I really should start as well. I haven’t meditated for along time. And meditation is so good for the mind. And soul. It’s very relaxing and helps the body unwind after a stressful day or even helps the body become peaceful at the beginning of the day! So yeah, I def. should meditate. I really need the extra peace and relaxation now. I get up extra early now since my daughter is going to school and I work many hours during the day. I def. will take your advice! I also read the bible. I don’t read it much like I should. I read it mostly when I attend church.

  25. I really like how you summarized some of your past 30-day commitments, Matt. Good lessons there for us. I also like your “don’t put your data where you can’t get it back” rule.

  26. I think I’m going to take a 30-day challenge to make time to come up with a 30-day challenge. Between my workshops, consulting, limited services, two kids, and waterfall inbox, it’s not likely to happen. Kudos to you for making time to have a life Matt. I can’t wait to get there.

  27. Matt,

    Go for it buddy. I began learning Tai Chi about 3 years ago. I’m a recovering Alcho and needed this to help me manage life! I call it “meditation in Movement”.

    With exception to your June challenge and never forgetting our foundation principles, regular meditation is one of the most important things we can do IMHO.

    - Paul Barrs

  28. Hi, Matt;
    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years,
    and I like it a lot.
    As you are starting a meditation practice,
    I recommend the poem “Calm of the time, time of calm”,
    by Austro Queiroz,
    at http://en.austro.com/
    Kind regards

  29. Interesting read… I’ve found that I need to just shut off the e-mails at 7:00 or I’m up all night working with short sale issues. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier but you have to wonder if it has just created more stress in today’s demand of an instant answer world.

    Lots of laughing about the oh-so-open-minded California reference. I’m not going any further with that one…

  30. Very cool, Matt. Now…if everyone would take the same chill pill – some deep breaths, clear their mind, calm down, slow the heart rate…then maybe speaking of religious books won’t seem so bad. Nor anything else for that matter. I’m with you on this one.

  31. Think I may join up on the 15 minutes a day of meditation. Used to do this a few years back in college, when I was working out a ton, and it was really great. Have not done it in years but should get back on it, it really does help calm and clear your mind. And it is a heck of a lot harder than it looks! Just like you said, after a few short minutes your mind starts to drift from a clear state and begins thinking about what needs to be done in your busy life. Good luck with this and will join you on the meditation!

  32. Hi Matt,
    I was reading the Bible past year but I didn’t finish, your comments about it are very inter , I didn’t know your parents are Christians.
    I would try to follow you with your new challenge
    I prefer the Yoga and I will try to get up early in the morning for do it 15 min too.

  33. Those are some interesting challenges. I keep trying the meditation one but I usually just forget or miss on my sessions after a couple of days.

    And yes, Americans appear to be very sensitive about anything related to religion (or perceived as such). I’ve learned over the years to tiptoe around certain topics…

  34. Simon

    Hello Matt,

    I really like your blog. Always fun to read.

    What kind of cloud services did you use?

  35. This is a great idea. I began meditating for 10 mins a day since last November and my life has gone from strength to strength ever since.

  36. Regarding the golden rule, if one is into BDSM he’s supposed to torture others ? :))

  37. Thanks for recommending Screen Capture, Matts. Good find by Google again. Your 30 day challenge experience sounds great. Need to try it too. :-)

  38. I like the meditation idea. Are you using a specific technique or “brand?” I recently learned that we have a big TM center right here in Lexington, KY (Maharishi Peace Palace, http://lexington.globalcountry.net/). Can’t decide if those guys are kooks or not. Sounds like the techniques they use are non-spiritual (or at least non-religious) in nature.

  39. Meditation is very hard. Maybe you give a try at this: Read something (New Testament will be great ;-) – only one sentence) and think about this 1 minute. What word jumps in your head? Take 5 minutes to write down everything whats in your head to the single term. This can clear your RAM ;-)
    Then take your 15 minutes for meditation!

    Patrick

  40. John

    Hi Matt – Interesting idea on the NT.

    I found a neat book in August on vacation at a library book sale – Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture by John Shelby Spong. It’s a book and author not without their controversy, but I thought it was a great intro to Judeo-Christian scriptural history and raises many thought provoking topics about the history of the Old and New Testaments.

    I was raised Catholic, and have been increasingly curious about the lessons and Bible snippets presented by that faith’s ceremonies. The author comments on how few members of any practicing Bible-based faiths have a good understanding of the Bible as a whole, and that it’s worthwhile to gain some serious Bible study and history towards helping understand our faiths and spirituality.

    Thought you might find this interesting.

    Shutting off email at 10 and cracking a book before sleep is a great idea! :-D

  41. Answering mail after 9PM sounds like you need to get strict with your coworkers as I suspect that 95% of those calls could have waited – Hope you are taking your TOIL :-)

    Maybe a $10 forfeit for your water charity for calls that could wait.

  42. Hello Matt, thank you for all you postings, they are of great inspiration for my life and work. For meditation you should try to make sections of breathing to make it easy as you’ll be concentrated on the breathing itself -> listening to your body / making your brain stop for a while. So breath-in as deep as you can and keep it there counting to 7, breath-out, keep it there count to 7 again, so each breath maintaining a break between them counting until 7. Do abdominal breathing! You’ll feel great. Wish you all the best, greetings from Sahara Desert!

  43. Great idea on reading the New Testament, Matt. I suspect that if you had skipped Revelations, you would have had a much more pleasant experience. Hopefully, you didn’t read it in order and end with Revelations. Remember, Revelations (the only real fire & brimstone part of the Bible) was written by John under arrest and he had to cloak what he wrote to avoid the guards from discarding it. He hid the meaning so well inside of symbols that we still have a hard time today deciphering it.
    I spend 60 seconds almost every day reading through one of the 31 Proverbs. It is filled to the brim with great wisdom for people of all faiths. I can get through it every 30 days. Try it.

  44. Craig

    Meditation: Quieting your thoughts is hard. Focus on something instead, and note distractions. That’s the ticket. I found the free audio from here to be very helpful. http://fhu.com/meditation.html It’s a very commonsense approach, and non-denominational. No, I am not an employee / zealot / etc.

  45. ok… Killimangaro has definately influenced your thinking…

    have to agree – we have to remember about true values of life, BUT c’mon!

    we come here to get inside information (even the tiniest one) about big G and seo .. and of course to get backlinks :D

    Matt, please return :’(

  46. It might be such text no matter the bible or some thing else aren’t as important as the conclusion you draw on them.

    I think any religion got rather shity people that will turn any text like a big sign to war on all other religions or use it for anything.

    U a rather good person though you will see good things. And if you reflect on things no matter you call it the bible or mindfullness it is probably a good thing that get one to think more on others.

    The problem of course comes if one over study things and feel what one sense you read in it could explain anything.

  47. I have been meditating pretty much every day for many years and I have come to feel that it has become the foundation for my daily life. It sets the tone for the rest of my day and helps me to feel more peace among the challenges of my daily activities. I believe meditation has changed me over time into a more peaceful and focused person and I wish you well in your meditations.

  48. Huw

    Hey Matt – I read your post on meditation. I struggled with that ‘busy mind’ issue too. There’s a guy called Andy who runs a site in UK called getsomeheadspace.com. There’s one section that deals specifically with 15 minute sessions and how to approach them. Thought you might enjoy it. I’m not affiliated with them at all. http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/Tools/Take15

  49. Hi Matt, your blog is always really interesting.
    Interesting point on so called “open mindedness”. People really don’t want to hear about the bible because it goes against a few things in society. If you think about it the bible doesn’t force people but just leaves an open door; even so: just the fact it suggests things might be wrong agitates people, it’s not what they want to hear 2 Timothy 4:1-5

    All the best to you, thank you for the SEO tips and persona example

  50. As both a roofer and website designer, my days usually begin at 3:30 a.m. and end some time after 10:00 p.m., with approximately 5-6 hours being dedicated to the latter.
    I used to practice meditating first thing every morning, but some where along the line it was no longer a part of my daily routine.
    I am glad that you are influencing people to take this challenge with you, and I respectfully accept to do it along with you.
    I need to start off my day on the right note. Thanks Matt :-)

  51. Morris Rosenthal

    Is meditation good for Matt Cutts according to xHow

    Meditation may be good for some people, it may be bad for other people. Some people find mediation very useful, while other see less positive results. You can determine whether mediation is good for Matt Cutts by following these steps:

    1. Observe Matt Cutts before he starts meditating and take extensive notes of his behavior and cognitive ability.

    2. Watch Matt Cutts meditating to make sure he really is meditating and not just sayin.

    3. Observe Matt Cutts after he has been meditating for two weeks and take extensive notes of his behavior and cognitive ability.

    4. Compare the notes on Matt Cutts from before he started meditating to the notes on Matt Cutts after he started, marking improvements under a “positive” heading and decay under a “negative” heading.

    5. Add up up the tick marks in the positive and negative columns.

    6. If the total from the positive column is greater than the total from the negative column, meditation is good for Matt Cutts.
    ———————————-
    Author – Don’t forget to link this article from your blog, from community sites like Yahoo! Answers and Facebook, your school or work, and any other sites you can hack into.

    Morris

  52. Sean Wenzel

    Stop worrying about pulse rate and do the challenge. 15 min/day, heck you found the time to read the Bible. No need for extensive notes.

  53. Hi Matt,

    i am a little late on this one but will give it a try for the rest of the month as well, 15 minutes will be a good test for me.

    Your right about Ubuntu I have been using for a number of releases and Lynx is the best yet in my opinion. Unfortunately there are still bits of software i need windows for but as you said you can use cloud based services for most things and this has the plus side in that it makes transitioning between different OS’s a lot easier.

    Good luck.

  54. I really like the idea of taking a picture a day. I’ve found taking a pictures a much easier way for me to document periods of time and keep memories rather than writing diaries or journals. A quick flick back through my picture archives is great for triggering memories.

    Now I just need to move my pictures from my hard disk to the cloud (for saftey rather than sharing reasons).

  55. For the first times, even 2.5 minutes before wandering off are pretty impressive. I’ve had times when just after starting my meditation timer I was already thinking about my to-do list, what I had to do later and these kind of stuff.

    But after these days, you’ll see how useful just 15 minutes a day can be to do something new!

    Ruben

  56. Alex

    Hi Matt! From my own experience I can tell that meditation serves me best when I do not use it to attain any specific state or goal. I just sit down and carefully watch the content of my mind, all that is happening inside, taking special care to sense my body or breath. I do not try to change anything, but in the same I take effort not to follow my thoughts and associations and simply remain attentive to my experience. Of course, sooner or later I am always taken by them, but when I see that this happened I just quietly come back to myself and start listening again.
    This effort changes a lot to how we experience and handle our life – it is really great that you picked this particular challenge. You probably realize that there is more and more talk in neuro- and cognitive science field about benefits of this practice – some neuroscientist like Thomas Metzinger insist that it should be taught in schools as a kind of mental hygiene practice?

  57. 30 days to focus on one thing – something more people should try. A very simple idea to learn something or really get things going in an area in your life that has been neglected.

    i.e. SEO for my websites…

  58. I think if I stopped for 15 minutes any day this week, I might fall into such a deep sleep that I’d not get any more work done ’til Monday! That might not altogether be a bad thing, though!

  59. Meditation can be very difficult unless we get into a daily habit. The mind is like an untrained puppy, and the fact that you lasted 2.5 minutes right off the bat is very good. 90% of people don’t make it through their first minute for the first while. When we start treating meditation as being an important task, and not something that delays the start of our day by 15 minutes,then the breakthroughs begin.

  60. Morris Rosenthal

    Matt,

    On the pulse rate. I started meditating in my early 20′s when I was stressed out, commuting around Boston etc, and after six months, got my rest pulse down from the low 80′s to the low 70′s. Then I stopped meditating, started running, and within a couple months, my rest pulse was in the low 50′s, where it’s remained for the last twenty years.

    Unless I have to drive in Boston.

    Morris

  61. That was something that I didn’t expect in oh-so-open-minded California

    Yup. As a non-religious guy it’s still very surprising to me how easy it is for many bright, well educated folks to remain very open minded about most complicated, controversial topics … except religion, which is often wrongly seen by critics as an uncompromising point of view – something that undermines rather than strengthens humanity.

    IMO much of that misconception stems from the folks who mix religion with right wing politics, which often does lead to uncompromising (and often hypocritical) positions on a variety of topics. This and a pretty aggressive “anti religion” bent in other groups has really polarized / inhibited the discussion.

    Very unfortunate since religion remains a key factor – for good and bad – in most human social interaction around the world.

  62. I think meditation/prayer is great to clear your mind daily, and to calm down. Your June task of cutting off email at a certain time makes sense. Its hard to be disconnected when your job requires communication to a great extent but one has to set boundaries or it takes over your life right?

    I think your Sept challenge would help benefit the friend that you had mentioned in another blog (finding start up ideas) who can find 6 things that irritate him on the way into the building in the morning!

  63. Great post. Great idea about the NT. Yup, even mentioning that you read the NT will offend. Also, meditation has a great effect; it brings to mind the things that occupy your subconscious. If keep a pad handy, and you write the items down, the urgency to do them goes on the paper, and in your head, allowing a ‘cleansing’ to take place. Thanks. Grateful to be turned on to your blog… I am a first-time cutta.

  64. I’m wondering if you are suffering some kind of internet anxiety disorder. Can you unplug from it all even for a day? I think I can double the time for meditation so count me in! I’m so glued to my PC everyday and I feel like I’m married to it already and I need to file for a divorce soon, haha. I’m not really a religious person and I respect what you wrote here. I guess, having faith is better than losing faith. Cheers!

  65. Matt

    Am looking forward to joining you on the meditation trail this month – my head is constantly buzzing with work – I feel as though I have so much I want to achieve and contribute to life and so little time in which to do it – one lifetime is sometimes not enough.

    Les

  66. Good idea for the new challenge. I understand what you mean about trying to quiet the brain. It seems with so much going on and so much to do it is hard to totally switch off and not think of these. I think it is a good idea to write them down if they come up though, as it allows you to clear those thoughts from your mind. I do like the to relax in the sun and just let my mind daydream also, I always come up with good ideas, by just letting my mind drift.

  67. Hmm, interesting read indeed. Have never brought myself to do any challenge like this. But I must say your post is a push. I preach and teach from the Bible at least once in 2 weeks I’ve tried a few times to go through the Bible chronologically but never brought myself to finish. Rather what I’ve been able to do is take a book at random.

    Just this past week I started I started a book on personal development and one of the exercises in the training is learning to stay focus by keeping still and silent for at least 30 minutes everyday and I was expected to do this for a week without fail. Guess what, I’ve not been able to do just that!

    I think your 30 day challenge is a lesson I truly need to take up.

  68. I been doing meditation ( shoonya) and hata yoga for quite some time now. When I went to India this summer I had a chance to visit this place called Isha yoga center , where I started first. I would firmly say after that my whole way of thinking and life has been changed ( “improved” rather to say) dramatically. Now I’m more calm, more aware and able to make self and others happy around me. It helped me to Respond to the situation Not Reacting to it.

    my 2 cents.

  69. Dan

    For me, I read the Bible from a completely different perspective. If God created the world (which I do believe), then why can’t God give us the Bible exactly the way he wanted us to have the Bible (which I also believe).

    The Bible is God’s word to mankind. Not just another ‘good’ book. This sure puts a whole new perspective to both the Old and New Testament.

    Love the perspective of “oh-so-open-minded California”. So very true.

    God Bless America!

    (unfortunately, God may have a lesson or two to teach America)

  70. Rim

    Good idea for the new challenge. Best of luck

  71. Matt,
    I am really impressed that you read through the NT in 30 days. I’ve read through the NT before, and I’d say I’ve read 70% of the OT, but I never considered cruising through the NT in 30 days – that is an excellent challenge. Maybe I’ll adopt a 40 day version, after all, 40 is a time of trial :)

    You’ve inspired me to read through the NT in 30 days. But I would like to know how many chapters you read a day, or how you structured your reading plan.

    I’d say the summary of the Gospels is “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”. The summary of the remaining books, in my opinion, is “Christians should act differently from the world. We’re no longer under the OT law in the same way we were. And the Lord is returning soon”.

    Really glad you posted the challenge.
    Dan
    @dancristo

  72. Steve

    You mention oh-so-open-minded CA. I grew up in San Jose in a household that attended a church that people would consider one of the “weird” religions. I had friends from church and from other “weird” religions. I don’t think we ever had any illusions about our religion getting any respect from people outside of our circle.

    And by the time I was 13 or so, I made sure nobody thought I had anything to do with that religions. (Self-destructive kids, what can ya do.) I got out of that that mindset eventually, though I’m not a church-goer nowadays. (I don’t live in CA any more either.) But I also don’t speak any ill of the religion, even though it’s an easy target and gets plenty of public ridicule. (Some might call it ‘balance’ or ‘not pushing your beliefs on others.’ I just call it withdrawing from any public aspect of that part of life, which really isn’t as positive a thing as the ‘open minded’ set might have us believe.)

    The open-mindedness you talk about has seemed to be a completely one-sided thing. (“I expect you to be open-minded to me, but I place no such expectations on myself about being open minded to others.”) It’s hard to respect that.

  73. This is not a bad idea at all. I’m 45 and don’t think I’ve ever meditated for any amount of time in those 45.

    Probably worth trying.

  74. One book that helped focus my mind in Mediation is called “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind” – read an interview several years ago from Richard Gere and he suggested it as a great book to read. Check it out think it will help you!

  75. Rik

    Matt,
    Good luck with the meditation! I would recommend anything by Jon Kabat-Zinn as being useful in getting into it. “Wherever You Go, There You are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life” might be of help (although I’ve not read this one specifically).

  76. Hey Matt, tell us about your progress… ;-)

  77. Michael Fokken

    Don’t apologize for talking about God. Christ didn’t. People that get offended about talking about God usually need to turn back to Him.

    The thirty day thing reminds me of this book, “The First Hour”. You can get a free copy at http://rizeup.us/. I did it (tried to), and it was really neat.

  78. I have never read the bible (New or Old Testament)… have read Richard Dawkins book the God Delusion which I thought was brilliant (and takes a good poke at the bible). Must read them some day to contextualise the information in Dawkins book.

  79. How sad that people objected to you talking about reading the bible. There is such intolerance in this world.

  80. I had a lady that told me at a very young age that if I didn’t not meditate I would go through life feeling beat up. Of course I had to learn the hard way. If you don’t take time to quiet your mind and just be still then there will be a time that you will be worse for not having spent the time on your body. Just like lack of exercise it will most likely catch up to you one day. I am all for meditation…and I wish people didn’t get wierd when religion is brought up! I am in on the 30 day challenge! I love to meditate in the a salt bath!

    I have to admit that minister and physics teacher is a wierd combination… Were those two different parents or one in the same! The science people aren’t real religious in my experience!

  81. Hi Matt, Meditation and the Bible is an interesting combination.

    But I am not sure, wheter they suit together. That means each religion has its own technique. Or what would you think, if someone tells you, he is interested in reading the koran and likes meditation.

    There was once a famous christian theologian, Meister Eckhart, using meditation techniques.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meister_Eckhart

    but, not all, good storys have a good ending.

    You will find more inspiring texts on meditation in other religions. Especially hinduism and buddhism.

    They are online. Need links?

  82. Dick

    Matt, a couple of days ago, I sent one of your videos as a link to my girl friend, (someone asking about being penalized by google because of same sandwhich content, a joke). Why did I send her that link? Because I wanted to show her an example of men, whom I respect and whos appearance I think is gentle and kind. Both me and my girl friend have some hard thoughts about men in general (and yes, I’m a man myself) and she likes me (:-) in a way she has never ever felt earlier, she has said, hm.. Anyway… now I read, you read the bible. Maybe there’s an explanation in it. I also did, first time when I was 17 and I felt to my surprise I already thought in me what I read. But being kind in this world doesn’t always pay off but I think you made it!

    Now lunch time!

  83. It’s nice to know about your spiritual-side. Too often people feels shy or afraid to thak about it. About Ubuntu, i think it is losing some points if compared to the new Fedora release. You should give it a chance too :)

  84. I run into the same problem anytime I try and meditate… I start out being really purposeful, but then my attention deficit head starts spinning (I actually usually have some GREAT ideas and love the notes I take) but I never feel like I can truly clear my head. I’ve found if I’m out in nature and sit still in a solitary space I can sometimes get there, but not in a 15 minute time span.

    Can’t wait to hear how things go for you with practicing doing it daily. I’ve always given up before going daily with it.

  85. I did this kind of meditation for more than 1 year – consistently – when I was practicing Taoism teachings back in 2005. I just stay somewhere windy, staring blankly while having a smoke for 20 minutes or so. I actually learned a lot from that experience, particularly with being a sage, partly, in which I evolved my mindset into thinking more positively with regards to nature and social interaction. Yeah, I wouldn’t even dare to think of bad things about other people I meet and interact daily.

    I miss that harmonious feeling. I guess I’ll be joining you with that 30 day challenge Matt :) I’ll post updates on my blog to track results and to see changes.

    Regards,
    Jason

  86. Thoughts are like clouds, if you let go of them, they drift away. Your mind, like the sky, is full of clouds, just let them drift by without trying to attach yourself to any of them.

    A few moments later another thought will arise, and as soon as you realize you’re following that thought, let it go.

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the book, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  87. Richard

    Matt,

    I enjoyed you sharing your thoughts on reading the Bible. Unfortunately you only got one-half of what the New Testament says:

    And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

    Jesus said and the New Testament says and the Old Testament says you have to both Love God AND Love People. It is not one or the other but both. 1 John 5:1-5 speaks clearly about this. It is common to only pay attention to the “Golden Rule” because then you don’t have to even believe in God. But Jesus did not give us that option.

    • Richard, excellent point. I was trying to analyze what was different between the New vs. Old Testament. It seems to be as though both the Old Testament and the New Testament require that you love God by putting his commandments first and foremost. What struck me as new was the idea of the “Golden Rule” embodied in the New Testament.

  88. Vyomesh P V

    I don’t know who is the right guy for thank you. I have received my emailid back after my last login on 19th Feb 2010. I have received it after it was disabled. And i got it today. Any way thank you very much. [Long back i have pasted here about my mail id been disabled.]

  89. Hi there all.
    Just to say about meditation….
    By chance I have started meditation in the last couple of weeks and found that a really good way of keeping your focus is to follow your breath all the way from your nostrils , to the back of your throat and then down to your lungs and then reverse the order. Breathe in and out like this nice and slow for the 15 minutes. If your mind wanders ( and it will) just let the thoughts pass with no attention and return your focus to your breathing.
    As I said, two weeks in and this is working like a charm for me. Give it a go.

  90. Well done Mats – Happy 12th Google Bday : yeah you are right , the older we get , the more we get attached to things we used to read or do in the past; (spiritual or sports).
    Not easy to go from 95 kilos to 80 @32 — How much did you gain or lose during your 30 days?

  91. I will start doing the 15 quiet meditation from October, see if it really can help to fresh my brain and recharge my energy level. Thank you for sharing these interesting experience.

  92. I sent you a tweet about this but since you have a kabillion followers I doubt you saw it

  93. You should try mixing some yoga with that meditation.

  94. Meditation is one of the five principles of yoga. It an important tool to achieve mental clarity and health. An overview of the different beginner and advanced meditation techniques will aid in choosing the right meditation exercise for you.

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