Peter Kowalke


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A Better Kind of Daily Affirmation

By on December 14, 2023

Lately I’ve been experimenting with a better version of positive affirmations.

I like setting a good tone for the day, but positive affirmations always have rubbed me wrong because they are external or fundamentally hollow. My happiness should not be based on external things like success at work or sticking to a workout routine, and self-reminders that I’m worthy or a good person feel like needless puffery (in my case, at least; I don’t suffer from self-hate).

But I like the concept of centering internally and starting my day strong.

So I recently looked at this problem from a first principles perspective, and I realized that meditation properly done actually is the INTERNAL version of morning affirmations. When I meditate, I connect with the fundamental beauty of life irrespective of external highs and lows. I also get in touch with myself and the universe without the hollow “you’re awesome” gobbledygook.

I already had a meditation practice as an almost-monk who has lived in monasteries in India, the US, Thailand and Myanmar. But it wasn’t integrated into my daily routine, and I didn’t make the connection that my meditation practice WAS the solution to the daily affirmation problem.

Since making this connection, I now start each day with meditation before the coffee, the to-do list, the emails.

It is a simple practice. I sit on the floor, calm my mind with prayer, then meditate without thoughts until there is that familiar nonverbal connection with myself and everything around me. There is no setup, no mats, no trinkets, no timer, and not even an attempt to create a serene external environment. I just sit and go inward each morning until I have found my joy. And it works.

Peter is a relationship coach, writer/producer, and R&D monastic. He splits his time between San Francisco and Asia. Read more about Peter.