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Introduction to Mindfulness

What exactly is mindfulness? We explore this topic and do a one minute mediation together.

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About 2700 years ago, the Buddha stated “The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live.” With just 19 words, the founder of Buddhism defined what we call mindfulness- the idea of living in the present moment.

Living in the present moment… in what other moment would we live? While our bodies are always in the here and now, our minds have an unfortunate tendency to wander back and forth between past and future thoughts, leading to stressful and unproductive lives. How can we accomplish anything while dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about future obstacles? Luckily, we don’t have to be stuck in this disturbed mental state. By practicing mindfulness, we can bring our minds to the present moment.

Obviously, there isn’t some switch that can be magically flipped to snap our minds to the present. That’s where I come in! Over the course of the year, I will be providing you with practices and tips which I personally have tested and found to be transformative. This week, we’ll start with one of the most basic mindfulness practices: meditation.

What pops into your mind when you hear the word meditation? A bald monk wearing robes and sitting cross-legged on a pillow? While this is the most stereotypical type of meditation, it is certainly not the only form. Let’s try a quick exercise: when you finish reading this paragraph, get comfortable where you’re sitting, close your eyes, and begin breathing deeply. Count 10 breaths; in five seconds, out six seconds. Try to quiet any thoughts in your brain about the past or future. If you find mind wandering off, gently return the brain to counting your breaths. Alright, begin!

Congratulations, you just finished your first mediation exercise! Just one minute can clear the clutter from the brain and anchor the mind to the present moment. If you would like to make mediation a regular practice, plenty of free guided mediation apps are out there for you. My personal favorite is called Smiling Mind; a guy with an Australian accent leads the meditations, and who doesn’t like Aussies? If you’re looking for other ways to further your mindfulness practices, Miss Lindstrom, Miss Lake, and Miss Edwards are all wonderful resources.

Every day, you will be awake for about 960 minutes. Squeezing in five minutes a day for mindfulness is very manageable, and will lead to a much happier and fulfilling life!

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Introduction to Mindfulness