Mindfulness Blog

Mindful Magazine

Apparently there is a magazine titled “mindful“. There is a free excerpt from this month’s featured article, “The Medicine of the Moment“, along with other free article excerpts.

One important section from “The Medicine of the Moment” reads:

“while mindfulness has grown in popularity and acceptability … the very fact of popularity has a notorious way of trivializing something and reducing its credibility … in the rush to respond to the demand for something that promises some relief from suffering … overpromotion inevitably ensues… ”

“… a recent paper by a group of 15 researchers called for a halt to extravagant claims surrounding mindfulness, citing a need for more careful definitions of exactly what mindfulness is when it is studied, more rigorous clinical studies, and a check on media reports and advertising of mindfulness as a virtual cure-all.

 

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Not just for tough times…

From How Busy People Meditate Every Day written by Drew Long:

Arnold Schwarzenegger describes how he began meditating during a time in his life when everything was going right. He was preparing for a bodybuilding competition, buying real estate, filming a movie, filming a documentary, and

everything was clustered into one big problem, rather than separating it out into having calm, peace and being happy.

Arnold says he started meditating and “I saw the effect right away.” He continued to do [transcendental] meditation for about a year:

Even today, I still benefit from that, I don’t merge and bring things together, I don’t see it as one big problem, I take on one challenge at a time. I do one thing at a time.

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Past, Future, or Present?

It is often easy to find oneself so caught up in the past or future that we miss the present. All we have is this moment. Acknowledging this and/or letting go of judgement can be liberating.

“Mindful and creative, a child who has neither a past, nor examples to follow, nor value judgments, simply lives, speaks and plays in freedom.” — Arnaud Desjardins

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Reflection — Meditation Retreat

This past Saturday, March 24th, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a free meditation retreat run by Linnie for GSU students at the Indian Creek Lodge. This was my second retreat, and I’ll suffice it to say that it was a very different experience than the first one last November. There is something incredible about being mindful for a full 8 hours (not just sitting for 8 hours straight, but with multiple activities). Everyone seems to go through a different experience, and it is pretty incredible to lose track of time, enjoy and be with nature, sit with oneself however one is, and just be. An 8 hour retreat is not a trivial event, especially to someone new to meditation and not as used to it. That being said, mindfulness meditation is a journey, and there’s  no “mastery” of it.

As Linnie sometimes says (paraphrasing),

“Are you aware of what you’re doing? Right now?”

One idea this reminds me of is that no one is mindful all the time, and one can fall in and out of the habit of practice. It has been easy in the past for me to think once I’ve fallen off the horse, I’ve failed. But as I’ve come to learn from some of Linnie’s meditations, we can start again, in this moment, both in the midst of a meditation practice and in life. “You can start now, with this breath. Or this breath.” I can decide to set aside time to meditate each day, maybe just for a little while, or maybe for 30 min at least X times per week. The trick is to simply start, and to be kind to yourself. After all, you’re starting (again)! That’s commendable.

Returning to the topic of the retreat, my experience this time was one of somewhat content discomfort. I have been going through a lot of changes, and that day in particular I wasn’t especially happy with some of them. I was worried. But I was aware of these feelings. I was aware of having fewer thoughts than I’m used to and how that made me uncomfortable, too. And in the awareness there was a sort of comfort — nothing especially bad happened for being aware. I was simply aware of how I felt and thought in those 8 hours. And a sort of consistent awareness didn’t happen right away (or arguably at all — distractions are inevitable). I fell asleep a few times, and I reminded myself that this was okay, too, being aware of the tendency I occasionally have to feel guilty or like I missed something. At the end of the day, I was reminded of how being mindful is being aware of and accepting things as they are in the moment — this does not mean one cannot want to and take actions to change. But in the moments of mindfulness, this is not the focus, and in fact, taking things in as they are has helped me better inform the changes I want/need.

A quote as you continue on with your day:

“To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

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