A new trend has resurfaced in the U.S, described graciously by the hashtag #staywoke. In it, comes the idea of being present/aware of what is happening all around us from corrupt economic markets to true causes of global environment changes. But just like many other “trends” staying woke and staying mindful is easier said than done.
I was fortunate enough to have discovered a short book titled “Mindfulness for Beginners” written by Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of a method that uses mindfulness as a stress reducer (yes, LESS stress!) And trust me, it is way less wordy than you think, but the concepts are trippy intense, I mean you’ll read some things and once it clicks, you’ll feel like a whole new world has opened up.
(No guru talking about mantras and chakras and how you need to meditate for 6 hours in complete silence for a year…he’s a “chill” guru) It’s completely formulated for beginners in being mindful.
Here are some quotes/ideas that will help you get started on your way to being fully present in everything that’s going on in this world.
- It basically means to be aware, or as Kabat-Zinn explains “It is one of many forms of meditation, if you think of meditation as any way in which we engage in (1) systematically regulating our attention and energy (2) thereby influencing and possibly transforming the quality of our experience (3) in the service of realizing the full range of our humanity and of (4) our relationships to others and the world.
- I know, it’s a lot to take in. Read it over a couple times, you got it.
- When you feel like you’re zoning out form the present moment, start with just breathing
“Our breathing can serve as a convenient first object of attention to bring us back into our present moment, because we are only breathing now–the last breath is gone, the next one hasn’t come yet–“
- Having a “prepared mind” for meditation
- One that’s “an open mind, a mind that knows or maybe just intuits what it doesn’t know, questions its own…assumptions, and is drawn to inquire–to look more deeply beneath the surface of things”
- Practicing this requires you to be able to be
- non-judgmental, getting past the idea that you HAVE to know everything
- patient, with not having a long attention span just yet, with thinking about that thing you had to get from the store while talking to your friend about something important
- trusting, including what you think, what is worth trusting like intuition
- beginners, which is okay. When were kids we see everything as new, which can be tough as adults to get back to.
- Once you’re ready to meditate
- Kabat-Zinn tells us to set time aside, even if it’s 3 minutes in your busy schedule
- Posture is also important, but you don’t need to be in some technical yoga position. Whether you’re on a pillow or office chair, sit up straight supporting your spine, in a position that embodies DIGNITY.
- Oh, and don’t fall asleep! It can be tempting sitting with your eyes closed especially if you’re in a quiet space but remember, the idea is to be aware and in control of your thinking!
The book has audio to help you in your first practices of meditation but if you don’t have it (which I’m pretty sure you don’t) use these ideas in your free time and remember,
“Our own awareness has the capacity to free us, at least for one time-less moment, from the toxic elements of thought and emotion…”