Articles on Mindfulness
Read these for yourself, then pass them along to your friends. You’ll be amazed at the clarity of these explanations.
They are the best of journalism, crisp, clear, without a lot of assumptions about what the reader already knows.
Accepting Fears, Wall Street Journal, 1/2/11 – Melinda Beck writes about the use of mindfulness and acceptance in mental health and personal growth.
Mastering Your Own Mind, Psychology Today, 9/06 – A nice primer on why meditation and mindfulness matter. Opens with, “Distracted? Angry? Envious? There’s growing evidence that attention, emotion regulation –even love– are skills that can be trained through the practice of meditation. Perhps it’s time for you to become a high-performance user of your own brain.”
Lotus Therapy, New York Times, 5/27/08 – beautiful article on a variety of paths to mindfulness.
The Art of Now, Psychology Today, Nov-Dec, 2008 – starts with this bit of knowledge that often comes with mindfulness: you are not your thoughts. Offers concrete guidelines on how to use this awareness to better your life.
A Simple Turning in Place, by Joseph Goldstein, Insight Journal, Winter 09 – Goldstein describes his initial (discouraging) attempts at meditating, and his eventual growth in this practice. Even masters have to start somewhere!
Yes I Suck: Self-Help Through Negative Thinking, Time Magazine, 7/9/09 – Many of us have at one time or another believed that it’s better to avoid negative thoughts. Martin Seligman has proposed that people should just think optimistically. But this bit of research refutes that, supporting a major premise of mindfulness, namely that running away from thoughts doesn’t work, that learning to be with them does work. Comments on this research are also available here, and here.
Sit Every Day, Shambhala Sun, magazine website – graciously examines why it is so hard to sit (meditate) regularly, why it matters that we do, and how do be more effective at having a daily (almost) practice.
Brief Meditative Exercise Helps Cognition, Science Daily, 4/19/10 – “Some of us need regular amounts of coffee or other chemical enhancers to make us cognitively sharper. A newly published study suggests perhaps a brief bit of meditation would prepare us just as well.”
Mind the Grid, New York Times, 8/31/10 – One person’s experience with a meditation retreat.
Regimens: Meditation, for the Mind and the Heart, New York Times, 11/24/09 – cites research that meditation can be heart healthy.
We Don’t Surrender Until We Have To, New York Times, 10/2/09 – the story of a journalist and a quadriplegic. “I went home with nothing particularly resolved, but happier than I’d been in years.”
On Becoming a Person: The Good Life and the Fully Functioning Person, Carl Rogers (1953) – a prescient description of the value of being fully open to experience in order to be a well developed person.
Finding Daylight: Mindful Recovery from Depression, Zindel Segal in Psychotherapy Networker, Jan-Feb 08 – An explanation of mindfulness teaching for therapists. The first paragraph is a gem; read it several times.
How Mindfulness Can Make for Better Doctors, New York Times, 10/15/09 – Doctors, like many of us, have to multi-task. When attention is all over, mistakes can happen.
In the Classroom, A New Focus on Quieting the Mind, New York Times, 6/16/07 – Children learn more when they are calm.
Can You Become a Creature of New Habits? New York Times, 5/4/08 – learning mindfulness meditation means learning a new habit. This explores some of the factors that make change difficult, and some that make it easier.
At End-Of-The-Line Prison, An Unlikely Escape, NPR, 2/8/11, by Debbie Elliott – In a prison for the most hardened criminals, mindfulness meditation is taught, and – amazingly – prisoners are responding.
Hazy Recall as a Signal Foretelling Depression, New York Times, 5/9/11 by Alastair Gee – Describes research by MBCT co-creator Mark Williams. Over-general memory, a clinical name for hazy recall, looks like this. If you ask a person for a specific memory (something less than a day, say) about going out for dinner, and the person responds, “Dinners always bore me,” that may be an over-general memory. The article is a bit heady, but makes an interesting connection between this and how mindfulness can help.
Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges, New York Times, 2/28/11 by Tara Parker-Pope – discussion of the importance of compassion for the self. Compassion is increasingly part of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and other mindfulness-based trainings.
And a few books…
There are also several key books I recommend.
The Mindful Way Through Depression, Mark Williams et al – The definitive text on the content of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. While it was developed for prevention of recurring depression, I have found the book very helpful for those with anxiety and negative thinking, as well.
Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh – a short, easy read. Really lucid. Basic mindfulness in life presented by a great teacher.
And sources for dharma talks (teachings)
Dharma Seed and Audio Dharma Talks You can choose from many talks here, and listen to them on your computer, free of charge.