Today, mindfulness expert Julianna Raye and I dive deep into how I got into the practice of meditation, its initial and long-term benefits in my personal and professional life, and how it can enable all of us to both improve our individual lives and be of greater service in the world.
When the US economy crashed in 2007, I crashed with it. I lost half of my clients, couldn’t pay my mortgage, and didn’t know how to turn things around. It was at that point in my life that I started exploring the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.
As I began a daily practice, it gave me the power to be present, think more clearly, and optimize my cognitive abilities. The effects were so profound and so transformative that “Silence” became an integral part of my Miracle Morning.
- Why I felt like I “failed” the first time I tried to meditate – and the easy solution to this problem.
- Why meditation isn’t just the passive activity of quieting the mind.
- How I use meditation as a fluid process to capture great ideas, set intentions, and make the most of my day.
- My 30-day challenge to help you get started with meditation – and what you can expect as you prepare to see miracles in your own life.
- And much more…
JULIANNA RAYE SAID IT… CLICK TO TWEET
People don’t often understand what you’re really doing when you’re practicing meditation. You’re enhancing your attention so that it can bring greater intention to whatever it is you’re choosing to focus on.” – Julianna Raye
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Julianna: Hey, everyone. I am so thrilled and honored to be speaking with Hal Elrod today. Hal is on a mission to elevate the consciousness of humanity, one person at a time. As the author of one of the highest-rated and bestselling books in the world, The Miracle Morning, with 3,000 plus five-star reviews and over a million copies sold and creator of one of the fastest-growing and most engaged online communities in existence, The Miracle Morning Community is doing exactly that. Hal is a hall of fame business achiever, ultra-marathon runner, multiple-time number one best-selling author, grateful husband, father, and international keynote motivational speaker. He has dedicated his life to showing others how to overcome their adversity and fulfill the unlimited potential that is within each of us.
Julianna: Welcome, Hal. It’s so great to be connecting with you in this way. So, we actually – our connection started years ago around meditation and the fact that one of the key ingredients that you suggest for people to have a successful morning routine is this silence, this practice of meditation. So, it’s wired into what you offer people and I’d love to hear, love to start by hearing your personal journey with it, and then how you ended up doing that. So, let’s start with just how did you get interested in meditation, what were your early attempts to do it, what were those experiences like.
Hal: Yeah. Well, thank you for having me first of all, Julianna. You’re one of the people that I just love being around so I’m already enjoying our time together. I just like seeing your smiling face. What was the question? How did I get started? So, it was 2007 and the US economy just crashed and I kind of crashed with it. I lost over half of my clients, which meant over half of my income. I could not pay my mortgage. I had to stop paying it and the bank took my house back and it was really the lowest point in my life mentally and emotionally. And our good friend, Jon Berghoff, I called Jon and kind of he was the first person that I told what had been going on for about it was kind of a six-month downward spiral. I was depressed. I was at a loss. I didn’t know how to turn things around. And Jon said, “Go for a run and on that run listen to some sort of personal development audio while you’re in a peak physical state because you’re also going to be in a peak mental and emotional state.”
So, long story short, on that run, I heard Jim Rohn say, “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development,” and a light bulb went off and I thought for all of us on a scale of 1 to 10 if we’re measuring our level of success and fulfillment in any area of life, happiness, health, relationships, money, you name it, we all want level 10, right? But what I realize is that our level of personal development is what’s going to determine our level of success, and for most people, personal development is not a priority. It’s way down here. It’s like their level of personal development is in a two – mine was in a two or three on a good day and that was the disconnect is this is what I wanted in my life but this is the effort I was putting into developing myself. And so, I ran home and I googled a bunch of phrases around personal development, best personal development practices, personal development practices for millionaires, on and on, CEOs. What are the world’s most successful fulfilled people do for their personal development? And I came across six practices and one of those practices was meditation.
Now, I always thought meditation was kind of woo-woo and just a spiritual practice which that’s great, nothing wrong with that, but the article that caught my attention was it was something along the lines of Fortune 500 CEOs who swear by meditation. And I went, “Fortune 500? Interesting,” and I clicked on it and what I found is it wasn’t just about their spiritual connection. It was actually the article showed all kind of science around how meditation had and there I think were over 1,400 scientific studies published and now I’m sure it’s a lot more on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of meditating. And so, that’s and I was sold. I was like, “Wow. And the idea is that it optimizes your – it lowers your cortisol levels, it lowers your stress which allows you to think clearly of better ideas, you have insights, on and on and on. It was really a cognitive optimization strategy and I was all for that. And so, that’s when I started and because I didn’t know my first day of meditating, sitting in silence, I thought I was failing at it right and we’ve since talked about it but my mind was racing and I’m like, “You’re supposed to clear your mind,” and my mind it’s crazy.
And so, then what I did is I quickly switched to a guided meditation and I just went to YouTube and I typed in guided meditation and there was a gazillion of them. And that’s how I recommend people start is do a guided meditation because you don’t then have that inner chatter where you’re like, “Am I doing is wrong? Am I failing? What am I doing? Am I thinking too much? Am I not thinking enough?” With the guided meditation, you have someone like yourself and you do guided meditation where you’re leading us. You’re the expert, you’re the professional, you’ve done this, and you’re leading us through a process to go deeper into meditation and experience benefits and then once we’ve done that enough times, we go, “Oh wow. Actually, I get this. I get what it feels like. I get the whole process and then we can try on our own.” So, that was how I started out with meditation and started with guided and then after a few weeks of that, decided to go on my own and now I go back and forth depending on the day.
Julianna: I love it. So, what got you in was this motivation, this desire to achieve certain things for yourself which at UM we’re big proponents of that. We want to be motivating and inspiring for people. So, you were drawn in by these personal objectives in your life, the kind of lifestyle you wanted to lead, and also it sounds like the kind of person you wanted to show up in the world as. And you saw this example of how meditation can help you achieve that in ways that were not intuitive initially when you thought about it and so that got you into it, caught your attention, made it surprising in a sense. Oh, wait a minute. This isn’t what I thought it was. And then you did a really wise thing which is you found the support you needed to make it a habit because those early days are so challenging. Like you said, it’s confusing, you’re not sure if you’re doing it right. In fact, that you’re doing it wrong and the proof is that your mind’s all over the place. So, great, so you found the support you needed through those guided practices until you develop some momentum with it and you felt like, “Okay. Now, the ship can sail on its own. I’m going to do this,” and then you go back and forth whenever you need the support which is again wisdom, right? You got to get the support you need when you need it. And initially, what did you notice about it? Did you notice that it was having any effect at all?
Hal: Yeah. I mean, they were calming my mind was probably the biggest thing and then the guided meditations that it was not just calming my mind but I had someone influencing my mind. My thoughts, they were being influenced in a positive way. So, for example, one of my favorite guided meditations was this a woman who you probably met at our Best Year Event was Patricia Moreno. In fact, I just did her guided meditations like two days ago and then yesterday I did a different. I did Joe Dispenza’s guided meditations. So, I’m still doing it but the idea is that you go to YouTube and if you have a specific thing that you’re struggling with, mentally, emotionally or even logistically just like in the physical world like money, for example. You can go type in guided meditations on money and then you can have someone and it’s experimenting obviously. Some of them you listen and you’re like, “This person is not very good.” It’s not that they’re not good but it doesn’t resonate with me. And so, you play around, you find the right ones, but if I’m struggling with confidence in my life, I will type in and look for guided meditations on confidence. If I’m struggling with any area of my life, self-love, I’ll find guided meditations on those topics.
So, yes, so doing it on my own kind of calm my mind and that takes practice. Your mind’s not calm and it’s repetition over and over and over before it gets calm many days in a row and then you start getting these peak flow states which are so powerful, and then beyond that, yeah, the guided meditation is almost like having a coach but when you’re in an alpha state, you’re in that meditative state and so the coaching is really you’re calm and it’s really impacting you more so than if you are having a conversation with somebody potentially. Because you’re not a meditative state, your brain is waiting to respond to what the person is saying or you have your own chatter going on. Anyway, so those are some of the benefits.
Julianna: Yeah. I want to highlight for you what you described just there about how much more impactful it is when you’re in a deeper state when someone is guiding and supporting you. At UM, we would all that heightened skill so your concentration, your sensory, clarity, your equanimity get heightened as a result, as you pointed out of this repetitive process. It’s a practice. It’s a muscle that you’re building. And when your attention is heightened and, yes, you’re much more receptive because your attention has been improved through the practice and now you can get more out of the guidance you’re getting and I think that’s sort of a key feature is that you’re making the most of the support that you’re getting and you do that as a result of refining this skillfulness. So, at the beginning then it sounds like your initial sense that it was working was, “Oh, I’m entering into these flow states.” Could you describe? Do you remember those early flow states and what you noticed the contrast may be that you noticed between those flow states and your ordinary way of walking around in the world?
Hal: Yeah. Well, so I had read and you probably read this book but the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I read that in my early to mid-20s, early 20s I think and so when I started meditating, I was reminded, “Oh yeah, I haven’t been accessing the now for a long time.” When I read that book, it was a game changer for me and I would drive my car and just get totally present to the now, right, those flow states and then time went by and I forgot about it. I forgot to do it. I lost it as a habit. So, when I started meditating again, I instantly referenced that book and in the power of now which is what mindfulness is all about, being completely present in the moment. And so, that’s what I was able to access and the beauty of that to me is it’s the essence of life. We’re very often, in fact, not just very often like all the time, almost all the time, we’re in our head and we’re living in the past or we’re living in the future. We’re usually thinking over something that already happened and maybe creating emotional pain over it. Maybe we’re upset that something happened or we’re disappointed it didn’t go the way that we wanted or we’re annoyed or aggravated or whatever.
Or we’re thinking we’re in the future. Our mind is the future going, “Oh my gosh, what if this goes wrong? What if this doesn’t happen? I have so many things I have to do to,” so on and so forth. But I love what Jason Mraz has a great line in one of his songs. He says life is for living, and that to me is what meditation gives you is it gives you access to living. The essence of life is to be in the moment and even if there’s problems in your bank account and at work and with this which we all got stuff, the quality of our lives has very little to do with what’s going on around us and almost everything what to do with what’s going on inside of us. And so, meditation allows you to optimize what’s going on inside of you and that is what I found for me is I was able to access the power of now, I was able to access the present moment, and I was able to really like meditation became my favorite time of day especially when I started it. Remember, economy crashed. I was in debt. I was losing my house. So, if I thought about all that stuff, I could get real stressed which is what led to this depression.
When I meditated, I acknowledged all that stuff is still there but stressing about it all day doesn’t fix it but putting myself in a peak state puts me in a position to fix it. So, meditation was almost a vacation from my problems, but not just that because if it was just a vacation then I had to go back and they were there and there was no benefit then I don’t know that I would say it was really beneficial. But the beauty of it is it was like it was a win-win, two sides of the same coin where it was a vacation from my problems. I was fully in the moment and in the moment, nothing was wrong. Nothing was happening to me. Nobody was hurting me. No one was taking my money. I was just getting to be and it’s the essence of being that I think allows us to find whether you can it a flow state or just the essence of life. And then in doing that, I lowered my stress. I got perspective and then I felt better and when I got out of the meditative state, I would go into my office with a renewed sense of like calm and clarity and equanimity and as you talk about. And so, yes, so it helped me like the actual practice was a vacation for my problems. It was my favorite part of the day because I was able to just access the essence of life and then it optimized my mindset so I was more effective at solving my problems when I went back out into the real world, so to speak.
Julianna: I love it. You brought up so many themes I want to highlight there. One is the complementary, the way a book like The Power of Now can move you and then there’s the how to of it which you found other resources to do. So, when we think about practice, there’s this inclusivity kind of what works for you, and you might be exposed to it in this way or in that way, and rather than looking at it as, “Well, should I do this path? If I do that path, then I shouldn’t do that path,” rather than looking at it as kind of an exclusive, look at it as an inclusive. Great. The Power of Now, it got you into these flow states and then you found a way to systemically develop that for yourself so it was transferable into more and more of your life. So, there’s a fact that you found this approach, this the Power of Now book and then you found a methodology that was going to get you more into the moment. And then as you got more into the moment, you discovered that it could be not only, yes, this is really important. Not only is it a place that you can go to as a kind of a reprieve from the noise and activity and chaos of the world, but more importantly, it’s a place from which you can then improve your life.
And it’s those two going together I think a lot of people don’t recognize this relationship between going deep in your practice and experiencing these deeper states and then have that then enables you to be of greater service in the world, to be able to show up more fully.
Hal: Yeah. Thank you.
Julianna: Yeah. Those are the two key sides that it works together and you can really see that and I think that actually when I think about your life and where you’ve taken things, your journey is such a perfect reflection of that so the fact that you have dedicated yourself to this inner process so that you can be of greater service in the world. So, let’s talk a little bit about how that started to show up for you, how it is that you then got some momentum with practice. What changes did you start to notice in your life, both in terms of maybe being able to accomplish some of your personal objectives and also maybe how you ended up showing up in your relationships, and just how you end up showing up in the world?
Hal: Yeah. My depression went away very quickly, which was amazing. I’ve been depressed for six months and I say depressed, you know, with very carefully I know that there are different levels of depression and I hadn’t been diagnosed clinical depression, but I just basically every day all day just was surviving until I could go to bed. That was every day like I was stressed and anxiety and then my only safe haven was like crawling into my covers and every day I’m like, “I just got to get through another day and then I get to go to bed,” which is no way to live. That I’m living to sleep like I’m living for bedtime. Not ideal. And so, my depression went away and I would say meditation was a part of it. The other practices of The Miracle Morning to be fair also contributed to that, but within a matter of days and I think that the reason was I had perspective and I had hope. Perspective, being that wow if I start every day with this meditation and these other affirmations and the other practices that I combine with them, I feel so much better versus just waking up, hitting the snooze button three times, and then heading to the office anxious and stressed and in a state of fear of losing all of my money and all of the stuff. That’s how I’ve been just every day, just wake up, work out of a place of scarcity until I could go to bed. That was it. That was day after day after day after day.
And having the space to meditate in the morning, it’s like every time I went to bed, I didn’t wake up to my problems. I woke up to my Miracle Morning. I woke up to my meditation. I woke up to this practice that felt really good and so it was the space where it wasn’t just one day running into another, running into another, running into another. When I went to bed, it wasn’t dreading waking up to face the problems. It was excited to wake up to my new practice, my meditation practice. And so, my depression went away within a matter of days because I thought if I start every day like this, it’s only a matter of time before I’m back to the old me, so to speak, and I’m able to turn my life around. And it happened faster than I ever thought possible. In two months, I doubled my income. It was this radical turnaround and it was that morning practice and that morning meditation that gave me not only calm my nervous system and lowered my cortisol levels but it gave me clarity. That’s the biggest thing I was getting was probably we get our best ideas in those moments of silence. It’s often in the shower or falling asleep before bed, the beauty of meditation is you don’t leave those aha moments, those breakthroughs up to chance anymore. You engineer them. You’re creating them by intentionally practicing silence and meditation in the morning or you do whatever you want. You do it anytime you want, but in doing so.
And so, what I do now is I always have my notebook or if I’m traveling, I’ll have my phone, my note app, whatever. And when I’m meditating and some might people might say this is a no, no. I don’t know but I get great ideas and my memory is not always the best so I don’t count them. If I remember, I just pull out my journal and I write a little note to remind me of what that idea is and I go back to my practice. And that’s how my meditation has evolved over the years. So, I know you didn’t ask me this but kind of fast forwarding to now, that’s one of my favorite parts of meditation is it’s not this just passive sitting there like just quieting the mind. Yes, I do that but I will usually set an intention before I meditate now. So, this is kind of an addition to my practice where I’ll set intention and it’s just based on whatever is going on in my life at that time. So, it could be a very short-term like I’m giving a speech today and I want to put myself in a – I want to meditate in a way where I’m in the state that I need to be in when I speak. So, I actually imagine what is that state.
I need to be confident or I need to be this or that, and then I’ll try to create that emotional experience while I meditate and then because I’ve already created that emotional experience in my body and I’ll visualize walking onto the stage and then when I walk on to the stage, it’s like it’s instantly there because I created it in the morning. Sometimes if it’s with my wife, I’ll create intention during the meditation of feeling love or compassion like whatever I feel like she needs from me in our life on that day or at that time. And then when I see her, I’ve already been there in my morning meditation and so I just like those feelings just come on, I’m like, “Hey, sweetheart,” and I’m that person. So, that to me is kind of an evolution of my meditation is I created this where it’s extremely intention and not always. Sometimes I still just sit there in silence and just quiet my mind. Sometimes I do a guided meditation. So, it’s based on kind of what’s the need? What do I want to get out of this meditation today? Do I want just quiet my mind and just relax and just enjoy 10 minutes of silence and just be like blissed out? Because I always say you can be stressed out or you can be blissed out.
Meditation helps you be blissed out and you condition yourself to be that way so it can be your regular way of being when you meditate every day. So, yes, that’s been a big part of it and how meditation changed for me and changed me is it became, it gave me much more clarity every day and created these optimal emotional states in the morning so that they were able to show up when I needed to show up throughout the day.
Julianna: I love it. Yeah. One thing you’re highlighting is how you can tailor make a practice when you have a sense of openness and creativity in the process then, yes, when you need to just do a practice where you’re sitting and doing absolutely nothing, great. Do that as your practice. When you need to carry it into in unified mindfulness, what you described would be called nurture positive so you’re intentionally nurturing positive emotions that you can carry into your relationships. I love that description of how you’re then able to show up better for your wife and the impact that can have. And, yes, I think people don’t understand that you can use insight to be of greater service in the world and then, in fact, that is the objective of it ultimately. And sometimes you need to go deeper in the insight experience. Sometimes you need to dwell in that more deeply, more richly so you give yourself permission to do that and sometimes you carry the momentum of the insight into creating greater love and connection in the world, however, that manifests for the individuals. So, love that example of your wife and I’m sure also that it’s shown up tremendously then in your professional life and in other ways as well.
Hal: Yeah. Absolutely. Most recently I wrote my newest book. It’s called The Miracle Equation and I just wrote that like most of my meditation during the six months that I wrote that was I’m like, okay, writer’s block is what you don’t want as a writer and so most days I would just invite like today I’m working on Chapter 3. It’s on this topic. You know, universe, God, fill me with like the wisdom that the reader needs today. What does the reader need for me today? Right? And I would just sit there in silence for 10 minutes and I would usually have two or three ideas come up, and I would, I’m like, “Ooh, genius. That’s right.” And I would write them down. And here’s the thing, when I’m staring at the computer screen at a Word document, writing the book, trying to force it like I need the idea right here right now. Why isn’t it coming to me? It doesn’t come because it’s in those moments of silence that we tap into your inner wisdom or the wisdom of the universe or God. And so, that for me was big. Professionally, over the last six months that was a big one and I don’t know what the book would’ve turned out if I didn’t have the meditation practice to gain those insights throughout that process.
Julianna: Yeah. Actually, I wonder, can you imagine what your life would’ve been like without meditation practice. Have you ever stopped to think about what it would’ve been like if you didn’t have that?
Hal: I mean probably a lot more stressful and a lot of the great ideas that I’ve come up with that like you said it allowed me to impact more people, those ideas would’ve been dormant somewhere in the universe, but not in real time. And also, just the daily like I said, looking forward to it. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s kind of someone that’s used to working out and they love going to gym because it’s like, oh, that’s their time to just be free and in the moment and just feel good and get their heart rate up. Meditation is kind of like that where you’re like they imagine something in your life that it’s a crucial part of your life and if you missed out on it, you would be missing out on all of the value that’s brought to you and so that’s what meditation is.
Julianna: Beautiful. And so much of what you do is in service of other people. So, to be able to have a way to access those deep resources to be of service. I do think there is that deep complementarity around that. What you do for yourself really to get out of our own way. I mean, what you’re describing is you drop all of the preoccupation that interferes with the brilliant idea.
Hal: Yeah. Absolutely. 100%.
Julianna: So, tell me, I know you’ve been through quite a challenging couple of years. If you’re up for it, I’d love to hear about that journey and how your meditation practice informed that experience.
Hal: Yeah. So, what you’re referring to I believe about just over two years ago I woke in the middle of the night unable to breathe or very difficult breathing and I went in and my lung it was collapsed and it kept collapsing. They had to drain. They drained 2 liters of fluid from my lung and then like two days later it was collapsed again. I couldn’t breathe and I had to go back again. Long story short, I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL for short. I was given a 20% to 30% chance of surviving. And I always say if you’re a glass is half empty kind of person, that’s a 70% to 80% chance that you’re going to die in the next few weeks or months and I have two small children and a wife who are my world and so that was by far the most difficult experience I’ve ever endured. And meditation was part of my Miracle Morning and part of my practice and during meditation and a lot of times, I’ll combine meditation with prayer. To me, it’s kind of one and the same and I think the important lesson for people is that meditation and you probably gotten this from our conversation so far but it’s this fluid. There is no right or wrong way to do it necessarily.
I always say the only wrong way is to judge yourself for doing it wrong. That’s the wrong way is to tell yourself, “I’m doing this wrong.” If you’re thinking a bunch, great. You’re like, “Yeah. Okay. Today is a thanking meditation. Interesting. That’s cool.” But for me, the meditation every day was where I would also pray, and I would often start with a prayer and in the prayer, would kind of I would set my intention with the prayer and then I would just close my eyes and feel that intention and just go deep. For me, I had affirmations that around I’m committed to living to be 100 years old, no matter what. There is no other option. I would imagine my body in perfect health. Actually, one thing I did is I would combine meditation with sun gazing. I don’t know if you’ve ever done sun gazing. So, sun gazing and you can google it. And I’m not going to be the best explaining the benefits of it, but I’ll just tell you my benefits of it, but sun gazing is where in the first, you know I think it’s like the first 30 to 60 minutes of the sun rising, you can stare at it and it doesn’t hurt your eyes. And what it was for me is if you look so I wouldn’t look at my cells under a microscope and you saw where the cancer was attacking the cells and they were like some of them were black or they were like deformed and all this.
And when you look at the sun, it’s a perfect circle. At least it appears to our vision to be a perfect circle and I had learned about sun gazing right after I looked at my cells under a microscope and I went, “Whoa, that is a perfect circle. That’s a perfect looking cell.” And so, I would use the sun as a visual representation of what every cell in my body should and what I wanted it to look like. And so, I would sun gaze first and then I would go back to the house and I would close my eyes and I would imagine that every cell in my body and I would talk to myself that there’s some meditation. I’ll use mantras, I’ll talk to myself, all right, but I would just reinforce the feel like that every cell in my body is healthy and I am such a believer in the mind-body connection.
As you know, when I was 20, I was hit head-on by a drunk driver in a car accident at 70 miles an hour. I died for six minutes. I broke 11 bones. I was told I would never walk again. And back then I chose to visualize. I didn’t meditate. I don’t think I meditated back then. I didn’t know about it, but I chose to visualize that I was going to walk again and I prayed about it and I imagined it. I put my intention toward walking again and after three weeks after the crash, the doctors came in with routine x-rays and they said, “We don’t how to explain this, Hal, but your body is healing so quickly, we’re actually going to let you take your first step tomorrow.” A week before they said, “You may never walk again,” and now they’re like, “You’re going to walk tomorrow.” And so, I believe so much in the fact that my mind and also the miracle that it was but that we have the ability of our mind to heal ourselves and lower like anxiety, whatever we’re dealing with. The mind can heal the body and so both with my car accident from being told I never walk again to taking my first step in three weeks and then having this cancer and being told that I had a 20% to 30% chance of surviving and then I survived. It just keeps reinforcing that our mind and our spirit has so much power.
We have so much power over our lives and meditation for me when I had cancer was the way to reinforce that what it was that I wanted and create that intention and feel the truth of what I was affirming and what I was visualizing and what I was imagining. And one thing to consider here’s a little kind of a bonus tip if you will, is that I like to use meditation. One other way that I use it is I use it to enhance my other practices during my Miracle Morning. So, it’s like I use it to turbocharge them or it’s not a good analogy, but it’s like steroids to like really be, making me even more powerful. And so, I’ll read an affirmation and then I’ll go sit and I’ll have my little meditation pillow in my Miracle Morning room and I’ll meditate on that affirmation and I’ll feel the truth of that affirmation and I’ll visualize something and then I’ll go on meditation pillow, and I’ll sit and I’ll meditate on what I visualize and it extends the feelings, it extends the intention, and it enhances all of it. So, there are some ways that I use meditation.
Julianna: Yeah. You’re bringing up a couple of really essential points and one is this optimize or function of practice that I think people don’t consider. And the other is the creative ways you can use practice. So, the optimizer feature is something we kind of touched on earlier, which is people understand that you can go through the motions of something or you can give your full intention, you can give your whole mind-body self to whatever that thing is and what you’re describing is I think probably, Hal, you have an innate capacity for that already but what I’m hearing too is that you’re able to optimize that so you bring even that much more intention compared to what you have in the past and that’s the thing that makes the difference. It’s one thing to send a phrase, a word or a phrase to yourself as an affirmation but it’s another thing to really be able to sink into the meaning of the word or phrase to really hear it, to be clear about it, to get absorbed in it. And that’s what…
Hal: Sorry. One thing that I realized a while back, I went through a phase where I was meditating for, like, really short periods of time each day like one to five minutes and just kind of getting it in there, getting it done, and then one day I meditated for I did 20-minute meditation and I got, you know, it’s like around a minute 15 is when I really I got present and silent and clear and I had the realization that the amount of time that you invest in something there’s definitely a correlation. There’s a relationship. The more time you invest, the deeper that you go. And so, to your point, if you read an affirmation it’s only to the degree that you feel the emotion attached to that affirmation that you’re benefiting yourself to me when you go out there back into the real world to actually put these affirmations and the things into practice. If you only touch on it for two seconds, it doesn’t impact you emotionally at a deep level. It doesn’t resonate. It doesn’t stick with you. It’s when you meditate on it and the longer you meditate, the deeper you go and the more you’re creating new pathways in your brain that become through repetition, permanent fixtures that change who you are at a fundamental level and your capabilities in the world.
Julianna: I love it. Yeah. That speaks to this meditation as being an attention optimizer and then intention optimizer because your intention relies on your attention, your ability to pay attention. And so, people don’t often understand that that’s really what you’re doing when you’re practicing meditation. You’re enhancing your attention so that it can bring greater intention to whatever it is you’re choosing to focus on. I love it.
Hal: Yes, that’s a powerful distinction, yes.
Julianna: Yeah. And you’re also bringing up this theme of immersion, which is kind of a big focus of unified mindfulness is exactly what you’re speaking to you, which is, yes, when you go deep with practice, when you get more absorbed, do practice for longer then you do get to see the rewards of that. You get to see just how powerful your ability is to bring intention into your experience and also what it looks like when that attention gets elevated that your experience changes. As you mentioned, these flow states discovering that life is just so much richer than you thought it was and it has to do with your ability to improve your attention in most ways. So, I also just want to touch briefly on your creativity around your practice because I think that’s something really important for people to be inspired by, something that you’ve done really good, really beautifully is to bring creativity into your process, to find what works for you. I love your description of the sun and being inspired by watching the sunrise and how that could help you heal your body.
And I think it’s really important for people to understand that when you recognize that meditation is about attentional skill development, you’re developing a certain attention skills, then you can apply that in all sorts of creative ways and that’s something that I hear you doing, again and again, as we’ve shared what your process has been whether it is greeting your wife with a greater sense of love and connection, or whether it is using the opportunity of the sunset to internally heal. And so, I just wanted to point that out because I think people can be inspired by that.
Hal: Awesome. Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
Julianna: Yeah. So, what would you like to share with everybody about what’s going on for you these days? What would you like people to know about? It sounds like you’re working on a new book.
Hal: Yeah. So, The Miracle Morning which is my, I guess flagship book would be the word, we just surpassed a million copies sold. I think you actually mentioned that which is unbelievable. When you write a book, you’re like, “Is anyone going to read this? Is this any good?” Well, if it changes one life, it was worth it. I mean, that’s how I published it. It wasn’t this big a deal. So, the thing is, The Miracle Morning, nothing has ever impacted someone. Nothing I’ve ever created has made a bigger impact both in terms of quantity like, yes, lots of people, but to me that’s it’s not important. It’s the profound changes it makes in people’s lives from it saved my marriage to it cured my depression to, I mean, I doubled my income these like results. So, that’s my life’s work, and until further notice, all of my energy, everything I do, revolves around sharing that message, sharing that book, getting that book in the hands of as many people as I possibly can.
We have a new book coming out on Valentine’s Day 2019, February 14, 2019 called The Miracle Morning for Couples: Create Legendary Connections One Morning at a Time which I co-authored with Brandy and Lance Salazar and with Honoree Corder and so that’s exciting. That’s one that’s been asked for forever like, “We want one for couples. How do I get my husband to do this or my wife to do this?” So, that’s exciting. And then The Miracle Equation comes – so I have a book coming on in February and I have one coming out in April. I’m a little overwhelmed with how I’m going to promote all this stuff but anyway, The Miracle Equation subtitle is The Two Decisions That Moved Your Biggest Goals From Possible To Probable To Inevitable. That comes up April 19, 2019. So, two books coming out and then The Miracle Morning documentary which you are in will I think that it’s done. The film’s done, but I don’t think I can take on promoting that at the same time with all these books, so I think that’s going to come out after the book in April so I’ll figure that out.
Julianna: So much good stuff going on.
Hal: Yeah. Thank you.
Julianna: Yeah. Very exciting. So, what would you like to say as we kind of transitioned, what would you like to share with people to inspire them around this idea of a meditation practice and exploring it?
Hal: Yeah. I would say commit to a 30-day challenge, commit to do it for 30 days and choose a specific time. It could be anytime. You could do it at your lunch break. Personally, I like the morning because you set that intention for the entire, right, you optimize your mind for the entire day, which is the power of doing it in the morning. You do it before bed as well and that’s something that you can set your intention and have your subconscious mind work on it while you’re sleeping. So, you can pick whatever time you want but pick a time of day and do a 30-day challenge and just realize that I would say that when you do a 30-day challenge there’s kind of three ten-day phases. The first 10 days is what I call the unbearable phase and sometimes that’s accurate. Sometimes it’s like, “Well, no, I’m excited. It’s not unbearable. I’m excited. But typically, when you start something new, it’s uncomfortable, it’s unbearable if there’s some sort of fear around it, there are some. I don’t know if I’m doing it right. But here’s what I say is that you can do anything for 10 days.
So, that unbearable phase lasts about 10 days, give or take, and then you go into the second phase, which is uncomfortable which doesn’t sound exciting, but you’re kind of like, “Okay. Well, it’s unbearable anymore. I’m kind of getting acclimated to this new practice. I’ve had a few good days. I’ve had some ahas. Maybe this it’s still easier not to do it, you know, like anything new, and then the final ten-day phase is what I call the unstoppable phase. So, that’s where you hit your stride. You have a few flow states you. You start to feel like this is part of me. I’ve been benefiting from this. I don’t want to go back and not do this anymore. So, I encourage you to find a partner. There’s another tip, have someone that you’re checking in with that’s holding you accountable, yes, you’re texting in the morning. You can come into the Miracle Morning Community on Facebook, the Facebook group that’s you can get an accountability partner in there. There’s thousands of people meditating every day as well but, yeah, so commit to a 30-day challenge, do it at the same time every day. Don’t judge yourself, just let it be. If you started guided meditation, you can. There’s a lot of apps in the app store. There’s YouTube videos that are free. Julianna, I don’t know if you have any resources on the guided meditation?
Julianna: We do. We have Brightmind and you can hear my voice on the Brightmind app.
Hal: And I love you. You’ve guided me through many meditations at our live events so, yeah, but that’s it. And then after 30 days, if you do it every day, you can’t not experience the benefits of meditation in 30 days and then set your next 30-day challenge after that and live your life in 30-day challenges where you go, “Okay. I’m going to recommit.” This time maybe you’re going to go from 10 minutes to 20 minutes or maybe you’re going to just keep it at 10. Maybe you found your groove but that’s it. I would say for everybody, don’t wait, put it your schedule right now, do it every day, and watch the miracles that happen in your life.
Julianna: I love it. Hal, any final words?
Hal: I love you, Julianna. Thanks for having me on today. I really appreciate it.
Julianna: I love you, Hal. It’s just been a total treat and really wonderful.
Hal: Awesome. Well, thank you for having me.
Julianna: Yeah. More to come.
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