As part of the Leadership Coaching process I interviewed the individual, their manager, peers, etc. With this particular coaching client I learned he credited his calmness to his meditation practice.
- There’s more to meditation than sitting in the lotus position and chanting. Read an instructive meditation book, listen to a CD or take a beginner’s class to learn some basic techniques for being in the moment.
- With meditation, like anything else, practice makes perfect. Try to carve out 10-20 minutes a day to meditate. If possible do it the same time of day (early morning, noon, before bed, etc.).
- In the beginning, it can be difficult to keep your mind from wondering. Guided meditation, whether on a CD or in a group sitting, can help you keep your mind focused and in the moment. It will also help you get used to meditating longer.
- When I worked at University of Massachusetts at Boston, I took a Mindfulness program taught by the Mind Body Institute. I found that beginning with doing a walking meditation was a great way to introduce myself to the process of meditation.
Walking Meditation: How to start:
- Before starting to walk, spend a little time while still standing still. Allow your awareness to be with your body. Take some deep breaths, inhaling deep into the belly. Put your full attention on the sensation of breathing. Then allow the breath to return to normal and notice it going on its own for a little while.
- Now bring your awareness to your body, noticing how your body feels as you are standing, and becoming aware of all the sensations going on in your body. Now begin walking. Walk at a relaxed, fairly slow but normal pace. Pay attention to the sensations in your body as you walk.
- It is natural to find your attention drawn to the sights around you as you walk, but keep bringing your attention to what is going on internally. The idea is to have your attention on the physical experience of walking. If the mind starts getting caught up in thoughts, easily bring your attention back to the experience of walking.
- Notice how the soles of your feet feel — the contact they make with your socks or shoes, the textures of the fabrics touching them, the way they feel as they bear the weight of your body and the sensations in them as your walk along. Feel the entire foot, being aware of how it moves as the heel is placed on the ground, and then the movement rolls to the ball of the foot and toes. Notice how it feels as the foot lifts and moves forward. Allow your awareness to move up through every part of the body, noticing the sensations as you walk. Gradually scan all parts of your body as you bring your attention to the ankles, skins, calves, knees, thighs, hips, pelvis, back, chest, shoulders, arms, neck, head. When you become aware of tension anywhere in the body, let it go.
As 2015 begins, I challenge you to think about how you are perceived by others and if there may be room in your professional or personal life for more mindfulness or meditation.
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