30NOW Podcast

Welcome to the podcast, in which we discuss mindfulness, meditation and Buddhism. 

Are you engaged in mindfulness or another form of meditation and do you want to be further inspired in this? Or maybe you want to know more about the source of mindfulness and Buddhism? Then move on! Modern mindfulness training uses ancient techniques and insights from Buddhism. They still prove to be relevant and supportive to our modern lives. Like the Buddhist teachings, you are not asked to believe anything. But let yourself be included in the conversations and pick out what you can use.

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Acceptance in meditation does not mean that you let yourself be walked all over and go for nothing.

Acceptance is the attitude in which you accept what presents itself in the moment. In that moment you allow it and you look at it without judgment, with mild attention. That way you can see things as they really are. Of course you can then decide whether you want to change something about a situation or whether it is better to accept the situation.

With the disappearance of judgment, there is only room for acceptance (“go with the flow”). Being with what is.

Acceptance does not make you passive or indecisive. But do you start acting from a deeper layer within yourself in which, funnily enough, you automatically know what to do, in any situation.

You may be inclined to do everything with a lot of effort, perfection or accuracy. Then it may be that instead of less stress, you experience much more stress during meditation. “How do I do it? Am I doing it right? Can I do this?”

You can't go wrong with meditation. If your attention wanders to other things, just kindly bring it back. That's all. With meditation you will experience the powers when you are only present without worrying about how you are doing it and whether you are doing it right. Trust in the process, the rest will come naturally.

Contrary to popular belief, in meditation there is no striving to stop thinking. This is an impossible task. But because you see through the thoughts and internal storylines in your head and go less with them, you automatically experience a clearer and freer mind.

Features to strive

Fear is one of the most common human emotions, often caused by beliefs (stories) that you have linked to certain people or situations in the past. It is therefore quite normal for fear to arise during meditation.

Sometimes you start meditating and find your mind overflowing with anxious thoughts and feelings that you haven't noticed before. Or maybe you experience fear of the meditation itself. For example, because of the idea that you are not doing well or because of the idea that you cannot handle stress.

Not many people dare to admit that they are afraid, even to themselves. Often there is the belief that if you really see the fear, the fear will start to rule your life. So you are afraid of your own fear. This is often followed by the reaction to mask fear with positive thoughts of trust, or conversely, anger or rationality.

In meditation, the art is to give space to fearful emotions and feelings and only to observe them. Where and how do you experience fear in your body? In which parts of your body do you feel the fear? What happens to your breathing? And what thoughts and images come together with this fear?
This may sound simple. But sometimes it takes a lot of courage to look your fear directly in the eye without trying to escape it. You will see that you will see through the fear better. In addition, the fear will naturally subside and come back less violently. If the fear becomes really overwhelming, you can also open your eyes and make contact with the room where you are sitting.

Features anxiety, bang, tension

Funnily enough, meditation is actually less effective when you approach it as an expedient. Meditating to find "rest" usually does not work. Therefore, let go of all expectations and goals. Let go of even the idea that you are meditating. In every meditation, be genuinely curious and kind to yourself.

Features to strive

Several studies show that meditation helps to relieve pain.
Pain remains particularly strong when a lot of attention is given to it and a story (thoughts/judgments) is linked to the pain.

In the case of physical pain during meditation, we make a distinction between sudden onset stabbing pain and slowly emerging nagging pain:

> Once you have settled down and experience nagging pain, itching or other mild discomfort, you can observe them calmly without judgment. With this you will see that the discomfort will diminish or even disappear on its own.

> In case of sudden onset of severe, stabbing pain, we recommend that you contact your doctor. If you experience a pain that persists after you get up again, we recommend that you change your meditation position.

With attachment you keep clinging to something or someone. True desire creates the constant pursuit of something better.
Clinging and striving are the result of a belief that something or someone is good for you. Familiar situations of attachment and desire occur in relationships, careers, material possessions, or happy moments in your life.
At its core, attachment and desire are a response to a thought that has been labeled positive. Herein lies the belief that with attachment, or clinging, the feeling of happiness will remain and that desire will bring you more happiness. Logical, because who wouldn't want to be and stay happy?
But attachments and desires can quickly cause pain because simply everything in life is subject to change. Everything comes and goes, also great experiences. You have no control over that. In addition, you will find that clinging, even to happy feelings, can get in the way of the feeling of freedom and happiness.
In meditation you observe attachments and desires and you teach your mind to accept the continuous change that is present.

Features restlessness

Anyone who meditates knows what it is like to experience emotions and thoughts that overwhelm you. The challenge of meditation is to give space to all forms of emotions just by noticing them (without judgment).
Above all, give yourself time and space. It's also okay if you don't manage to stay with it with mild attention. Be patient with yourself. The insights and the peace really come naturally.

Judgments work like stamps that you put on events, elements in yourself or your environment: Situations from the past, contacts with friends, relatives, events at work or feelings in yourself.
With judgments you lose connection with the bigger picture because you place yourself and your environment in frames.
But be gentle, because judgments keep popping up. Even if you have been meditating for years, you will still have to deal with emerging judgments. You will notice the difference in the way you deal with these judgments: Do you see the judgments arising in yourself, do you go along with them and do they determine the way you look at the world? Or do you recognize the judgment (the train of thought) at a distance that gives the mind space and the judgment fades or disappears?

Everyone sometimes experiences restlessness or stress when meditating. When you struggle to keep your focus on meditation, it often has to do with being a little nervous, worried, or simply wanting to get on with other things.
The great thing about meditation is that it is a mirror of yourself. When you stop your busy life for a few minutes by sitting quietly for a few minutes, you may suddenly become aware of all the nervous energy and the thoughts that cause stress all the time. You may find that you are sitting in a kind of standby mode on the chair, ready to leave, have something to eat, send an app or check your email.
This is a valuable experience in meditation, because you can recognize this now without doing anything with it right away.

The trick is just to perceive the restlessness. So without going along with it and without judging it in right or wrong.

Pride is a well-known scenario. You follow the meditation daily and you clearly experience the positive effects. You feel like you've really got the hang of it and expect to be enlightened soon. Not only do you experience a sense of pride, with which you polish your self-image, but you have also become sidetracked. You feel special and maybe even slightly superior to others. It is enlightening when you begin to examine these feelings of pride to see what this feeling is based on. Perhaps there is a fear, an insecurity, or a desire beneath that pride? Meditation has nothing to do with achievement and everything to do with being present with what is happening. As soon as you experience feelings of pride during meditation, you can notice that and bring your attention back, for example to your breathing.

Doubt can be especially troublesome because it can create skepticism and mistrust about meditating. “Is meditation right for me? Can I meditate at all? My mind will never really settle down. Following the breath seems pretty pointless to me. When will I really notice something?“

Asking questions is good if it helps you move forward in your process. But when you meditate, you put your expectations aside and only trust that you will experience the benefits on your own. Doubts are thoughts. And if you take your thoughts of doubt seriously, your mind becomes restless and concentration becomes more difficult.

The trick is to just notice these thoughts without judging them. Doubts will disappear by themselves. During meditation you will automatically find and experience very concrete answers. But funnily enough, you only find it when you can let go of thoughts, including doubt.

Procrastination can quickly bring your meditation to a halt.
You may feel fear, laziness, boredom or doubt about the value of meditation. Maybe there is an element in yourself that doesn't really want to experience the power of meditation? Or do you find yourself too restless or confused to take time for yourself?
Know that these are all elements that meditation will help you with.

Boredom almost always stems from a belief that what you're paying attention to isn't valuable, useful, or interesting enough. The funny thing is that boredom comes from paying too little attention to something or looking at the environment with a judgmental mindset. At that moment you are not fully living in the moment.

We are used to constantly responding to distractions that make it difficult for us to sit still and focus on something simple, such as breathing.
Meditation allows you to explore boredom. How do you experience the boredom in your body? What stories play out in your mind?
By just observing, without judgment, the boredom will disappear by itself.

You may be blaming yourself for the meditation in the sense of “I'm not doing it right” or “I don't know how to stay focused”. You may be blaming yourself as a person: “I never get it right” or “Nobody loves me”.

Your mind can create very convincing stories and give you the idea that it is an objective observer or coach. But in the end it is only a comparison with a created ideal image that is stored within yourself. Comparisons are very restrictive, because they are judgments.

The starting point in meditation is to rest in the situation as it is. That is something different from "finding peace", because with this you turn it into something effective. Above all, have faith in the process, then you will automatically experience the effects.

The process of meditating is similar to building your fitness through sport, or learning to play an instrument. Only if you practice and keep doing this for a long time, you will experience the effects.

The degree and time in which you experience the effect differs per person. There are people who notice strong effects after the first use, while others notice mild effects after two weeks or only two months. Give yourself the space and time to investigate this yourself. You will almost certainly have positive effects in the long run  experienced. Also view the tips routine with meditation

The basic principle of meditation is to let the breathing be completely natural. So you don't try to breathe in a special way. It's very tempting to think there's something more to do than that, but really, this is it. With meditation we let everything flow naturally, so it is about observing the natural rhythm of the inhalation and exhalation.

Some days you may feel completely reborn, full of energy, with a clear mind and able to simply follow your breath. But the next day you may be overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions and you feel like you can't sustain the concentration on the breath for even a second. In addition, you may experience that more unrest arises because of the meditation.
These (both) experiences are extremely important. Emotions and feelings become more visible through meditation. The idea is to simply experience them all. Without judging with right or wrong, negative or positive.

Features restlessness

Time is often the biggest hurdle. When it comes to the 30 day series: Each session takes 15-18 minutes of your time daily. After week 2 you will often experience the benefits of meditation. Although fifteen minutes out of 24 hours can be scheduled for everyone, it requires determination, just like brushing your teeth. Therefore, reserve 15 minutes per day in your agenda. Choose a permanent place where you can sit quietly and let your roommates / family members know that you do not want to be disturbed for a while.

Also view the tips routine with meditation.

This question is very typical of the goal-oriented perfectionist that is in all of us. There is always that critical voice that asks if we are “doing it right”. That perfectionist is also the one who causes stress. The funny thing is that you can't do anything wrong in meditation. Experiences during meditation such as wandering thoughts, physical discomfort, restlessness or heavy emotions do not mean that you are not doing it right. Rather the opposite! These experiences are essential because they give you insight into your thinking patterns and beliefs.
So don't aim for results, just trust the process and the changes will happen on their own.

Features restlessness

In principle, any posture that you can maintain with ease is suitable for meditation. But lying down has a disadvantage: there is a great risk that you will fall asleep. It therefore takes more effort to stay alert and focused.
That is why sitting is generally the most pleasant. It stimulates a relaxed and at the same time alert attitude.

No. Thoughts keep coming and going. But with meditation you learn to notice the storylines around the thoughts faster, to give them space and thus to let go more easily.

Thoughts are not the problem. It's the way we (are used to) dealing with it that often makes it uncomfortable. For example, we are often used to taking emerging thoughts too seriously, analyzing them, identifying with them, and taking them for truth.
Meditation teaches you to observe thoughts and see them for what they really are.

When you continuously respond to thoughts and stimuli from the environment, it is more difficult to maintain your concentration. Sitting still gives you easier access to a sharpness of your mind. A mirror that shows how busy, jumpy and elusive your mind can be. You will also notice that sitting still becomes easier and easier. But if you want to sit up straight or just move your hands, that's no problem. Do it with attention, so you stay in the meditation.

Features restlessness

As with sports and playing an instrument, practice is needed to learn the skill. With meditation you train the mind to stay mentally fit; this requires structural repetition. Especially in the first four weeks, daily training is important to build a routine and experience concrete change. also watch routine with meditation.

No, you don't have to believe in anything! 30NOW uses effective meditation techniques that have been scientifically researched. These are separate from religion, gurus and beliefs. The point is that you yourself will investigate how meditation can work for you. For that you need some patience, trust and perseverance but no faith. 

Mornings are generally most pleasant when you start with 30NOW. But do follow the sessions at the time of the day that suits you best, so that you don't have to do any violence to yourself. Meditating is also fine  when you get home from work or before going to sleep. Also view the tips for routine with meditation.

Find a reasonably quiet, comfortable place where you will not be easily disturbed. It helps if you associate this place with tranquility; so not behind a full desk or next to a full laundry basket. But important is that  that you 30NOW can listen anywhere, so you can also just close your eyes.

We have learned that control is important because it allows us to control things in and around us. This is the funny thing about emotions and thoughts. They actually become more intense when you try to control them, which can make you feel even more like you're losing control.

With meditation you train your mind to let go, which creates space and freedom by itself.

Most people are constantly struggling to get what they think they need to be happy. This while you can only improve your life if you first accept things as they are.

Like change, pain is inevitable. But when you condemn it and create resistance to it, the pain is amplified instead of alleviated. From this comes suffering.
Through meditation you learn to see through and let go of your stories (thoughts). In doing so, you shift your focus with which the pain will go away on its own or at least become more bearable.

Everything is constantly changing. If you resist change by holding on to an ideal image, you will continue to struggle. With meditation you can discover how to go with the flow by developing an open and flexible mind that accepts things easily.

It may seem like a boring way to spend your time. But the breath is something you always have with you and that goes on continuously. You don't have to do anything for that. The relatively calm repetitive elements make the breath very suitable as a focal point. By following your breathing, you give your mind fewer opportunities to wander, so that you automatically experience more space for new insights.

The beginner's mind is an attitude that forms the basis for any meditation. It stands for the sincere opening to what arises. Free from prejudice, free from expectations, but genuinely curious. From this open attitude you will notice that you experience the power of meditation most strongly.

First, it helps to explore drowsiness. Is it a mental drowsiness or do you feel physically fatigued?
A few tips:
> Before you start with the day session, you can do some gentle stretching exercises and shake your body loose.
> It helps to sit upright as much as possible.
> Drowsiness often manifests itself in wandering thoughts. The practice of concentration (for example on breathing) is often very effective. You can also open your eyes during the meditation to become more alert again.

We recommend sitting upright while meditating. Use a chair with a firm but comfortable surface. For example, a kitchen chair is very suitable
Use a pillow if you like
Body posture:

> Feet flat on the ground

> Hands resting on your thighs or in your lap

> Back straight

> Shoulders relaxed

> Mouth relaxed closed

> Chin slightly retracted

> Resting your tongue gently against your palate
>(an attentive yet relaxed attitude)

This is what it looks like

Although mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism, you don't have to be a Buddhist at all to practice mindfulness. The well-known American professor Jon Kabat-Zinn developed mindfulness training forty years ago by detaching the technique of meditation from the Buddhist context and making it accessible to Westerners. Religion is not involved in the training, but accessible meditation exercises, yoga and other ways to learn to live more consciously. Meanwhile, the MBSR (English: mindfulness-based stress reduction) and MBCT (English: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) are very popular and fully accepted in the West.

Mindfulness refers to:

  • The mindfulness training, developed to teach people to live more consciously and to deal with stress, thoughts and emotions differently.
  • A form of meditation in which you become aware in a non-reactive way  of the sensations and situations of the moment: conscious, gentle attention.


In the beginning you always wonder if you are doing it right. The most common pitfall is probably judging your own meditation. This is at odds with the basic principle of meditation, in which you allow space, acceptance and peace to arise.
It is one of the great contradictions of meditation that you can only reap the benefits if you let go of all expectations and accept things as they are.

In the west we often practice self-denial and self-love is seen as selfish. Funnily enough, the opposite is often the case. People who love themselves are more likely to love others than people who don't love themselves. In addition, with egoism, someone places themselves above the other, whereby in the case of self-love a feeling of unity is often experienced. In meditation you go back to a source where feelings of love never run out and which is present in everyone. As soon as you find your own source and fully experience it, you can transfer love to others.

What you may find as a disadvantage is that you have to routinely invest time and sincerely want to open up to the possible insights that meditation can bring. Meditation is not always suitable for  people with psychiatric complaints, such as untreated trauma or depression that is not yet in the recovery phase. Also view the tips routine with meditation.

Meditation teaches you to calm your mind, develop concentration and increase your awareness. with more  awareness of your thought patterns and emotional habits, you learn to look at yourself and your environment in a more objective and competent way. This will help you a little easier  to deal with life, and to go with it. You will understand emotions better and you can recognize your impulsivity and reactivity sooner and sometimes go  breaking through.

Another result is a sharper focus. Meditation can increase your ability to focus and concentrate. 

It can also help relieve sleep problems and insomnia by teaching you to stop worrying. Further frequently mentioned  benefits can be:

  • Feeling of happiness/peace of mind
  • Less emotional reactivity; less intense negative emotions and mood swings
  • More empathy
  • More creativity and self-development
  • Decrease in anxiety symptoms
  • Examples of physical benefits:
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Faster recovery from stress
  • Deeper and slower breathing
  • Muscle relaxation
    Able to deal with (chronic)  pain

If you meditate regularly, you can have spiritual experiences. Through concentration exercises you let go of your usual thoughts and patterns and focus on the present moment. In this moment you can experience a glimpse or strong power of spiritual dimensions. Ultimately, being consciously present with body and mind is already a spiritual activity in itself. Other spiritual experiences you could have:

  • Feeling of ultimate connection
  • Energy flow that makes you feel wider and more in touch.
  • Experience of inner sounds, colors or shapes.
  • Experience of boundless, unconditional love.
  • Flow of goodness and acceptance.
  • Pleasant experience of the empty or ephemeral nature of everything.
  • Dissolving your body in light or confluence with the environment.
  • Experiencing a continuous presence of an all-encompassing tranquility.

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