On mindfulness (and, tangentially, on my deep appreciation of Christopher Walken)

Reader, I am too absorbed in my mindfulness CD right now to write a blog post for your pleasure.

Of course, I’ve been doing my nails as I am listening so I am pretty sure that I am missing the point.

This is a CD authored by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the University of Massachusetts’ Stress Reduction Clinic. He has a soothing voice, with faint undertones of Christopher Walken. To get an idea of what the CD sounds like, imagine if Walken was your father and reading you a bedtime story.

Puts me right to sleep.

Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “What comes out of paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally and as if your mind depended on it – nothing else than awareness.” It’s official, I did miss the point, although my nails do look fabulous in an earthy, Thanskgiving-esque brown.

It’s a great exercise for me to slow down – actually, to stop – and be aware. It doesn’t come easily. For me, the problem is not that the world moves too quickly for me, but rather that I move too quickly for myself. That can generate a lot of anxiety and generally unpleasantness of being.

Even with the description and definition of mindfulness that makes up the first part of the CD, Kabat-Zinn integrates meditation concepts and neuroscience in such an interesting way that it makes me want to take notes. (The point: it has been missed.)

I have yet to work my way through the CD contents in their entity, but I am already reminded of the book “My Stroke of Insight” by Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor (another neuroscientist!). In the book, she recounts the shift in perception she experienced as a result of a left brain haemorrhage at age 37 – in fact, I believe she even mentions how she now practices mindfulness.

I leave you with this (non-rhetorical) question, courtesy of the Stress Reduction Clinic: Can you question who you are and be comfortable with not knowing?

________________________________

The experiences recounted in the two reads of the week would in and of themselves make anyone want to pick up mindfulness (if only as a coping mechanism).

Friends Don’t Let Friends Fly American Airlines |  Matthew Iglesias | Slate

A Trans-Atlantic Trip Turns Kafkaesque | Gary Shteyngart | New York Times

– Girl Friday

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