During the month of February, challenge yourself to participate in MMC’s 28-day meditation program. It’s simple: Commit to meditating each day and connect online to share experiences – pleasant, difficult or otherwise. We will follow the meditation program outlined in Sharon Salzberg’s book, “Real Happiness.” This blog will be your guide, including links to helpful Web sites and guided meditations. Meditation can help with overall wellness, pain, stress, anxiety, sleep and concentration. This is your opportunity to start a new practice to enhance your wellbeing or to continue your practice in the company of your fellow Griffins.

Sign up with the form below and to the right and check back here often.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Week 1: Concentration 

Ever lost track of time while you've been glued to your smart phone? Ever polished off the entire bag of chips yourself without even noticing what you were doing? Ever found your mind jumping from one thing to another when you're trying to do your homework?
You are not alone!
Our scattered minds are a hazard of our modern world and busy lives. But if we could steady our minds and refocus our attention, we could re-collect all that lost energy and feel restored.

The first week of the Real Happiness program focuses on exercising the skill of concentration, which helps us stabilize our attention.
Distractions are both internal and external. Internal ones often focus on regret about things that happened in the past ("I shouldn't have said (or done)  ...") , postponements of happiness ("I can't wait until I graduate, then I'll be able to ...") or fantasies about a future that may never happen ("If I don't get a good grade in this class, then I'll never get into graduate school). And of course, all the emotional upheaval that comes along with such thinking.
Distractions are also external: social media, movies and TV, roommates and friends, school work, jobs, family, marketing and consumerism.
The effect of all this distraction is a feeling of fragmentation or being un-centered and often, overwhelmed.
By practicing the skill of concentration, we develop the ability to be aware in the present moment and make choices about how and when we spend our energies and to reclaim some of those fragmented pieces of our selves.

This week's practice
This week you will begin to learn to use concentration to focus your attention. The first thing you're going to concentrate on is your breath (see instructions in yesterday's post and/or follow guided meditation links to the right). When you do this, most likely you will immediately notice that your attention scatters, that it's hard to concentrate. That's right! The exercise is to notice when your focus wanders and gently return it to the breath. Over and over and over. That's the muscle your developing.

I've posted a new link at the right to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. It contains audio of several different guided meditations you can use to help you. Try the 5-minute-long "breathing meditation" and the 19-minute "complete meditation instructions."

What do you think?
Why am I doing this? I have a million other things I need to do right now, what am I doing sitting here just breathing? How is this going to help with anything? I can't do it. I can't sit still. I'm doing this wrong. This is great.
Let's hear it!

No comments:

Post a Comment