You couldn't have chosen a more exciting time to discover meditation, the path to mindfulness and a happier life.
It seems that everyone is meditating these days, from publishing moguls like Rupert Murdoch to the Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. Some are even calling it "The Mindfulness Revolution."
It's now more than 10 years since the original publication of my book, 8 Minute Meditation. Meditation has come a long way from Zen monks sitting and staring at white walls in silence. The decade has been nothing short of transformational, exciting and revolutionary for the practice of meditation to develop mindfulness.
Meditation and mindfulness have gone mainstream, featured in magazines like Fortune, Forbes, Vogue, The New York Times and Huffington Post, and are instantly available on your mobile device. It seems not a day goes by where you won't see meditation mentioned in the media somewhere and in some context — not as something flaky, eccentric, or countercultural, but as something totally American.
Why? Because the more focused and present you are, the happier and less stressed you can be.
Meditation is now taught everywhere, from grade schools to medical schools. Entertainers like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres meditate before they perform. It's also being used by institutions as diverse as Procter & Gamble and the US Marine Corps. But meditation is not just for celebrities, CEOs and professional athletes. Meditation and its resultant mindfulness are incredible tools that can be applied in every walk of life — including yours.
Meditation and mindfulness are now part of the American culture, offering a path to better health, productivity, creativity and physical and mental health.
Right now, you're probably eager to start practicing mindfulness, so let's explore the skills you're going to develop. Doing so may give you ideas of your own, as to how to utilize meditation and apply it to your own life.
Let's begin with meditation.
Meditation: The Portal To Mindfulness
In my opinion, meditation is the simplest, most powerful tool ever devised for the cultivation of mindfulness. It is indeed the "portal" to mindfulness.
While it might be possible to develop mindfulness without a meditation practice, it certainly would be the hard way, kind of like learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Training wheels, as we know, let you learn to ride with a minimum of scraped knees and frustration. So think of meditation as "training wheels for your mind" that will allow you to optimally develop mindfulness.
A Definition Of Meditation: "Allowing What Is"
Legend has it that the Buddha taught 83,000 methods of meditation. That may or may not be true, but the bottom line is that, if he did, those 83,000 instructions would probably have included "Allow what is." For it is this allowing that makes it possible to connect with mindfulness.
How to Allow?
Meditation affords you a constant opportunity to allow what is. Each 8 Minute Meditation technique is designed to help you develop this skill. When you meditate, even for 8 minutes, you reinforce the practice of allowing anything and everything that arises in your mind and body to do so, without intervening, judging, or manipulating it.
Note that allowing "what is" is not something you do once and then you're done; allowing what is is a skill developed by repetition. That's why meditation is called a "practice." Why is this? Why does the mind have such difficulty accepting and allowing what is?
The answer might be found by taking a look at what your mind thinks is its job: to alleviate your unhappiness and suffering. To accomplish this, your mind will manipulate, cajole, intimidate — in short, do whatever needs to be done to make you happy. This constant thinking, judging, and evaluating is known as "mind-made reality." Of course, it never really does the trick, because there's only so much you can do to mentally control and manipulate the world to the perfect state you think you desire.
So how do you achieve real happiness? Like I've said: Allow what is.
8 Minute Meditation comes with a set of "Operating Instructions." And perhaps the most important one is "allow, allow, allow," a variation of the first rule of real estate: location, location, location. Make "allow, allow, allow" your mantra (slogan) and you will change your life.
Excerpted from 8 Minute Meditation Expanded: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life. by Victor Davich. © 2004, 2014 Victor Davich. A Perigee Book, Penguin Group USA, A Penguin Random House Company.