This type of meditation grew out of Buddhist meditation practice, and it refers to the state of being awake or mindful. Mindfulness meditation means paying attention, in a particular way, to the present moment or situation. You don’t change the moment or situation, you simply acknowledge it without judgment. Mindfulness meditation nurtures awareness.
Robert Stahl teaches an eight-week mindfulness program at EI Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. Stahl’s class features people with varying conditions acute or chronic pain, asthma, insomnia, cancer, depression, arthritis, stroke. The course includes meditation, gently yoga, and group discussion. “A lot of things arise loss, grief, anger, feelings of being overwhelmed. Stress and pain have no age or economic barrier: I’m finding more young people from Silicon Valley in my groups, very stressed out. They sit next to a person who may have minimum mobility or who has had heart surgery. The result is pretty remarkable. Once an individual develops a strong dose of self-awareness, he or she never returns to that place of unawareness. Everyone leaves the course with an ability to cope, no matter their condition.”
Your Choice:Group or Solo?
Now that you have discovered all these wonderful techniques, how do you actually apply them? Should you meditate in a group setting or do it solo? Should you get up at dawn or meditate at night? And how much time can you possibly eke out to meditate with an already overcommitted schedule? Let’s start with the actual sitting.
For many, their first contact with meditation is in a yoga class with other people present. Other individuals, who do not practice yoga, participate in group meditation that specifically teaches one technique. Others find a group that teaches a variety of meditation techniques. Group meditations might gather once a week for a specific period of time to practice. A group’s participants have the opportunity to share their experiences and feelings about meditation.
On the home front, meditation typically remains a private experience not shared with household members, unless, of course, they meditate. Individuals may carve out a corner in their home to meditate. If meditation is a new practice in your home, you may have to explain to your family or roommates that you require some time alone to meditate. While this sounds easy, for the individual who has never shut the door and asked to have twenty minutes undisturbed, the request can create questions. If questions arise, explain a little bit about meditation and what you are doing. When meditating at home, try to meditate at the same time each day.