Thursday, December 6, 2018

Daily meditation

I have written about 8 posts on meditation.  The practice of sitting still and alert for ten minutes, keeping your attention on a single anchor, such as some point in your vision field  or your breath, will increase your awareness of what you are putting your attention on. During the ten minutes, each occasion you catch yourself thinking about something instead of paying attention to that anchor point or your breath, you simply stop thinking about whatever grabbed your attention, and return your awareness to your focus.

I had a friend who had enough about meditation from me, and said she could do without further words on the subject.  She is now deceased, but I realize I can overdo emphasis on the practice. The book "Mindfulness Redesigned for the 21st Century" by Amit Sood, a Mayo Clinic MD, runs through the statistics on meditation practice and points out that only a minority of people meditate, especially after some time passes from when they first try it.  The practice of training the mind is meditation but the resultant increased awareness of what subjects and thoughts are being harbored in the mind is mindfulness.

Because of my friend's caution, I have stayed away for writing too much about meditation, a practice that is quick, very inexpensive and helpful for the mind, the body and the emotions.  I venture to return to the subject now because Bill Gates has just released his set of recommended books for the past year. His recommendations include a book on meditation by a leading teacher of the practice in Britain. What I like about Andy Puddicombe's approach is the clear recommendation that a person practice meditation for ten minutes a day.

You can go on a multi-day retreat and many people get a better start on the practice from such a concentrated experience.  However, you don't need to do that and you can get very good benefits from a 10 minute practice every day or so. Just as with religious practice or physical exercise, it can refresh and update you to read occasionally about the subject.  Gates reports having the author to his house and having him talk to him, his wife and his children about the practice.

Puddicombe's book "Get Some Headspace" is only $7.99 to download onto a computer, phone or tablet.  The author David Michie is also a good read on the subject and his books "Hurry Up and Meditate" and "Meditation is Better than Chocolate" are fun and instructive.  

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