I started meditating on December 28, 2012 and decided that I would try to do it everyday through 2013.  I had spent some time meditating when I was in university in the early ‘90s; however, it had been a long time since I did it regularly.

In fact, I used to have a black meditation pillow, and when I decided to start again, I searched for it.  It was gone, so I’ve been sitting on throw pillows for the last eight months.

My wife meditates with me.  When we sit down to do it, I often think of the Christian adage, “The family that prays together, stays together.”  I’m not much for organized religion, however, I feel like the meditation binds us even tighter as a couple.  We do not talk about it a lot, and it feels strange to write about it, but I’m happy to report my method if it will help ease the suffering of even one sentient being.

The biggest thing I found that helped me get back on the spiritual side was deciding that I only had to do ten minutes per day.  That’s it, ten minutes.  It often seemed daunting because when I was younger I got up to thirty minutes per day, but would often not do it some days because that commitment was so overwhelming.  Ten minutes made it doable, even if I waited until midnight and exhaustion hung on my shoulders like a wet towel.  I often do more than ten minutes, but sometimes, I do exactly ten minutes.  I have achieved my goal everyday for eight months and I feel good.  I compare it to watering a plant.  Is it better to douse the plant once a month with a bucket of water or to give it eight ounces per day?  Consistency in practice makes you better…at anything.

I find that I am generally calmer, especially with my kids and when I’m driving.  I’m a tennis pro, and although I am always very patient with my clients, I’m not always patient with my own tennis.  Since meditating, my outbursts when I’m playing a competitive match have dwindled and that calm has come more easily with each match.  I still have the drive to win, but I take losing in stride.  I see the bigger picture and find that I often learn in a more analytical way from my defeats.  I still have days when I get upset with myself, the perfectionist climbing out of the darkness to raise his fist in resentful anger, but those days are rarer than ever before.

Another way I have found to calm the beast within is with a technology called neurofeedback.  This is a computer program that exercises your mind.  It helps treat anxiety, depression, PTSD, and many other disorders.  It does this by taking your brain and putting it back in a stable state.  It is a holistic approach and if performed by a knowledgeable practioner, it can be a powerful tool in making you a more focused and relaxed person.  It looks like a videogame that you play with your brain.  When your brain is moving in the right direction, then you are rewarded by being able to see a spaceship move through space or watch a movie.  If done regularly, neurofeedback can do wonders.

Both mediation and neurofeedback seek to calm the mind and bring you into a state of contentment.  They helped me, but alas the work is never done.


Gene is the tennis director at the Marina City Club in Marina del Rey, California. He loves the sport of tennis and has worked for years to bring his emotional turmoil under control when competing. Meditation and Allen Fox’s writings on the nature of the mind when faced with a competitive model that replicates the feelings of being in a fight have been the biggest help in dealing with the emotional stresses of tennis and life in general. The person who has taught him the most about psychological is his wife, the caring and brilliant marriage and family therapist, Mindy Fox.


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