Mindfulness: Inner Strength Tool for the New Year
Many of us are pursuing goals, aspirations or resolutions for the current year, and probably on an ongoing basis. We need all the inner tools and resources we can get; techniques and methods that cut across boundaries and can be applied in different areas of life. Several recent articles and posts about mindfulness remind us that it can be a helpful tool for personal development, if applied well. They also demonstrate that it comes in many different forms: meditation, as part of therapy and as a way of approaching life. Mindfulness meditation is covered by Mark Vernon’s post in the Guardian, How to meditate: An introduction. Be sure to see the sidebar, How to meditate in 10 easy steps, which combines brief text and great graphics. The mindfulness in therapy angle, complete with reports of encouraging scientific studies, is covered in Dave McGinn’s Stressed out? Try mindfulness meditation, in the Globe and Mail, Melinda Beck’s Conquering Fear in the Wall Street Journal and Chris Woolston’s Mindfulness therapy is no fad, experts say in the Los Angeles Times. Nomi Morris’ story from the same source last October, Fully experiencing the present: a practice for everyone, religious or not, is an interview with the super-articulate Jon Kabat-Zinn, a major authority on mindfulness, and author of the classic Wherever You Go, There You Are. In 1998, I took a helpful and memorable day-long, interactive introduction to mindfulness and yoga workshop, with hundreds of other people, led by Kabat-Zinn, who gave a lecture the night before. Finally, and especially for business people and leaders, I recommend a book I reviewed in 2005 for USA TODAY, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee’s Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. Mindfulness is not the only focus, but it gives succinct descriptions, such as this: “Living mindfully means,” the authors write, “that we are constantly and consciously in tune with ourselves – listening carefully to our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits. The best among us consciously develop the capacity for deep self-awareness, noting and building on our understanding of our inner experiences.” In that sense, mindful living looks like a worthy aspiration on its own.