5 Unconventional Ways to Stop Dozing Off During Meditation

Are you the type of person who sits down to meditate and wakes up wondering why you’re drooling on your meditation cushion? Let’s face it, meditation is meant to relax you, but perhaps you’re getting a little too relaxed. Too Zen to stay conscious, as it were. So, how do you find that delicate balance between achieving inner tranquillity and not nodding off?

1. The Zen Art of Washing Dishes

Wait, what? You thought I’d kick off with a classical meditation posture or breath work, didn’t you? Nah. Let’s get real. Sometimes the path to heightened awareness involves scrubbing off last night’s lasagna from your oven dish. As Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh advises, when you wash the dishes, wash the dishes. It’s not just about the dishes—it’s about being utterly present in the act. The warm water, the foam, the squeaky clean end result—let it all bring you back to here and now.

2. Body Scans—Airport Security Style

You know the drill at airports: Remove your shoes, empty your pockets, arms up, and prepare to be scrutinised. Now, apply this level of rigour to your body scan meditation. Visualise an X-ray machine scanning you from head to toe, revealing tension, aches, or—God forbid—a forgotten pocket of stress hidden somewhere. Make it vivid. Make it count. There’s no room for snoozing when you’re mentally in an airport security line, trust me.

3. Meditate on the Edge of a Cliff

You think I’m joking? Alright, I am—sort of. But imagine the adrenaline pumping through your veins as you sit on the literal edge, where one wrong move would mean… well, let’s not go there. While I don’t actually recommend cliff-edge meditation for obvious safety reasons, placing yourself mentally in such a precarious position can jolt you into an unparalleled state of awareness. A word to the wise: if you’re actually going to do this, maybe stick to visualisation.

4. The Jack Kornfield No-Nonsense Breath Work

Good old breath work, but with a spin influenced by the wisdom of Jack Kornfield. Inhale as if you’re drawing in the wisdom of the universe and exhale like you’re releasing all the nonsense that you—and everyone else—have been holding onto. Inhale wisdom, exhale nonsense. Keep it as simple and as profound as that.

5. Hum a Richard Rohr-inspired Mantra

Sometimes you need to borrow wisdom to synthesise your own. Richard Rohr often talks about how the present moment is the only moment where you can encounter the divine. So, create a mantra that brings you back to your centre. It can be something as simple as, “Now, here, this.” Let that be your anchor, pulling you back every time your mind—or your eyelids—start to wander.

Meditation is a deeply personal journey and even the most adept of us find ourselves dozing off at times. Let’s cut the crap—no one is judging. But hey, don’t you want to be awake for your own life’s journey?

So, what’s stopping you from applying these quirky yet impactful tips during your next meditation session? And remember, if you find yourself teetering on the edge—hopefully just metaphorically—it might just be the wake-up call you’ve been waiting for.

If this helped you, it will help somebody else!

You've just read an article by Steven Webb —  Guiding you through the most difficult times. Here is a link to my podcast Stillness in the Storms and Inner Peace Meditations.

I write to arm you with resilience and inner wisdom, helping you find calm in life’s chaos. Follow me Medium or on substack.

Steven Webb host of Stillness in the Storms portrait picture

Steven Webb

Steven Webb is a renowned meditation teacher with over a decade of experience. Known for his unique approach to quieting the busy mind, Steven navigated through a life of adversity to find his own inner peace. Now, he shares his wisdom to help others build resilience and find tranquility even in life's most turbulent times. Through his writing, courses, and podcast "Stillness in the Storms," Steven empowers people to discover their own sanctuary of inner peace when they need it the most.
© 2023 Steven Webb - stevenwebb.com
Finally Stillness in the Storms

Get my 5 Simple Practices for Inner Peace