As a practitioner of mindfulness and a long time educator of mindfulness meditation, I’ve learned a lot over the years. And I’m still learning – a lot. So it was when I took a bit of time and watched a TED Talk on mindfulness. No matter how much I know, I can always learn more…and I did. Andy Puddicombe’s talk on “All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes” was inspiring and motivational.
In his talk, Andy asks: how long has it been since we stopped and did nothing: no texting, eating, talking, thinking…simply nothing? As he develops his presentation, complete with juggling to emphasize his points, he suggests that 10 minutes of mindful meditation a day (sitting in silence, still and present) can change lives and bring calm and focus. And Andy has had some experience with doing nothing having been a monk in a monastery for several years of his life.
According to a recent issue of Science, the prestigious academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 47% of our time is lost in thought. We lose nearly half of our waking hours being somewhere else besides present. It is time, he suggests, to pause each day to look after our minds and become familiar with our thoughts – our story lines and the words we say over and over to ourselves. And it is possible to do this with a few minutes a day of silence.
While Andy experienced a long engagement with incense, sitting cross-legged and chanting, he assures us that such things are not necessary for meditation! Instead, take 10 minutes a day to simply be in silence and find a new appreciation for the present moment, while learning to be here, now, mindful and present.
My favorite point Andy makes is: we can’t change our experiences but we can change how we experience life. This is the potential of mindfulness and of taking a few minutes each day to sit in silence, doing nothing. We can change the way we experience our lives, our health and our ability to know and understand our minds.
We can also learn how to deal with stress and how to manage distraction and be present to the world we live in.
Where to begin? Simply step back and allow thoughts to come and go, letting go of old beliefs and patterns of thinking that do not serve us any longer. Sitting in silence, doing nothing but “being”, we allow emotions, thoughts and sensations to visit, while noticing how impermanent they are. We continue to come back to “who we are” not what we need to do next or have achieved in the past. We learn to embrace who we are and offer that person a bit of compassion and love.
I, myself, know this to be true: by simply taking 10 minutes a day and committing to silence …to stopping…I am able to become familiar with the present moment and experience more calm, clarity and focus in my life. Worth a try? I think so. Please check out Andy’s TED Talk and set aside a few minutes every day and practice “doing nothing”. It will improve your life, your health, and your well-being. Opinions, experiences, concerns? Please share your “thoughts” – everything is welcome here.
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness mediation, you may find the following resources helpful: