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Meditation and Mindfulness

Often people who have been oriented to meditation and gotten instruction start out very eager to practice it to feel more present, calm their mind, be more compassionate – but they stop and don’t continue because of these three most common reasons: they have no time, they think their mind is too crazy and meditation won’t work for them, or they feel like it is boring. The nature of the practice is boring compared to checking email or something, but it is important to go past these initial barriers, and that’s what I discuss in my talk ‘3 Reasons Not to Meditate’. Basic mindfulness practice is not focused on accomplishing things, it’s just giving your mind space to relax and ‘take the needle off of the record’ so to speak, so you see your own patterns of thought, desire, anger, and you are empowered to change the way you relate to your thoughts; you identify less with whoever you think you are or are supposed to be and feel lighter. When asked about how often you need to meditate in order for it to be effective, I use the metaphor of mental hygiene and compare it to oral hygiene; if you’re brushing your teeth you need to do it in a consistent and regular way. You don’t just brush your teeth really hard on the weekends and say that’ll do it for the week. I would caution beginners to not think of meditation practice like you might going to the gym and building muscle mass – with a ‘gaining’ attitude - that attitude is counter to what you’re trying to do through meditation and mindfulness.

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