“Stop the clock, I’ve got to slow down!” It is 6:30 am, you fly out of bed, shower, dress, gulp down a coffee and you’re out the door thirty minutes later. You can’t believe your luck, as you’ve found a parking spot two blocks from the subway station, where you make a mad dash to the station.
You practically fly down the stairs to the platform, where you are greeted with a sea of frustrated and sweaty passengers, crammed together like sardines due to a ten-minute train delay.
You, along with many other angry Toronto Transit riders squeeze onto the packed train, where you hear a voice who could be described as a morose-sounding Ray Romano say that “Due to an emergency alarm being activated, we will be holding until further notice.”
It occurs on a sweltering thirty-degree day, where you have the good fortune of standing in a (train) car that is not air-conditioned. You begin to grind your teeth, check your watch up-teen times and do your best not to shout obscenities at the conductor, who is most likely sitting comfortably in one of the few air-conditioned train cars.
Avoiding eye contact at all cost, you stare at the posters above, with headlines offering medical training at one of the private colleges, or a new telecom company selling monthly phone plans at bargain rates. You are stressed with a capital “T,” and your only concern is getting to work on time.
You notice an advertisement for mindfulness meditation. You relax slightly, with the soft green colors and soothing image of smooth stones in a rippling stream. “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.”
“The term ‘mindfulness’ is a translation of the Pali term sati, which is a significant element of Buddhist traditions.”
Jon Kabat Zinn is an author who has written many successful books on Mindfulness such as “Full Catastrophe Living” and “Wherever You Go, There You Are.”
He is also the “creator of the research-backed stress-reduction program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction [MBSR], where he “explains how mindfulness lights up parts of our brains that aren’t normally activated when we’re mindlessly running on autopilot.”
Kabat-Zinn discusses Mindfulness in philosophical terms, but to pose the question of who are “we,” or who am “I,” is really existential. It is about allowing oneself to breathe in and out, letting go all the stresses of daily life, if even for fifteen minutes a day.
In a video series, Jon discusses the 9 meditation tips to cultivate mindfulness:
1 “Introduction to the attitudes”
4 “beginners mind”
6 “non-doing” or “non-striving”
7 “letting go”
8 “gratitude and generosity”
This series is available through www.themindfulnesssummit.com and there is much information online about this practice, which helps with staying centered and calm, as we lead intensely busy lives.