By Allison Peet,
Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor
If you’ve ever tried mindfulness meditation, even if only for a few minutes, it has probably become very clear that it’s seemingly simple, but not easy. Mindfulness is called a practice for a reason; it’s not perfect. This is what I think is so refreshing about meditation. In formal practice, we already have everything we need, there is nothing lacking and nothing that needs to be fixed, managed, or improved upon. There is no need to do it perfectly and there is no such thing as failing, doing it incorrectly, or having a “bad” meditation…whatever that my mean to you. In this way, we practice kindness, mercy, and a sense of befriending ourselves. Mindfulness is a process of self-exploration; a way of discovering our inner landscape from moment to moment and becoming more familiar with who our essential Self actually is.
“Meditation is simply about being yourself and knowing about who that is. It is about coming to realize that you are on a path whether you like it or not, namely, the path that is your life. Meditation may help us see that this path we call our life has direction; that it is always unfolding, moment by moment; and that what happens now, in this moment, influences what happens next.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Sign up for our next “Intro to Mindfulness” class coming up soon. Registration is open – no prior experience is necessary and no floor sitting is required.
Mindfulness can be practiced any time, the tricky part is remembering to do it; catching ourselves living on auto-pilot and using the present moment to come back home to the here and now…Again, simple, not easy! Here are three simple practices you can begin to practice right now:
- Mindful Minute – Taking one-minute, purposeful pauses can drastically change the way you move through the day. Accessing your innate center, grounding yourself in the here and now, brings you out of the swirl of reactivity and acting out of busyness, anger, frustration, etc.
You can use your smart phone to set a timer for one minute. Take a seat, and bring your back away from the back of the chair to sit with a sense of resolve and wakefulness. Bring attention to the physical sensations of your breath. No need to change the breath in any way – just allow a natural pace and let your attention rest, riding the waves of the body breathing itself. When…(not if) the mind wanders away from the breath as the object of your attention, gently but firmly gather your awareness back to the sensations of breathing. Notice how you feel both before and after this mindful minute. The power of mindfulness lies in it’s simplicity.
- Singlemindedness – Single-tasking vs Multi-tasking. Our minds are very content to bounce around to the future and past quite often. In fact, most of what we do in our waking hours encourages or even demands multitasking and we’ve probably spent decades conditioning this behavior. However, human minds are not meant to multi-task…computers multi-task, we do not. Our minds toggle back and forth so often, we end up spent by midday.
Bring your entire attention to doing one thing at a time – also known as “single-tasking.” When you incorporate mindfulness into carrying out tasks, less mistakes are made, you don’t feel as rushed and hurried, and you may remember more details or nuances that may be missed when you’re doing too many things at once with a scattered, distracted and flitting mind. You may even find that by bringing all of your awareness to each task, it feels like there is more spaciousness in the day.
- Mindful Listening – When in communication with another, many times we don’t listen to understand and to really be present with compassion. Instead, we’re caught up in our own mental dialogue, distracted by the environment around us, or thinking of what we’ll say next.
Using listening as a mindfulness practice is very transformative. When you notice the mind wandering as the other person is talking, honor that opportunity to stop what you’re doing, put down the phone perhaps, and utilize the person as the object of your attention. This is sometimes called “deep listening”. Tune into your own internal experience as you’re taking in this interaction. This offers a huge amount of information – for example, is there tightness in the chest, or a sensation of lightness and expansion?
Bringing a sense of curiosity to your mindfulness practice is essential. Remember to go easy on yourself, as this is a life-long way of being. If you’re interested in learning more about meditation – sign up for our next “Intro to Mindfulness” class coming soon. Registration is open – no prior experience is necessary and no floor sitting is required.
For more information:
Contact the facilitator, Allison Peet, here
Allison Peet is a certified MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Instructor trained at the UMass Center for Mindfulness where MBSR™ was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, and the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. Both schools are the gold standard for exceptional mindfulness training. She’s taught since 2015. Hundreds have graduated the course that have reduced perceived toxic stress levels an average of 34%. Of those graduates, 80% lowered their stress levels. She is trained through Mindful Schools and teaches mindfulness to youth, K-12 and is a registered yoga instructor. She’s completed multiple week-long silent meditation retreats and has a daily practice. Allison has a personal path of living and working with chronic stress and anxiety which is why she started her own business in 2015, From Within Wellness, LLC, to benefit others. She is committed to creating a more mindful community by helping people develop pragmatic life skills in attentional strength, present moment awareness, self-compassion, and stress resiliency.