Mindfulness "Metroid" Meditation

Hindering Thoughts

The mind constantly generates thought, some of which is intentional and useful, other that is wasteful, distracting and possibly disruptive.

Problems arise when we fall at the mercy of the latter category. We find ourselves dwelling on past memories which cannot be changed or worrying about a hypothetical future which may or may not happen at all.

If we allow wasteful thoughts to constantly capture our attention then we would keep experiencing the same negative feelings that we would otherwise only experience when they actually happen in the real world: stress, anxiety, anger, embarrassment, grief, etc...

Pay Attention

"We only live in the present moment"

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of paying attention to the present moment. By forming this habit, thoughts lose their power to distract. The result: an overall happier and calmer state of mind.


Two common mindfulness meditation exercises are breathing and body scan. Briefly, the breathing exercise involves paying attention to the breath (the inhale and exhale) and actively noticing how the mind, despite your best intentions of staying focused, casually wanders in disobedience –and does so again and again!

The body scan exercise involves focusing on the sensations of each body part starting from the head and moving down towards the toes. Whenever the mind wanders, simply return your attention back to the body and resume the scan.

Meditation is Not That Difficult

I've come across many online articles and comments about the difficulties of meditation. Common complaints are things like: the inability to focus, feeling sleepy/drowsy, boredom, no time to practice, and so on...

I believe the reason people struggle with meditation is because they have a perception that it must to be done in a specific formal way (ie. sitting on the floor, cross-legged, eyes closed, in a silent room, with an "empty mind" and such). The truth of the matter is that none of that is necessary.

Cool, But What Does This Have To Do With Metroid?

Well, I have come up with my own meditation practice that might resonate with others and perhaps make it easier to recall. It's based off of the concept of the Head-up display (HUD) found in many first-person games. In particular, the HUD designed in the Metroid Prime game is the one I'm most familiar with and best illustrates my point:

[JPG] Metroid Prime HUD (33 KB)

In the game, the main action happens at the center of the screen while the HUD is positioned around the sides to display stats (such as character's health, armor, weapon inventory, etc..). The HUD is translucent, yet visible at all times. Nevertheless, during intense sequences, it's easy to see past it and forget that it's there. It is effectively in the player's attention blindspot.

Now to relate this back to meditation: we experience life in first-person, but unlike video games, the real world doesn't have a "pause" button. But, arguably, the next best thing would be having your very own HUD!

So, remember this: wherever you are, whatever position you are in, and whenever you decide to meditate, give yourself 10 minutes to bring up your imaginary HUD and introspect. There's no need to move or adjust yourself. Closing your eyes is optional. Simply monitor your breath as though you intend to estimate your breaths per minute stat. Then do a body scan as though you were a cyborg doing a full self-diagnostics (Heart rate? Feel any pain? Fatigue? Body temperature?). If you "lose sight" of your HUD or catch yourself distracted by the "center screen" (aka the real world) or other thoughts, just go back to the HUD.


If you still find it difficult to introspect, do a room scan exercise instead. Pay attention to the contents of the room you're in (or surroundings) as though you had landed on another planet and wanted to conduct scientific analysis on objects never seen before (How many objects are there? Materials? Colors? Textures? Shapes?).