Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Meditation Made Simple: Seven Considerations to Get You Going :: Part One: You Already Know How to Meditate

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Today, I’ll introduce another series in addition to Waking Up is a Revolutionary Act. This primer, Meditation Made Simple: Seven Considerations to Get You Going will be presented in seven sections. It answers basic questions and addresses particular myths about mindfulness meditation.

1. You Already Know How to Meditate

There are thousands of techniques that may be considered meditation and this guide will describe mindfulness meditation.

Meditation through the skill of mindfulness is native to all of us. We all have the capacity to become absorbed in the moment and we usually do so when special circumstances are in place – a beautiful sunset, a magical moment, or a crisis for that matter.

Practicing meditation makes this native skill available in every moment, even the most ordinary of moments. You don’t have to wait around for gorgeous sunsets; you don’t have to arrange your life to catch things just right.

Mindfulness is right here, right now and if you practice meditation you’ll be able to access mindfulness (the fruit of meditation) in any moment – even the boring ones, the difficult ones, the crazy ones, the ordinary ones.

So, relax, you already know how to do this. This is part of who you are, but you’ve just been too busy to notice. And you don’t even have to relax – just be who you are right now and you’ll be OK.

Meditation takes this native capacity and gets it into shape just as you would lift weights to get your muscles in shape. Meditation will get your brain in shape (and there is a growing body of evidence to support this).

And as you know, when you lift weights you don’t get into shape instantly. It takes time. Likewise, training your mind will take time to see the benefits of improved concentration, increased appreciation and clarity of your sensory experiences, and an ability to cope with even the most difficult circumstances with ease. There are other benefits as well, such as being less reactive, more engaged, and generally happier.

Look for consideration two next week. I invite your comments.

As always,

Withe blessings and gratitude,



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Colleen

    I agree that we already know how to meditate and be mindfully in the moment. If we practice meditation we can access mindfulness, just as if we practice mindfulness, we can access meditation, for they are one and the same, in my humble perception.

    A big part of mindfulness is acceptance for what is happening in the moment. For me, there are no boring, crazy, or ordinary moments. Sometimes, there are more challenging moments, and I’ve learned that it’s more beneficial to be open to the moment with curiosity and unconditional love, without labeling the moment or the experience. Once we label something, that becomes the reality of our mind, and we try to control it by fitting it into the box as we have labeled it. That is what facilitates the mind chatter…our need to feel in control and organize our life according to our labels. Sometimes some of the most “ordinary” moments, in our preconcieved judgment, can offer some of the most beautiful, insightful experiences. This moment has never “been” before and will never “be” again. The past is gone by, and the future is not yet a reality. This moment is the only one we have, so for me, every moment is special, precious, and I would not give up the opportunity to experience it.

    “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes…”
    (Marcel Proust)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Your Name

    For me, one plus one is two. Often, mindfulness is talked about as though it was as simple as child’s play, which it definitely is not. Once in a while, I appreciate someone giving an example of what is meant by ‘this moment’. Is it today? Or ‘these days’? Or ‘right now’? I’m trying to apply it as often as I can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. My stepfather died last Sunday. Would ‘this moment’ cover how I have been experiencing his death since last Sunday, or only how I have been experiencing his death today?

    I have not really ‘labelled’ his death and put it in a box. Does that mean I am ‘mindful’? Occasionally, something in the past that happened between us enters my mind. Should I turn my back on that because it does not belong to ‘this moment’, or even to ‘the moment from his death last Sunday’? I have been thinking about these bits of things since I was informed of his death.

    I don’t think I have been trying to control my life today according to any labels in connection with my stepfather’s death. To define his passing as something I had control over would be really false. I do notice, though, that by doing my best to be mindful, I am less upset by his death, at times to the point of almost numbness. I am not sure if this is a good sign or not. Or am I just in shock and shold expect ‘the blow’ to come later?

    • Dr. Arnie Kozak

      Thank you, Ella, for your heartfelt sharing; I’m sorry for the loss of your stepfather. The questions you raise are important ones and I’ll attempt to address them. What I typically say, and did in my last post, is that mindfulness IS simple, yet not necessarily easy. That’s an important distinction. In fact, it may be quite hard to be mindful, but what mindfulness is or is not is not complicated. What is this moment? The psychological present is about three seconds long and that could be considered “this moment.” Anything that is happening within those three seconds is part of the landscape of now. Of course, this now occurs in the context of some activity — what is happening now? Driving, walking, daydreaming, meditating, are all activities that can happen now; working, talking, playing, too, whatever is going on. The activity sets the vicinity of this moment. As I just mentioned, whatever is happening now is part of now. Mindfulness is not about excluding some experiences to privilege others. So, of course, the experience of your grief would be included in this moment. The question of mindfulness revolves around the question of awareness. If you are aware that you are thinking of your stepfather, then you are being mindful of a memory, image, feeling related to your step-father. If you are swept away by that memory, image, and feelings and lose touch with your sense of awareness then you are not being mindful in that particular instant. When you recognize where your attention is at then you’ve once again come to mindfulness. Here you have a choice about where you are attention goes. Mindfulness is not about orchestrating what is happening now, rather, it is opening to what is occurring now — approaching it with interest, even if it might be uncomfortable, scary, or painful. This moment can be dull, poignant, or exciting. The practice of mindfulness does not seek to push anything away or pull anything towards. It is about allowing these experiences to come into our field of awareness and to touch them, get close to them, as much as we can. So, the invitation is to be open to whatever unfolds in the grief space of your stepfather. Thanks again for sharing. This issue is important enough that I will post these comments as a separate entry. With blessings and gratitude, Arnie.

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