Meditation Is Strength Training For Your Mind

Photo credit Max van den Oetelaar @ Unsplash

Photo credit Max van den Oetelaar @ Unsplash


What is mindfulness?

I use an adaptation of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition:

Mindfulness is the awareness that comes from paying attention on purpose, moment to moment, with kindness and without judgement

Presence or awareness is a skill we can learn. Meditation is like strength training for being in the present.

Why would someone want to strengthen their awareness or mindfulness?

  • Our brain’s default mode is frequently scanning the past or creating the future.

  • We live most of our lives on autopilot, in the past or future, missing now. (And this means we miss the good stuff - and we also miss the lessons we could learn from moments of pain.)

  • But this single present moment is the only moment we have to be alive, to love, to learn.

Further, mindfulness can help us

  • Stop arguing with reality

  • Engage with now with equanimity – without over or under reaction

  • Be aware and engaged with others, thus facilitating connection

  • Notice our habit to get lost in the extra.

How do we learn mindfulness?

Last week during my meditation group at Stanley, we started with a simple, concrete practice. Breathing meditation exercises can help us settle our minds – using one of three anchors:

  • counting breath as the object of your meditation and attention,

  • labeling inhale exhale

  • noticing sensations

This week I’ll post samples of these exercises and, if you want to start right now (and why wouldn’t you?!) here’s my list of favorite meditation apps.

Wishing you a sunny summer day and a moment of silence.

Love, Kerry