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Mindful : October 2014
October 2014 mindful 45 Going to work, taking care of family, socializing, exercising, housekeeping. Whew. What busy lives we lead! How can we find time to include one more thing—even something as valuable as mindfulness practice? In this fourth installment of our Getting Started series, we show you ways to weave meditation into your life by 1 finding a good instructor, 2 choosing a meditation program, 3 practicing with other people, and 4 creating a personalized "meditation diet" that helps you fit it into your busy schedule. Photographs by Joshua Simpson Illustrations by Jason Lee Getting into meditation practice can seem like a VERY BIG DEAL. It can sound like a project that involves becoming a totally new you. But when you get right down to it, there’s no new you whom you need to find. What most of us want is to find, within our ordinar y life, some ways to get in touch with ourselves a nd find a reser voir of composure we can draw on when the going gets tough. Some kind of reg ula r mindfulness practice helps us to tap into that reservoir, to call upon it in the middle of a tough day, which is not always easy. When something unexpected or unpleasa nt happens—a driver cuts us off in traffic, a boss criticizes work we’ve done, a loved one is diag nosed with can- cer—our body’s fight-or-flight response, so useful to us when we face real danger, kicks in. Our heart beats rapidly. We flush with anger or remorse. We feel put upon. We want justice. Or relief. But every one of those hiccups or setbacks in our daily lives is also an opportunity. In those moments of stress, it is in our power to step back, breathe, feel the sensations in the body, examine them with curiosity, a nd move on. The challenge, of course, is remem- bering to do that more often. It doesn’t happen of its own accord. That’s why a regular meditation practice can make such a difference. It helps us to develop an awareness of what is happening to our bodies and minds in those challenging moments. And in that moment of awa re- ness, we ca n pause. In the following pages, we explore ways to deepen a nd strengthen the mind- fulness habit. Everything begins with some regular practice. If we can find as little as five or ten or 20 minutes a day, or twice a day, we’re on our way. We can adjust the amount of time later, depend- ing on schedule and inclination. But for many of us it's difficult to start and difficult to carry on. Our daily prac- tice can feel isolated if we are only doing it alone. And while the time spent by ourselves is important and powerful, we can deepen our experience by reaching out to others—a meditation teacher and a group of fellow meditators—or going on an occasional retreat or taking a course. GUIDED MINDFULNESS MEDITATION By Jon Kabat-Zinn The next best thing to taking an MBSR course with the founder. First in a 3-par t series. INSIGHT TIMER A no-frills tool for timing a meditation. Those who want to share meditation with an online community or group of friends can do so. Resources to Keep You Going THE NOW EFFECT How a Mindful Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life By Elisha Goldstein Filled with shor t prac tices to inser t throughout the day.