The short sit

Buddha camI have a lot of experience with running and some with meditation. So I found two recent articles about shorter forms of both activities pretty interesting. It’s not about gaming a system but what is most effective. My post on running is just below this one.

Here’re some interesting points from a NYT article called “More Mindfulness, Less Meditation.”

The first point is that, “In the modern world, meditation is far more effective as a technique of self-management than as a means of personal transformation, much less enlightenment.”

The second point is that, “Mindfulness is a specific type of meditative practice of watching one’s thoughts, feelings and sensations as they arise and pass, without becoming caught up in them. By building the capacity to witness one’s own experience without attachment or reactivity one slowly begins to see through the illusion of permanence and separateness.”

“The problem with mindfulness as a starting place is that it’s an advanced practice. In traditional teaching, students first learned to stabilize their attention concentration meditation. Concentration involves focusing on a single object of attention, such as the breath. Only when students learned to reliably quiet their minds – a process that often took years of practice – was the more subtle and advanced practice mindfulness introduced.”

…” concentration meditation is a simpler and more reliable way than mindfulness to build control of one’s attention, quiet down and relax – especially so for those in the early stages of meditating.

… “don’t assume more is better.

“Mindfulness practice has its benefits,” says author Catherine Ingram” “but in my case, after 17 years of practice, there came a point when mentally noting my breath, thoughts and sensations became wearisome, a sense of always having homework and of constantly chopping reality into little bits.”

“Even a few minutes of sitting quietly and following the breath goes a long way. I’ve found it especially effective to breathe in to a count of three and out to a count of six – effectively extending the outbreath and deepening the experience of relaxation. Counting is also an effective object of attention, and therefore enhances concentration.”

I’ve also found that it’s more practical to truly focus and relax for a minute or two several times a day than to meditate for a long period and constantly battle with distraction along the way.