I've read a couple books by Thich Nhat Hanh now, and I consider him to be brilliant and inspiring teacher. This CD (which I thought was an audiobook) is actually excerpts from a series of lectures he gave during a retreat. On the first disc, he offers a few meditation techniques that are easy to incorporate to a regular practice. And on the second, he talks in more detail about the benefits of meditation and how to be mindful during daily life, especially with loved ones. The version I listened to did not include any music from the monks at Plum Village or videos, as I see some of the other versions do.
The longer I maintain a meditation practice and the more I focus on trying to be mindful, the more I hear about it. At the TEDxColumbusWomen conference last week, one of the speakers talked about using mindfulness to control the body monitoring that women do an average of every 30 seconds. Mindfulness is an important part of cognitive behavioral therapy, to help you understand your feelings and reactions by first observing them without judgement. During a recent keynote speech at a marketing conference, Arianna Huffington talked about being so overworked and under-rested that she collapsed in her office, as a result of which she made some lifestyle changes that included mindfulness. She went on to promote a session she was doing as part of Oprah and Deepak Chopra's online meditation series, which included Kobe Bryant talking about the importance of meditation. Even my health insurance company is pushing mindfulness and meditation as stress-reduction techniques.
I think it's wonderful that living mindfully is becoming not only accepted, but encouraged in the US. If we all take some time to breathe, clear our minds, and reflect upon ourselves and our interactions with others, we can all be a bit happier and get along better. It's worked for me. I'm not exactly a Zen master, but I feel calmer and happier than I used to. I'm more patient, both with myself and with other people. I try to focus on being generous. And when I'm not being my best self, I find myself more able to step back, recognize what I'm doing, forgive myself for it, and start over.
Meditation's not hard. If you're looking for a place to get started, listening to Thich Nhat Hanh speak on The Art of Mindful Living is a great option.
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