You definitely don’t have to meditate to benefit from the service. It has served me very well and I am passionate about it and want to share it with others who are interested.
When I first heard the word “meditation”, I thought it was something spiritual. For me, it’s not spiritual at all. It’s simply practicing focus and awareness. In other words, it’s mindfulness practice.
What does meditation have to do with trading? Answer: my automated trading systems offer big rewards, but most of them also have large drawdowns (meaning the money in your account goes down periodically). Meditating can help you get through those drawdowns with more resilience. It offers a way to practice watching your emotions instead of being your emotions. With practice you start to be able to separate yourself from the emotions, and you become more of a "watcher". Like when you are in the middle of a drawdown, if you feel anger or fear, you just watch how your mind reacts and notice how it feels in your body as you watch. You take the stance of, “I wonder how my mind is going to react to this drawdown, let’s find out.” And any time thinking starts to happen again, you take notice, you drop the mental storyline, and you go back to watching. When it feels natural, then you choose what you really want to be focusing on with your time and you do that instead of letting your mind take you down the rabbit hole of anger and fear about the drawdown. It’s almost like there is a fearful or angry “character” in your mind who comes out during drawdowns, and you take the posture of being the wisdom behind the thinking so that this character doesn’t take you over.
This watching aspect can have a tremendous impact on your ability to live through the drawdown periods. Ultimately, that might be the hardest part of making a million bucks with this service: just finding the intestinal fortitude to let the automated system keep running. That's where the meditation helps immensely. PS: If you practice enough, then you might find something much more valuable than a million dollars, like maybe a smattering of inner peace…
As far as a formal meditation practice, all I do is find a comfortable place to sit, set a timer, sit up straight, close my eyes, and pick something to focus on. I like to focus on “feeling” my whole body, which is basically just holding awareness of my entire body, but you can pick anything you want (maybe sounds, your breathing, etc). So I just focus exclusively on that, and as I’m doing that I am alert for any thoughts that might come up. I take the stance of an impartial “witness” as thoughts come up. I’ll have a period of stillness and no-thought during the meditation, where I’m very focused on whole body awareness as intended, and then many times before I even realize it, a stream of thought has paraded through my mind. My job is to let that thought stream go, no matter what it’s about, and go back to focusing on whole body awareness. If I notice judging happening, then that is just more thought, so I let it go and resume watching.
The meditation helps you get better at focusing, since your goal is to maintain focus as long as possible. It also develops the “watcher” perspective.
What I’ve learned through meditating is that my mind has its own agenda! It thinks about all sorts of stuff without me “telling it to”. It hops around from thinking about what I’m going to eat for dinner to thinking about some random scene from an episode of “Lost” I watched on tv to thinking about panic, etc. I will be sitting there still in meditation, with no intention of thinking (just silently watching), but my mind just keeps firing up new streams of thought. It truly is like “thinking happens to me”. For me, it was a profound realization, and one that helps me not only when it comes to the market but also in every-day life when it comes to relating to other people, knowing that they too, like me, are being inundated with thoughts that they may not really want to be thinking.
The other thing I’ve learned through meditation is that we can choose what we focus on in any given moment. It’s true that an anger thought may come up in life for example, but we get a choice how we respond to that thought. Do we want to spend our time letting angry thoughts parade through our minds? Or do we want to notice the thought, acknowledge it, and then decide to do something else with our time rather than fizzling in anger? Ultimately you can ask yourself what you really want, and with meditation practice you get better and better at honoring that intention since meditation gives you practice with focusing your awareness.
I meditate 5-6 days a week, normally for 45 minutes a day. Some people say they greatly benefit from just doing 5 minutes a day of meditation, so don’t be alarmed if my routine doesn’t sound fitting for you! You can do whatever you want and whatever feels right to you, even if that’s none at all.
Beyond the formal sitting meditation, I try to practice mindfulness all the time in life. My goal with meditation is for those meditative qualities to translate into my every-day life, and for that to happen I have to make a conscientious effort to be mindful all the time.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is someone who teaches mindfulness and meditation, and I love his work. This is a link to a page that has some CDs I bought when I got started with meditating: