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Mindful : April 2018
A Q Am I Doing This Right? The latest installment in our ongoing series of helpful answers to common meditator questions. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Steven Hickman is a clinical psychologist and founder of the University of California, San Diego, Center for Mindfulness and executive director of the nonprofit Center for Mindful Self- Compassion. WhatshouldIdoifIhavea cold and can’t breathe with- out coughing and sniffling? I’m not a physician, but I’d recommend treating your cold and its symp- toms wisely, and consider mindful coughing and compassionate sniffling! The practice of mindful- ness is unique in that there are no right conditions for doing it. The intention is that mindfulness is practice independent of conditions, as long as we are capable of being aware. Which is pretty much that period of time between your very first breath and your very last. If you’re reading these words, this applies to you! (Funny story: I once attended a mindfulness workshop where the facili- tator announced at the very end of the workshop, “So, let’s all pause one last time and take our final breath together.” I had NO IDEA that attending this work- shop was going to be my final act on earth! I couldn’t stop chuckling to myself at her choice of words while everyone else was dutifully and seriously attending to their respective breaths.) If we believe that mind- fulness is something we do to make ourselves peaceful or is to be practiced when we have plenty of time or only when conditions are right, we are missing the point. A cold is a small but noticeable personal chal- lenge and is totally worthy of our attention in practice. We’re going to be sneezing, blowing our noses, scratch- ing our eyes, and feeling a tickle in our throats anyway, so why not see if we can be fully with it and notice how much we resist these moments when we are uncomfortable? Perhaps we might even cultivate a bit of equanimity in the face of the common cold. Couldn’t hurt, could it? ● By Steven Hickman • Illustration by Susan Haejin Lee 34 mindful April 2018 LIVING | the mindful faq