After only a few centuries in existence, mindfulness has become trendy! With all the recent stories in the media on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, I am frequently asked how I’d respond to a person who is curious about practicing but who cannot imagine sitting still for any length of time. Most often, the person asking is, in fact, someone who cannot imagine sitting still, but who wonders nevertheless whether this stuff might help address the constant chatter in their head.
This answer to that question is–if you’ll pardon the expression–a no-brainer. The notion that there is a minimum length of practice, or that it requires extensive physical and mental restraint, is a myth. In fact, the very notion that we can rate a practice as good or successful is also pretty silly. The old expression about the criteria for judging whether you succeeded is that any practice is successful if you’ve made it to the cushion. It is, after all called a “practice” and not a “perfect.”
To prove that pausing for even a few minutes a day can net great benefits, I’ve recorded a guided practice for you that takes five minutes from preparation-to-finish. No cushion, special clothing or saffron-colored room required–just your non-judgmental attention and a comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed. Although I recommend making yourself comfortable, I strongly suggest practicing in an upright position. Lying down is a good way to fall asleep, especially if you’re tired to begin with.
I suggest giving this a try for at least a week or two in order to observe your response. If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear your discoveries about yourself and the practice. The effects of meditation can sneak up on us in unexpected and surprising ways–so many interesting things show up when you’re open to anything!
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