What is mindfulness meditation?
“Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to things as they are” (Williams, Teasdale, Segal & Kabat Zinn, 2007). When we are mindful we are intentionally paying attention to the basic components of our experience; how things actually are in the present moment, not how we want them to be. Mindfulness meditation is a form of mental training that cultivates non-judgmental observation, non-striving, patience, trust, open-mindedness, self-compassion and non-attachment.
Over the past decade many research studies have demonstrated that mindfulness practices can have a significant positive impact on personal well-being. Specifically, mindfulness practices may have the following benefits for students:
- Decreased feelings of pressure and stress
- Improved focus and academic performance
- Increases in positive emotion
- Greater self knowledge
- Better sleep
Facts about meditation:
- Meditation is not a religion. Mindfulness is simply a method of mental training.
- While we will sit to do our mindfulness meditation practice, you can bring mindful awareness to any activity you do. You can meditate more or less anywhere.
- Meditation doesn’t necessarily take a lot of time. Research shows that individuals can get benefits from simply meditating 10 minutes / day. Many people find that the benefits they receive from practicing meditation far outweigh the time they spend on practicing.
- Meditation can be difficult but it is not complicated. It is not about success or failure, it is just about being.
- The goal of mindfulness meditation is not relaxation, but rather awareness.
While beginners often find it helpful to get support in developing a mindfulness practice of their own, it is not necessary to join a group. There are many excellent (and free) resources on the internet that can provide information on mindfulness meditation, recommendations for practicing and guided meditations. Here are a few of our favourites:
Meditation in our Community:
Watch the following videos:
Listen to these podcasts:
Books that may be helpful:
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Self-compassion – Kristin Neff
The Mindful Path to Self-compassion – Chris Germer
The Mindful Way Through Depression - Williams, Teasdale, Segal and Kabat-Zinn
Mindsight – Daniel Siegel
Brainstorm – Daniel Siegel
Mindfulness: An 8 week plan for finding peace in a frantic world – Mark Williams and Danny Penman
Full Catastrophe Living – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Wherever You Go There You Are – Jon Kabat Zinn
Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the present moment and your life – Jon Kabat Zinn
Mindful Compassion – Paul Gilbert and Choden
Meditation isn’t only for certain talented or already serene people. You don’t have to be an ace at sitting still; you don’t have to wait until you are uncrazed and decaffeinated… you can start right now. If you can breathe, you can meditate.
– Sharon Salzberg