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Mindful : April 2013
Practicing meditation doesn’t involve a whole new set of skills. It works so well, Sharon Salzberg says, because it enhances life skills we already have. The most common response I hear these days when I tell someone I teach meditation is “I’m so stressed out. I could really use some of that.” I am also amused to hear fairly often “My friend should really meet you!” I’m happy to see that meditation is known more and more as something that could be directly helpful in our day-to-day lives. Anywhere stress plays a role in our problems, meditation can have a potential role in its relief. Meditation practice need not be tied to any belief system. The only necessary belief is not a dogmatic one, but one that says each of us has the capacity to understand ourselves more fully, and to care more deeply both for ourselves and for others. Its methods work to free us of habitual reactions that cause us great unhappiness, such as harsh self- judgment, and to develop wisdom and love. Meditation gives anybody who pursues it an opportunity to look within for a sense of abundance, depth, and connection to life. Rather than an ornate, arcane set of instructions, basic meditation consists of practical tools to help deepen concen- tration, mindfulness, and compassion. → Illustrations by Adrian Johnson April 2013 mindful 71