As you begin to practice mindfulness, you may find that you are able to remain calm and focused for only brief periods of time throughout the day. Here’s where the practice of meditation comes in. Learning to meditate, while very beneficial, is not easy, and many find themselves frustrated or view themselves as failures. Trust me, you’re not! We practice meditation because we’re always learning and fine-tuning our skills. Can only sit still for three minutes? OK, so next time shoot for five. Have done thirty minutes in the past but could only meditate for ten minutes today? Fine, at least you did it. Just remember to give it your best every day, with the understanding that some days may be better than others.

Once again, we turn to a lecture series for support and guidance. Mark W. Muesse, Ph.D. is the W. J. Millard Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Rhodes College. He has developed a series of twenty-four thirty minute lectures introducing meditation as the foundational technique for fostering mindfulness. In this lecture series he covers the following topics:

Mindlessness—the default setting
Mindfulness—the power of awareness
Expectations—relinquishing preconceptions
Preparation—taking moral inventory
Position—where to be for meditation
Breathing—finding a focus for attention
Problems—stepping-stones to mindfulness
Body—attending to our physical natures
Mind—working with thoughts
Walking—mindfulness while moving
Consuming—watching what you eat
Driving—staying awake at the wheel
Insight—clearing the mind
Wisdom—seeing the world as it is
Compassion—expressing fundamental kindness
Imperfection—embracing our flaws
Wishing—may all beings be well and happy
Generosity—the joy of giving
Speech—training the tongue
Anger—cooling the fires of irritation
Pain—embracing physical discomfort
Grief—learning to accept loss
Finitude—living in the face of death
Life—putting it all in perspective

Again, this lecture series can be purchased through The Great Courses, which also sells on Amazon, or rented from various libraries.

This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.