Meditation & Mindfulness - Part III
Welcome back! Parts I and II of this three-part series began with making and sustaining small change, then moved to focus and being in the present. This last part pulls together some mindfulness principles and provides entry points for meditation practice.
Meditation & Mindfulness
There are many types of and approaches to meditation, but they all have in common being present in the here and now. You’ve probably heard the term mindfulness, associated with meditation. Mindfulness can be defined as the intention to be present in the here and now, fully engaged in whatever is happening, free from distraction or judgement and with a soft and open mind.
Regular meditation/mindfulness practice can have myriad outcomes. Many people speak to being more creative, with solutions seeming to come when least expected. Others describe being more calm and more focused, which also is supported by research. Some speak to increased enjoyment of physical experiences like eating and sex. These are not bad outcomes.
So, like the small changes I discussed in Part I of this series, let's apply the same approach to thinking about meditation/mindfulness practice. It’s hard to start something new and be consistent with it. Not everyone can jump into a long daily meditation. That’s okay. And any meditation practice requiring the perfect room with the perfect cushion and the perfect light at the perfect time of day is a set up for failure. Most of us have hectic schedules, so I encourage flexibility: You should be able to start when you want to and fit it in when you can.
If you're curious about mindfulness practice, I’m going to suggest a few low stress approaches to trying out meditation. Learningmeditation.com is a great blog from which you can download a free starter meditation, then purchase and download other meditations. Headspace is available on the web (with a blog and podcast) and has a free to download app (ios and Android) that provides 10 free days of mediation with humorous animated shorts to educate you about mindfulness, then an opportunity to buy subscriptions. Highly respected mindfulness researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn has an app (ios only) as well as a softcover and audio book, Mindfulness for Beginners. The app costs $9.99 to download.
Following are a few books on meditation focused on the beginner:
Meditation Made Easy by Lorin Roche
Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner Peace by Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel and Myla Kabat-Zinn
Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons
If you want to explore further and would benefit from live and in-person mindfulness/meditation guidance, you can find classes in meditation with instructors who will work with you one on one or in groups. There is yoga practice, which incorporates meditation, with some types of yoga (e.g., Kundalini Yoga) more focused on the spiritual/meditative aspect than others. Google searches in your area and recommendations from Yelp or other social media search engines.
I'm going to wrap this post with the hope that you'll incorporate the following as you work on perfecting your work-life blend!
- Take small bites and work on manageable, incremental shifts rather than broad, sweeping changes
- Try to stay in the present moment and focused on whatever you are doing
- Open yourself up to the potential outcomes that come with mindfulness/meditation