How Meditation Works: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace

lotus flower above water

The answer to every question we could ever ask ourselves rests inside. We simply need to give ourselves permission to hear the answer. – davidji, secrets of meditation

If you’re like me, you probably have two reasons for picking up this book. The first one is obvious. You wanted to learn the secrets of meditation. Second, you also wonder why the name davidji and what’s the story behind it.

…Seriously! 😀

And that’s exactly what you can expect here. Plus more!

I thought if I am to recommend a book that covers the basics, Spirituality 101, and its most important practice — meditation — this would be it.

Plus I’ve learned a whole lot of others too. For instance, I’ve found out that the body postures (asanas) are only 1 of the 8 “limbs” of yoga. Turns out that if you’ve been meditating, then you’re already doing yoga. How’s that for a primer?

Do you also love watching documentaries? You’d get a similar experience from reading davidji’s own version of Eat, Pray, Love journey — his spiritual journey and the lessons he learned along that path.

He becomes our spiritual tour guide as he takes us through the history, art, science, and the secrets of meditation.

Let’s take a peek!

The Guru is Inside

Yes, the guru is inside… inside each one of us! Deep… deep… deep inside, housed by this flesh casing we call a body and trapped for the span of a lifetime within the constrictions of our five senses and our mind that interprets each moment. Peel away those layers, go deep inside, and deeper still… and at our very core, our essence is pure, vast, unbounded consciousness.

In Sanskrit (ancient Hindu language), guru means “remover of darkness.” In common language, we know guru as someone who teaches enlightenment.

But a more appropriate description would be “one who points toward the light.” It’s the light that is already within each one of us. A guru is someone who can help ignite the spark, help us awaken, and see that light.

Do you know who that someone is?

Let’s try peeling away the letters that comprise the word guru:

Geee… You… Are… You!

People, books, and other things in this world can only serve as “pointers,” but ultimately we become our own guru. We are “the one” we are seeking.

Don’t wait for a guru to appear in your life. Be one.

secrets of meditation

The Stillness Zone

But, when we experience that same present-moment awareness while not doing anything, we reach a state of restful alertness, and this is the stillness zone we experience during deep meditation – the realm of no thought, no sound, and no sensation. When you are in that space, you have essentially disconnected from all the things in your world that are in the realm of activity, and you have connected to your soul.

You remember the feeling when you first laid eyes on your crush? When you felt that time stood still? That’s an example of present-moment awareness, when as if that moment were all that existed. No past. No future.

During that moment, we enter the stillness zone. It’s also the same space we enter into during meditation.

That space is not empty. It is filled with pure potential and infinite possibilities.


Life may be full of letters, but without the space, we can hardly understand its meaning.

Meditation helps us become aware of that space, so we can begin to view life in new and expanded ways.

That space is full of answers… answers that give meaning to life.

how meditation works

Mind Expansion

The purpose of a spiritual journey isn’t to change your mind, it’s to expand your mind to understand the true potential in each moment in your life. To discover a Self who has the ability to see more possibilities and expanded points of view – even the ones opposing yours – and then to choose creatively… intuitively… sacredly.

The spiritual journey is all about expansion. What is it exactly that’s expanding? Our awareness.

As our awareness expands, we ascend to the higher consciousness of a Self who has a higher perspective. With a higher perspective, we have the ability to see more possibilities. We are able to transcend the limited perspective of our ego.

Do you remember a time when you feel really inspired about something, you “just know”?

Over time, with practice, as we move to stillness or non-activity (being) from activity (doing), we become more conscious of our thoughts and our behaviors. Our interactions with the world shift from reactivity to responding, from reflexiveness to reflectiveness, from defensiveness to openness, from drama to calm, from perspective to knowing.

secrets of meditation

Brain Evolution

Over the last several years, thousands of compelling scientific studies have found evidence that a regular, consistent meditation practice can offer a wide range of healing benefits. There is now compelling evidence that meditation is a powerful tool in managing anxiety and stress, pain relief, restful sleep, cognitive function, and physical and emotional well-being.

There are already numerous studies that show the beneficial effects of meditation. davidji cites several of them, including the latest ones, in the book.

Among them was a brain wave study by Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin done on meditators and non-meditators for comparison on their responses to the threat of pain and to actual pain.

Dr. Davidson monitors their brain’s pain centers as heat was directly applied to their skin. He gave instructions saying “In ten seconds I will apply the heated applicator.”

The non-meditators’ pain centers reacted instantly upon hearing the instruction. They already reacted to the threat! The meditators, meanwhile, did not respond until the heat was actually applied to their skin.

In life, pain is real. But our brain cannot know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. We can avoid unnecessary suffering if we stay present in the moment.

Here is davidji’s 16-second meditation technique to help us with that:

Focusing on your breath, inhale for 4 seconds… hold it in for 4 seconds… exhale for 4 seconds… hold it out for 4 seconds.

That’s 16 seconds of awesomeness!

secrets of meditation


For new meditators, this is where you experience your soul for the very first time. Where we sense something deeper and more profound. And for those with an established practice, this is the doorway to our deepening connection to Source, to the Divine, to Spirit.

The proven benefits of meditation are in fact only the “side-effects.” Beyond them is a far more significant reason for practicing meditation: it is the doorway to our deepening connection to Source (God).

davidji discusses the seven states of consciousness, whereby through regular practice of meditation, we can transcend the first three ego-consciousness: (1) Waking (2) Deep Sleep (3) Dreaming states, and enter the 4th state called Turiya (aka Transcendent Consciousness), where we experience our soul.

Truth is we are never separate from Source. We aren’t just aware of it. Meditation helps expand our awareness so we can access (4) Turiya and recognize that Truth, which our soul already knows.

The more we meditate, the more our awareness expands, the higher consciousness we can ascend to: (5) Cosmic Consciousness (6) God or Love Consciousness (7) Unity or Oneness Consciousness.

secrets of meditation

The Five Secrets of the SweetSpot

Asking these questions – even if there are no answers – plants very powerful seeds that ripple deep inside at the cellular level. Remember, where attention goes, energy flows, and simply placing your attention on the Five Secrets (or any five qualities you choose to evolve in your life) will have a transformational effect on your day when you come out of meditation. Your thoughts will be sprinkled with aspects of the Five Secrets, your words will begin to change, and your behaviors will see a subtle shift – simply by asking the questions and then letting them go.

What are the five qualities you choose to evolve in your life? Or put another way, what potential do you want to actualize so you can become the best version of yourself?

For me, they would be Patience, Compassion, Love, Abundance and Awesomeness.

You got yours?… Great!

Let’s spend about five minutes on this pre-meditation process. We start by saying the word, for example, “Patience,” out loud, then whispered, then silently. Then we ask “Where could I use more patience?” and other questions you’d like to reflect on.

We close our eyes, wait in silence, take a deep breath in, release attachment to answers that come up, and then move to the next word. Same process. Ask. Listen. Let go.

Then, we meditate. We silently repeat the mantra I AM over and over. When you find yourself drifting away, just gently drift back to I AM. You can do this for as little as 5 minutes or for as long as you like.

When you go back to your waking state (activity), don’t force anything to happen. Just allow. Simply BE and these qualities will naturally unfold in your experience.

how meditation works

The Hymn of the Universe

By repeating a vibration or sound over and over, it will become part of your physiology; it will become your mind; it will become you. There will be no separation between you and the vibration that is resonating right now.


Did you know the essence behind this mantra?

OM is “The Hymn of the Universe.” It’s considered the ultimate vibration because it contains every vibration that has ever existed and will ever exist.

Just as white contains all the colors of the spectrum, OM contains all sound in the vibrational spectrum.

OM derives from its original spelling AUM, where A represents the waking state, U for the dream state, and M for the deep sleep. In Sanskrit, when A and U are combined, they are translated as letter O, hence, OM.

secrets of meditation

The Wrong Question

Will you become enlightened? That is the wrong question. You already are. You simply may not be awake to it. But each time you meditate, you get an opportunity to peel away more layers of that conditioning. Will you awaken yourself to your wholeness? Yes. Meditation by meditation, moment by moment, you will wake up to more of your already enlightened Self.

We are already enlightened. We’ve just forgotten this due to the conditioning of the world. Thanks to meditation, we now have a tool for remembering Who We Really Are.

Remembrance? AHA! But we shouldn’t expect that there’s supposed to be an AHA moment during meditation.

There are no #meditationgoals. Having a goal means there’s a DOing. What we have during meditation is undoing. We undo and unlearn every-thing, so what remains is no-thing, just BEing.

Is there a right way to meditate? Eeeengggk! Wrong question.

The right question is, are you practicing it? If you are, then you’re doing it right!

how meditation works

Exception to the Rule

We were also taught that if we increase the effort, the level of success will expand as well. The lesson we absorbed was work hard enough, and we can have everything we want.

In meditation, it’s exception to the rule that brings us success. The best results occur when we let go of all effort. We let go of focus, replacing it with innocence.

The formula for effective meditation? surrender + innocence = success

In a world of DOing, successful people would say that’s a recipe for failure. We measure success by what we do and how much we have. Success is based on doing.

Meditation is an exception to the rule. We surrender all effort. We let go of focus and embrace innocence. Innocence means seeing without judgment. We see the familiar world with fresh, innocent eyes, increasing the possibilities for expansion, growth, and even worldly success.

secrets of meditation

The 9.5 Keys to Success

The next time you have five free minutes, see what it feels like to use those precious minutes tapping into the stillness and silence that rests within. It doesn’t matter what direction you face: God is everywhere.

There are no rules in meditation. If in the middle of your practice, something got itchy, scratch it. Feel sleepy, yawn. Do what you need to do. Afterward, gently return to your meditation.

davidji leaves us with these 9.5 keys to a successful meditation practice:

  1. Comfort is queen. Always move toward comfort. Release tension. Relax.
  2. Create a ritual. davidji suggests RPM (Rise. Pee. Meditate) or RAW (Right After Work), or whatever works best for you.
  3. Remember to let go. Ask questions. Set intention. Then let go. Don’t bring anything to meditation. No agenda. No goals.
  4. Stay innocent. Always have a beginner’s mind, as if every meditation session was your first.
  5. Witness. Nothing is supposed to happen. Just observe what happens.secrets of meditation
  6. Keep drifting. Treat any interruption, sound, idea, mood, feeling as you would any other thought. When you drift away, gently drift back to your breath or your mantra.
  7. There is no meaning. Never mind the meaning of the mantras or affirmations. They are vibration. Meaning is understood by the Higher Intelligence in you.
  8. Surrender. Don’t try anything. Just let it be.
  9. You are perfect. Don’t judge the experience. As long as you’re meditating, you’re doing it right.

and 9.5 Enjoy! Don’t get too serious. Even the monks take meditation lightheartedly.

Here’s to your wholehearted success,


Secrets of Meditation Revised Edition: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace and Personal Transformation


DAVIDJI is an internationally recognized stress-management expert, corporate trainer, meditation, yoga and Ayurveda teacher. He is credited with creating and guiding the very first 21-day meditation challenges, leading him to be referred to as the Father of Guided Meditation and the Velvet Voice of Stillness. He can be heard leading more than 500 guided meditations on outlets such as iTunes and Pandora. He has trained more than 200,000 people to meditate and certified more than 1,000 meditation teachers.

Visit him at


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