I’ve been a follower of the web-zine BoingBoing.net for a long time. They’ve turned me on to a lot of cool things, one of which is another blog and recurring podcast, You Are Not So Smart. Back in October, YANSS did an episode on Mindfulness, interviewing author and meditation expert Michael Taft. After an intro that explains how this practice made its way from Eastern religion into American mainstream culture, Taft describes how mindfulness meditation can change our brains for the better, improving our ability to process difficult emotions, handle stress, focus on important tasks, and relate to other people, to name just a few benefits. (Despite the photo, the risks associated with meditating in the middle of a road probably outweigh most of the potential benefits.) Taft has a special interest in explaining meditation and mindfulness in terms of neuroscience, rather than eastern religion, philosophy, and mysticism.
Personally, I have practiced mindfulness meditation only sporadically over the past two years. Yet I can say that I have experienced some of the benefits noted above. I am more aware of the thoughts and emotions passing through my brain, but I also find that I am more able to quiet them, when I need to. After hearing this podcast, I went out and picked up a copy of Taft’s book, called The Mindful Geek, and made a decision to meditate more often and more consistently this year. I am still working on building the habit — never an easy task. I find it difficult to stop in the middle of a busy day — with all sorts of pressing tasks waiting to be completed — in order to just … sit … for 15 minutes. But I am going to keep trying, because I know it helps. If you have any meditation experiences, I would love to hear about them. Please share!