Planet Soul

How to Meditate When You Can’t Shut Your Mind Off

Easy steps to keep at it when the world gets in the way

Don Johnson
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readJun 9, 2020
An oil painting with bold colors.
Illustration: Marilyn Edith Whyland

I’ve been practicing techniques of raja yoga (royal union) meditation for a long time—48.5 years, to be exact. It’s an essential part of my life, and it’s helped me become more patient, kind, curious, happy, and fulfilled.

And every day, I realize I have more to learn. I often feel like I’m merrily stumbling my way along, tripping over what I thought I had already learned yesterday. I’ve come to accept this is the way the journey is—I’ll always be evolving, learning, and growing.

I practice meditation because I know there is inner fulfillment within me—the place described in every scripture throughout the existence of humankind. And I also know that it’s one of the most practical things anybody can do.

We are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beings. We need to be in balance in all areas to have overall well-being. Hectic, drama-filled lives can debilitate us and create imbalance. Meditation helps brings us into equilibrium so that all parts of us work together harmoniously.

Here’s what has helped me:

1. Be thirsty

My journey into meditation started as a thought that there must be a life force in the universe. Something must be sustaining all this, something that can be experienced. I learned in high school chemistry that all matter is energy, some moving quickly, some moving very slowly—protons, neutrons, subatomic particles, quarks, always invisibly vibrating. I thought: Energy has to be within me, doesn’t it?

When I learned there was a way to go within and experience that energy, I wanted to know more. I was thirsty to know what was within me, sustaining me. That thirst was my motivation to learn to meditate, and it has been the main reason I have stuck with it.

It’s easy to forget that real, lasting…



Don Johnson
Human Parts

Author | Meditation Teacher | Advocate for Kindness, Respect & Freedom | Human Potential Coach | Connect with me here: