Mindfulness is a bit of a trending topic in the world right now. Everybody who’s anybody is doing it, really.
I’m trying to sell you on it because I think it’s incredibly valuable. The rewards are both individual and communal.
Mindfulness – accepting the present as the only actionable reality – does not encourage complacency. In recognizing that “now” is the only time in which you can act, you actually create more opportunities for improvement. You never miss the “now” when you need to make a change. Change isn’t something that comes, it’s something built in the present, over time.
Meditation, as a practice, improves the ability to engage with the present.
It’s a time when you give yourself permission to release. Release your anxieties, your obsessive planning, your vanity… even your identity itself for ten minutes, and you’ll see the results. But remember: forcing yourself to let go is counterproductive. You have to simply do it.
Set the time aside, and release.
Guided meditations are an excellent way to get to know the methods of meditation. They are also terrific aids for focusing your attention. If you ever have trouble letting go of distracting thoughts, just pull up a guided meditation.
This is a page of free guided meditations from Tara Brach, a doctor of clinical psychology who spent 10 years in an ashram and completed a five-year Buddhist teacher training program.
The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
I think it took me a year after I bought this book to actually start reading it.
Something about the cover design and review snippets turned me off.
But once I got into it… wow.
It may seem a little “woo-woo” to some of you, but I encourage you to jump in.
It’s an outstanding guide to developing present moment awareness, in addition to gratitude and pure joy. Its greatest value to me was not in proper meditation methods, but in its encouragement of mindfulness in everyday situations. Why wait for meditation time? Be mindful at work, while you go for a jog, while you sit in traffic, while brushing your teeth…
This is a wild book.
It begins with the story of how Richard Alpert, doctor of psychology working at Harvard, transformed into Ram Dass. He and Timothy Leary experiment with LSD and psilocybin, pushing the limits of their consciousnesses. After this phase dissolves, Richard goes to India, treks around with a young American mystic, and ultimately takes up a guru to begin more intensive study.
From there, the book becomes more of a collection of full-spread (you have to turn the book sideways and read across both pages) posters. Each page has what looks to be hand-rendered, flowing scripts over intricate backgrounds (some of these backgrounds look like dicks, which is fun).
The text is heavily influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, but you needn’t buy in. There are plenty of terrific ideas for everyone. Like this:
IT’S ALL RIGHT NOW
But later?………. Forget it baby
Science and Nonduality
“The mission of Science and Nonduality (SAND) is to forge a new paradigm in spirituality, one that is not dictated by religious dogma, but that is rather based on timeless wisdom traditions of the world, informed by cutting-edge science, and grounded in direct experience.”
This dude just writes solid thinker essays and short tweets.
He offers a commentary that makes meditation and mindfulness feel more accessible.