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Mindful : April 2014
THE MINDFULNESS REVOLUTION Edited by Barry Boyce More than 40 shor t pieces by as many authors who present how mindfulness works and how they’ve put it into practice in their lives and livelihood. 44 mindful April 2014 getting started: how to meditate Mindfulness. It’s a pretty straightfor- ward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious. Yet no matter how far we drift away, mindfulness is right there to snap us back to where we are a nd what we’re doing and feeling. If you want to know what mindfulness is, it’s best to try it for a while. Since it’s hard to nail down in words, you will find slight variations in the meaning in books, websites, audio, and video. Here’s a n all-purpose definition that treats mind- fulness as a quality that every human being already possesses, rather than something we have to conjure up. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we What is Mindfulness? are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or over whelmed by what’s going on around us. While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, pa rticula rly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s a lso possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports. When we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather to just do the practice, and yet there are benefits or no one would do it. When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performa nce, gain insight a nd aware- ness through obser ving our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being. Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives when we ca n suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with wa rmth a nd kindness—to ourselves and others. We hear the word a lot these days. 2014 has even been called The Year of Mindful Living. What exactly are people talking about? OVERHEARD “Mindfulness— our capacity to pay atten- tion, moment to moment, on purpose—is an immediately accessible ally.” Saki Santorelli, executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING By Jon Kabat-Zinn From explanations of the bene- fits of mindfulness to stories of those who started practicing in midlife to how-tos, this book comes from the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction himself. REAL HAPPINESS: THE POWER OF MEDITATION By Sharon Salzberg A 28-day program of guided instruction in “ three key skills” for living: concentration, mindfulness, and compassion. An accompanying audio CD contains guided meditations. Books to Get You Started Getting Started was compiled by Barry Boyce, editor-in- chief of Mindful, in consultation with: Elisha Goldstein Ph.D., psychologist, author of The Now Effect Tara Healey program director for Mindfulness-Based Learning at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Steve Flowers director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California Christiane Wolf MD, Ph.D., director of MBSR Programs, InsightLA