There's never been a better time to explore the world of mindfulness and meditation. With so many new mindfulness apps on the market, it is relatively easy to start meditating on your own. However, I've been thinking a lot about the benefits of meditating outside of your own personal space in a community.
I have been reflecting on my work within healthcare and how mindfulness is an integral part of mind-body research. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in healthcare, has played a pivotal role in the rise of integrative medicine.
“Yikes,” I thought during a recent run, “my mind is a bit toxic!” Typically, running is a mindful and peaceful experience for me — my attention effortlessly focused on just running. It’s meditation in motion. But not so during this run.
Sometimes we enjoy the company of our own thoughts. Pleasant thoughts, constructive thoughts, thoughts that support our taking action — this genre of thinking is helpful. Yet at other times, our thoughts can be troublesome — negative, intrusive, obsessive, ruminative … we’ve all been there.
Within seconds of entering Springfield Hospital, a severe rain and wind storm suddenly took control of all things outside. “Wow,” I thought, “I was really fortunate this time. Usually rain is attracted to me like a magnet.” I mentioned my near miss to a colleague who replied: “You dodged a bullet!”
As I’m gearing up for a run, I’m pondering the topic for this mindfulness blog. After selecting just the right gear so I’m neither too hot nor too cold for an eight mile run, I finally get myself outside. After a couple miles my mind wanders, reminding me that I need a blog topic. I let the thought go and return my attention to my running. Then the lightbulb goes off. What I’m doing right now - mindful running, is the blog!
It’s about 9:00 pm and I’m about to meditate before going to bed. I thought I’d try something different and record my experiences while meditating. To do this, I’ll take breaks on occasion to share what’s happening. Here we go!
Integrating mindfulness into our lives has many benefits. When we are more aware of the present moment, we have access to a richer experience of life. When I find a deeper sense of presence, it can feel like I’ve opened a door. I step through into an experience of life that is more vibrant, more fulfilling. Mindfulness helps to find this doorway to presence.
I began my meditation practice about 30 years ago. It’s easy for me to remember when I started practicing mindfulness because it was one year before my daughter was born. When she was about three years old, she would frequently find me when I was meditating and fall asleep in my lap. This was a delightful meditation perk!
I love mountains. I love the challenge of steep and challenging trails that take me to beautiful summits and down into the valleys below. Five years ago I decided to do my first solo backpacking trip on the Long Trail in Vermont.