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What are you aiming for with meditation?  

A meditation goal is not an oxymoron.

Meditation goals can help you come up with a sustainable plan. They need to be personal enough to motivate you to practice, but the day-to-day emphasis needs to remain on the process.

It’s like coming up with a physical fitness routine. First you need to decide what you want to develop. Then you need to come up with exercises and activities that develop them. Once you’ve designed your physical workout program, all of your energy needs to be directed toward following through with your fitness program. 

  • If you’re lifting weights to build muscular strength, the emphasis is on each repetition and set.
     
  • If you’re stretching, you work on holding each stretch until the timer runs down.
     
  • If you’re swimming, it’s all about getting absorbed by the rhythm of the body’s movements as you tick off the laps.

When it comes to meditation, it can be useful to identify the capacities you want to build and the exercises you’ll explore to work on them over time.

  • If you want to improve your ability to focus, pick exercises that have you gently steer your attention back to a particular sensation for a predetermined duration.
     
  • If you want to get better at relaxing, find exercises designed to help you detect and savor restful sensations.
     
  • If you want to become more intimately familiar with your real-time emotions, consistently set aside time to observe yourself responding to a variety of emotional triggers without interfering with your reactions.

With both physical and attentional fitness, the only way to make progress towards a goal is to keep doing the exercises you decided to do.

Maybe the most beneficial meditation goal of all would be to fall in love with the process—to inhabit it so completely for its own sake that the need to reach any of your goals quietly withers away.  

I'm sharing my approach to cultivating internal friendliness on Sat., April 13 at 11:00 am EDT as part of the free, 5-day, online mindfulness meditation retreat hosted by Unified Mindfulness.  You can check out the schedule before deciding to register. 

Recent attention grabbers

  • The Latest in Military Strategy: Mindfulness

    "The science shows that techniques that focus and calm the mind allow people to perform better and make them less likely to overreact to incoming stimulation — whether a flash of movement, sound or an onslaught of information on a device."
     
  • Ignoring Your Emotions Is Bad for Your Health

    "Most people are ruled by their emotions without any awareness that this is happening. But once you realize the power of emotions, simply acknowledging your own can help greatly."
     
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Unfollowing Almost Everybody

    From David Cain: "In a last-ditch effort to enjoy my social media experience again, I unfollowed 90% of my Twitter feed—and I think it worked...I unfollowed everybody except accounts who produce tweets I almost always want to see. This is not the same as following people and businesses you like. That was a big discovery for me: simply liking someone or something isn’t a good reason to follow them on Twitter."
     
  • The Right Way to Follow Your Passion

    Brad Stulberg: "Being passionate about—or, perhaps better put, a slave to—the achievement of an external result that you cannot control creates a volatile and fragile sense of self. The consequences are often disastrous."
     
  • Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)

    "We must realize that, at its core, procrastination is about emotions, not productivity. The solution doesn’t involve downloading a time management app or learning new strategies for self-control. It has to do with managing our emotions in a new way...We have to find a better reward than avoidance—one that can relieve our challenging feelings in the present moment without causing harm to our future selves."

  • Life Beyond the Mind

    On Being conversation with Eckhart Tolle: “There is a place inside me that is far more powerful than the continuous mental noise.”

Workshops and practice sessions

Falling in Love with Your Life
Friday, Apr. 12, 2019, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Mount Carmel St. Ann's

Just as with physical exercise, it's important to keep mindfulness practice as interesting and fun as possible. This means building a sense of play and wonder into our efforts. This workshop invites you to consider your relationship with entertainment and boredom. Instead of waiting for the present to wow us, we can develop a greater capacity for finding the extraordinary hiding in plain sight in and around us. Call 614-234-5433 to register.​

Exercising Internal Friendliness
Saturday, April 13, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (EDT)

My contribution to IMMERSION 2019 – the free online mindfulness meditation retreat hosted by Unified Mindfulness

Mindfulness Practice Group
Thursdays, May 9 through July 18, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Mount Carmel Healthy Living Center 

This free mindfulness practice series is sponsored by Mount Carmel Health is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness with others, compare notes, and ask questions. Note: No practice on July 4. Call 614-234-5433 to register. 

Come Back to Your Senses with Mindful Walking
Saturday, May 18, 2019, 9:00 Am to 11:00 AM

Walking is a great way to improve your physical and emotional health. It also has the potential to provide a break from ruminating. When we head outdoors, however, our attention tends to stay anchored in our heads. In this free workshop sponsored by Mount Carmel Health, you'll learn simple focus strategies and try them out in the beautiful Sharon Woods Metro Park (Schrock Lake Picnic Area). Call 614-234-5433 to register. 

Mindfulness Strategies for Insomnia & Worry, Amelita Mirolo Barn
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 6:30 PM  – 8:30 PM

Explore how your habits for relating to emotional discomfort and uncertainty reinforce worry and insomnia. Learn Jedi moves for calling off internal battles and setting the stage for getting more rest. Register online or call (614) 583-5331.

Saturday Morning Retreat: Find Rest in the Unrest with Mindfulness
June 8, 2019, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Amelita Mirolo Barn

Unplug. Recharge. Learn mindfulness exercises that help you discover the natural restful states available throughout every ordinary day. We all have the capacity to get better at recognizing and taking advantage of these hidden windows of opportunity whether a particular situation is quiet or not. Register online or call (614) 583-5331.

Check me out! Literally. I volunteered to be a "human book" for the Delaware County District Library's Human Library event on Saturday, April 20, 2019. 

Ongoing Practice Sessions

If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area, I hope you'll check out the free practice sessions I host in my home. They're usually the first three Wednesdays of every month, but please check my website for exceptions.

Upcoming practice session dates: 

  • April 10, 17
  • May 1, 8, 15

Sessions include guided exercises, practice in silence, and discussion. All experience levels and meditation strategies are welcome.

Email or call (614) 284-9618 for address and parking details. 

If you enjoy this newsletter and think your friends might, too, share it here.

Keep in touch between newsletters:

Take care,

Daron

PS Check out a few of the seconds from my 52nd year. 

Copyright © 2019 Attentional Fitness Training, All rights reserved.


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