All self-directed, positive behavior change in humans begins with mindfulness. One of the best ways to develop mindfulness is through meditation. Meditation has been around for thousands of years but has only recently gained the attention of modern science. Since then, interest has exploded. In 2018 alone, there were 2,900 scientific articles with the word “mindfulness” in the title. If one isn’t careful, it can appear that mindfulness training is a panacea. It isn’t, but it can be very powerful. I can confidently say that it has made me better at everything that I do, from communicating with family, friends, co-workers, and students, to performance in Krav Maga and other athletic endeavors.
So, the question remains, why engage in meditation? Here are a few reasons posed by the founder of Unified Mindfulness, Shinzen Young:
1) Get to know yourself at the deepest level
2) Reduce the suffering of yourself, and others
3) Increase personal fulfillment
4) Promote positive behavior change
5) Develop a spirit of service toward others
Here are a few things to consider as you embark on your mindfulness journey:
1) Similar to any behavior that is good for you, such as working out or brushing your teeth, the joy is in the benefits you are afforded, but the process isn’t always fun. Sometimes people have an expectation that every meditation session will result in deep relaxation, or a profound spiritual experience. This just isn’t the case. These experiences can occur, but if you expect them to occur on a regular basis you will likely discontinue engaging in practice and will miss out on the cumulative positive effect of a consistent daily practice. Fun is not a prerequisite for doing something that is good for you, and even potentially life changing. Although, if a sense of fun arises during a meditation session, one can fully experience it and enjoy it.
2) The goal of meditation isn’t to clear the mind. Instead, it’s to notice the nature of the mind, which has the tendency to be chaotic. Oftentimes, new meditators will feel as if they are failing at meditation if their brain doesn’t get quiet when, in fact, the mere noticing of the chaos means that you are succeeding as a meditator. Simply bring your attention back to the object of focus and allow the chaos to play out in the background. That is the practice! Maybe, somewhere along the way, you will eventually experience a quiet mind. If that happens, notice it. Notice any sense of pleasure in the calmness. Realize that calmness is also a reality of the mind, but the harder we try to achieve it, the more elusive it can become.
3) You don’t have to meditate for hours per day to experience benefits. At just 10 minutes of formal practice per day, and 10 minutes of life practice throughout the day, you can achieve great benefit. We can show you how!
Key benefits from this course:
After this course, you will be able to:
- Choose from a buffet of meditative techniques to help deepen positive states, such as joy, and manage challenging states, such as stress, burnout, or difficult interactions with others.
- Practice meditation in stillness while using “accelerators” to deepen and broaden your practice.
- Practice while doing everyday things, such as chores, listening to music, or exercising.
- Plug into a community so that you can get on-going support as you proceed on your meditative journey.