MY NAME IS JULIA BATES AND I WOULD LIKE TO HELP GIVE SOME INSIGHTS INTO LIVING MINDFULLY. SO YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHY ME AND WHY NOW.
First, let me tell you why me. I found a book on yoga and meditation when I was 17 ( many many years ago). I read it and followed it the best I could. This is pre-internet age and there was no meditation community in my little town of Bangor, Maine. After I moved to San Antonio, I still couldn’t find anyone who practiced meditation the way I understood it worked best for me. There are a lot of ways to practice meditation. I didn’t feel like chanting in another language as well as other practices I found not authentic to me. Although many people do find it relevant to their experience, so you do you. For 30 years I had a sporadic silent practice that I didn’t talk about. Mostly about 10 -15 minutes of paying attention to my breath going in and out by myself. I found it really helped me stay calm when things around me seemed out of control. The more stressful my life was, the more time I spent in this silent practice. When life was busy and easy, I didn’t practice at all.
This routine worked for me until my daughter became very ill. The internet was now a thing, so I went in search of how to help me and her. She has an autonomic nervous system disorder. Meditation affects the autonomic nervous system, quieting the sympathetic nervous system. It seemed like a good idea to teach her how to have some control over some of her symptoms. I took some online classes, ordered and read books. I practiced using guided meditations, not in silence like was used to. I found I loved a type of meditation that guides you with compassion and common sense. This is how I view Mindfulness as a practice.
Mindfulness is quite simple, pay attention to your breath and as your attention wanders from the breath once you notice it just bring your attention back. Easy, right! Well yes and no, as you may have figured out in life the most simplistic of practices are usually very complicated. But not so complicated as to keep you from getting a lot out of it. Just complicated enough to know you will grow with this practice and never get bored.
Over the next few posts we’ll cover the basics and then get into it a little deeper.