Mindfulness and Meditation for the Uncertain Mind
by Rufo Sanchez
In recent years, mindfulness and meditation have both become capital-B Buzzwords. It’s hard to read anything about mental health or “wellness” without a mention, and meditation apps and services are a dime a dozen. Are you curious what they mean?… but also not really sure if they’re for you, or worried they’re for hippies or otherwise, y’know, not actually real?
Trust me, I wondered the same thing. In this talk, we’ll go over what mindfulness and meditation can be: effective tools to help observe the emotional reactions and thought patterns that rule our day - and our interactions with other humans - without us even realizing it. We’ll cover the basics in an objective, non-judgmental way, you’ll finally figure out what mindfulness and meditation are, and you’ll come away with resources to start becoming more mindful in your own life.
The list here is by absolutely no means exhaustive, but links to resources I’ve either found helpful or heave heard are great for others. If you have others you think would be good, please feel free to drop me a line or open a PR
Some quick science links
- Sara Lazar, Ph.D.
- Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain - The Washington Post
A few books
- 10% Happier, by Dan Harris - a little more about how Dan came to meditate, a little less how-to
- Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, by Dan Harris, Jeff Warren and Carlye Adler - more on the how to
- Real Happiness, by Sharon Salzberg - written by an incredibly experienced teacher
All of the above books have great references too. I’d also look through Sharon Salzburg’s other books, and Joseph Goldstein is another well-regarded author whose talks I enjoyed.
While you don’t need an app, and the commercialization of something that is at its most basic is free and very easy gives me pause, they can be a great way to get started and get exposed to a variety of different meditation types. The two I’ve used are Headspace and 10% Happier. Headspace has a great introduction to meditation, and most of their content is read by cofounder Andy Puddicombe, so it’s fairly consistent. 10% Happier on the other hand takes the approach of collecting meditations from a wide variety of teachers, often collected into courses that have brief interviews or talks between the teacher and Dan talking about something mindful.
Both of the above apps are subscription-based, so it’s worth trying them out and seeing what you prefer. If you want something free, Insight Timer is a choice I’ve used in the past just for a meditation timer but also has many free guided meditations. Other apps I haven’t tried: Calm, Oak.
One of my co-presenters on the RailsConf 2019 self-care track Amy Newell presented a talk on suffering that talked about Tara Brach's RAIN mindfulness meditation technique; I'll add a link to the talk here once videos are posted. (Also, check out the other talks on the self-care track!)
I really enjoy the writings of David Cain at Raptitude, discussing the effects of mindfulness on your day to day life. Some example posts:
- How Mindfulness Creates Freedom
- Don’t Forget How Strange This All Is
- The Only Thing You Need to Get Good At
- Waterfall picture Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash
- Photo of me by Jarkko Laine, CC-BY-2.0 Caboose table | Caboose table during DHH’s keynote | Jarkko Laine | Flickr Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0
- No entry sign public domain, wikipedia No symbol - Wikipedia
- M&M talk Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash