Meditation and Media Attention

September 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Basics, Why do we meditate?)

Media Attention

More and more frequently, I notice media articles and stories about meditation. Just recently I clipped an article about meditation and stress reduction in the USA Today weekend edition.

It was a short article about a book titled ‘Fully Present: The Sceince, Art and Practice of Mindfulness’ by Susan L. Smalley and Diana Winston.

The author of the newspaper article focused on a few things from the book and on the benefits of ‘paying attention with openness and curiosito to the present moment.’ She also reported on findings that mindfulness reduces stress, increases attention span, boosts creativity and strengthens the immune system.

I have not read this particular book, but I have read many like it and I am grateful that there is more research and discussion of meditation in all its forms and benefits.

What is ‘mindfulness?’

Mindfulness is a concentration on the present moment. Separate yourself from you busy thoughts and pay attention to everything around you. What colors do you see, what do you hear, what do you smell, right now? Exactly what are you feeling in your body?

Sense each physical feeling in your body without thinking about it. For example you could feel a breeze on your face without further thinking about the weather or your hair, or anything else.

You can notice the landscaping around you, the trees, bushes or grass and just fully look at them, taking in the color and shape of each one individually.

You might realize that there is a bird chirping nearby that you hadn’t noticed. Remember in the old ‘Kung-Fu’ series, the young Caine at the end of his training was asked by the master, ‘do you hear the grasshopper at your feet?’ 

Take you thoughts away from everything except the present moment. For example, what sensations are in your body, right now? Can you feel your feet in your shoes, or on the floor or can you sense the shirt or blouse on your shoulders and what does it feel like?

Taking time to do this, even for 3 minutes, and cleaning out all other thoughts will slow your heartbeat, lower your blood pressure and calm you mind. You will create a space around your heart that will give you time to breathe calmly inside.

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