Mindful voices

Thursday, February 9 2012

When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?

I would say I first informally started practicing mindfulness when I was very young. My family has a lake home in Minnesota, where we would spend the weekends together. At our lake home, we do not have a telephone, television, computer, or much technical connection to others, etc. As a result, our days were spent mindfully cooking, eating together, walking in the woods, swimming in the lake, sitting, observing the world/nature around us.

When I think in my mind's eye of my favorite place in the world...it is here. I recognize that it is not necessarily a place as such for anyone who comes to visit. I have come to believe it is because of the years spent at the lake, it is a place of emotional and physical attachment enriched with mindful existence connected to my family.

Therefore what brought me to MARC (Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA) was a natural or organic walk.... I worked for the geneticist who is one of the founders of MARC. We connected on our conscious intention to be "mindful" of living in an environment that has created a certain level of anxiety within each of us that did not "sit well." So I guess I sought out a different way in which to formally as well as informally "sit" in life differently... more mindfully... and as an adult who cannot run off to the lake home every weekend.

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posted by Mindful readers..., 3:48 pm
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Monday, February 6 2012

Last month I spent a rich and rewarding week on a training retreat for teachers, run by Bangor University’s dedicated mindfulness centre. Glorious Welsh mountains provided the backdrop for our practice (not hard to find inspiration for embodying stillness, steadiness and strength here), while sharing in the wisdom of so many experienced guides made for a fertile learning environment. I felt a deep sense of commitment in the group to offering, as best we can, skillful spaces for people to experience the magic of mindfulness.

A phrase that struck me during the retreat—and it is one I’ve heard many times as meditation-based approaches have spread across the helping professions —is "a bit of mindfulness." People reading "a bit of mindfulness." Therapists using "a bit of mindfulness." Businesses bringing in "a bit of mindfulness" for their staff. Of course, it’s wonderful that practicing meditation is widely respected these days, rather than an implicit admission of borderline insanity, but there’s something about this phrase, and what it implies, that leaves me uneasy.

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posted by Ed Halliwell, 10:36 am
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Friday, February 3 2012

Which takes more self-control? Lying well or telling the truth? Your answer might say a lot about how trustworthy you are.

According to a study by Harvard psychologists, telling the truth is the more challenging of the two—but only for those who are also willing to cheat.

Researchers invited participants to play a game in which they could, if they wanted to, lie for profit. Every round, the participants had to report whether they had correctly guessed the answer—but only after they saw what the answer was. If they guessed correctly, they earned money.

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posted by Kelly McGonigal, 8:53 am
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Friday, January 27 2012

A blog post I wrote last year generated much debate in the comments section: Does shame motivate self-control? And more specifically, can shame encourage people to lose weight?

It’s quite a real debate in the field of psychology, and there’s evidence to support both sides. But a careful review of the seemingly contradictory findings reveals that it’s no so much shame that motivates self-control, but anticipating emotions like pride, regret, and remorse.

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posted by Kelly McGonigal, 10:42 am
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Tuesday, January 24 2012

When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?  

Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, Wherever You Go There You Are was my introduction to mindfulness and it inspired me to learn more about what it is and further develop my practice.

Did you take a class? If so, what sort of class did you take?  

I later took a class called Awakening Mindfulness at my local yoga studio and it helped deepen my understanding of mindfulness.

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posted by Mindful readers..., 12:57 pm
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