Getting Started with Mindfulness Meditation
There are several apps that can help you get your meditation practice started.
I have been using Insight Timer for several months. There are two versions: one that’s free and the upgraded $2.99 version, which is the one I use. The app offers more than 75 guided meditations of varying types and lengths. The stats feature helps you keep track of how many days you have been meditating, and you are awarded “Milestones” once you complete a certain number of consecutive days of meditation. You can also connect with friends and other meditators throughout the world using the app.
I just recently started using the Headspace daily mindfulness meditation program on the recommendation of a friend, and I like its down-to-earth, easy meditation instructions. They have a free 10-day package, and then you subscribe to access the rest of their content.
Learning about Mindfulness Meditation
Some of my favorite books that offer an introduction to the practice of mindfulness meditation include:
Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
In my Aha! Moment about this book I describe how incredibly useful this book was to me.
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening by Joseph Goldstein
I’m currently reading this book for a year-long meditation study group. I like how it explains the Buddhist philosophy and teachings that provide the foundation for the non-secular mindfulness meditation described in Full Catastrophe Living.
10% Happier by Dan Harris
Part engaging memoir, part self-help book, 10% Happier is an honest and entertaining account of Harris’ somewhat accidental foray into the world of mindfulness and how it ended up changing his life. I love this book because it helped me understand how to apply mindfulness in everyday life (which I admit, can be rather challenging), not just when I’m sitting on the meditation cushion. Harris, who is a TV news anchor, narrates the Audible version of the book in such a compelling and authentic way that I have listened to it at least twice. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the practical use and benefits of mindfulness.
Mindfulness and Gratitude
One of my favorite TED Talks is David Steindl-Rast’s “Want to be happy? Be grateful.” In it, he discusses the intersection of mindfulness, gratefulness, and happiness:
“Opportunity is the gift within every gift, and we have this saying, opportunity knocks only once. Well, think again. Every moment is a new gift, over and over again, and if you miss the opportunity of this moment, another moment is given to us, and another moment. We can avail ourselves of this opportunity, or we can miss it, and if we avail ourselves of the opportunity, it is the key to happiness. Behold the master key to our happiness in our own hands. Moment by moment, we can be grateful for this gift.