Archive for June 9th, 2018

(On Friday mornings at 11:30, my wife conducts a meditation session at our clubhouse. Usually about 20-25 people attend and, as we all sit in a circle, she plays a meditation tape from a free app called Insight Timer. It guides us through a meditation exercise which lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. There follow ten minutes of gentle music or, sometimes, silence.  The entire session lasts  thirty minutes and has been described by some participants as the best part of their day as it soothes and refreshes the mind.  Additionally, the act of sitting together engaged in a common pursuit enables us to connect and creates a sense of community. Lately, I have been closing each session with a short talk, usually a teaching story from something I’ve read or a personal experience. Here is an example).

Twenty years ago, words like” Mindfulness” and phrases like ” being in the moment” were still exotic. Nowadays they are mainstream; one hears them in the oddest places. Yesterday, I was reading an old issue of New York magazine when I came across a little filler, a paragraph about how habits are created. According to researchers at MIT, habits are formed as the result of a three step process: Cue, Routine, Reward. For example: “You feel bored” ( Cue). You pull out your iPhone ( Routine) A few moments of empty stimulation (Reward).

But, all too soon, you are bored again. What is to be done?

Solution: Choose a reward that contributes to your feeling of well being. Two of the best rewards, happiness wise: Staring a conversation with a stranger  Or Being more present in the moment.

What do these two things have in common?

In both cases, you consciously remove yourself from center stage. You become the observer, not the central character. You do not think of I.. I.. I.

This too is an aspect of mindfulness, one that I don’t think is stressed enough.

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