What is Mindfulness and Where Can I Get Some?

Hi BR,

OK what is mindfulness training & where can I get some?!!!  Yesterday at work I had a very stressful day, and by afternoon, I noted some definite cognitive deterioration…. couldn't hold a thought in my head. Please advise. Thanks, Danielle

Dear Danielle,

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of noticing and focusing, in a detached but curious way, on moment to moment awareness of our physical, emotional and mental sensations and perceptions, without trying to change them in any way... in other words, to be aware of what is transpiring in the here and now. 

This is ultimately the goal of all meditation — to awaken us to the present.  Paradoxically, by noticing what is going on internally with conscious awareness, we’re better able to deal with pain and suffering. It takes some discipline and practice to learn, but the rewards are great.

Jon Kabat-Zinn did a lot to make mindfulness accessible to Westerners by structuring it as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and generating scores of research studies about its positive impact - on stress, pain, quality of life and other measures. You can probably find a local workshop in your area, perhaps even in an adult education class in MBSR, because they’ve become quite popular.

If you want some wonderful mindfulness audio resources, try Traci Stein’s Mindfulness Meditations: Finding Peace and Perspective in the Present Moment, or Julie Lusk’s Guided Mindfulness Meditations: Practicing Presence & Finding Peace

We are also big fans of the work of Bodhipaksa - Guided Meditations for Busy People or his Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction.

And Tara Brach does a great job with her Mindfulness Meditation: Nine Practices to Awaken Presence and Open your Heart.

That should get you started. You can learn by practicing with an audio on your own or attending a meditation group or retreat or both – whatever suits you. Let your choices be guided by whatever you’re most likely to practice and stick with.

Best of luck with this.

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