Zindel Segal’s latest book, The Mindful Way Workbook; was recently published. The Centre will be celebrating with a book launch on April 3rd. Copies will be available for purchase at the Centre after the launch. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy a sneak peek at an excerpt from the book below.
Some Tips for Sustaining a Daily Formal Mindfulness Practice
Do some practice, no matter how brief, every day.
The “everydayness” of practice is hugely important as a way to keep mindfulness fresh, available, ready for you whenever you need it most—because you never know when that will be!
Internationally respected meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein recommends that his students sit down to meditate every day—even if only for ten seconds. Experience suggests that, most often, those ten seconds will be enough to encourage you to sit longer.
If at all possible, do the practice at the same time, in the same place, each day.
That way mindfulness gets built into the very fabric of your daily routine. Then, just as with brushing your teeth, you don’t have to ponder whether to do it or not—you do it because that’s what you always do at that point in your routine.
View practice like caring for a plant.
Give it a little water each day rather than a bucketful every month! Just as with a plant, nurturing your practice with consistent care and attention will allow it to grow and its natural potential for loveliness to unfold.
See practice as a way to nourish yourself, rather than another thing on your “to do” list.
Remember that the practice won’t always feel nourishing—as much as you can, let the practice be as it is, letting go of your ideas of how it should be or of regarding it as part of a “project” of self-improvement.
Explore ways to inspire and reinspire yourself to practice.
Reread this workbook from time to time. Read other related books or listen to talks and guided meditations on the Internet (see the Resources for suggestions).
Explore ways to practice with other people.
Practicing regularly with others—in what is often called a “sitting group”—is one of the most powerful ways to keep your practice vital and alive. If you learned MBCT with a group, look out for opportunities for reunions and practice days. Everyone can benefit from finding a mindfulness “buddy” with whom to practice and share experiences from time to time. Even if it’s only one person, joining with others to practice and share experiences is hugely, and often surprisingly, supportive.
Remember, you can always begin again.
The essence of mindfulness practice is letting go of the past and starting afresh in each new moment (as you’ve already practiced many, many times in coming back to the breath when the mind has wandered). In the same way, if you find that you haven’t practiced for a while, rather than criticizing yourself or ruminating about why, just begin again, right there and then, by taking a three-minute breathing space.