Ah, the old days….strolling through a brick and mortar bookstore and cracking open a book, sampling a paragraph or skimming the Table of Contents. Today, most people use a device, hovering with a twitchy cursor over a potential sale. It’s often a keyword or a catchy phrase in a book title that drives a click.
“Practical Mindfulness” may sound like a clever, oxymoronic title, some irony to catch your attention. “Mindfulness” is rarely associated with practicality, as it is at times framed as nebulous, inscrutable, poorly measurable… anything but “practical.” Practical things are functional, useful, unfussy.
(By the way, the oxygenation that anchors breath meditation can at times reduce the effect of that moronic part… but I digress.)
Nevertheless, practicality has always been the core goal of my writing PM. I’ve engaged meditation practices initially from a stress management/medical approach, and then in my own immersive survey of spiritually based practices. I leaned hard on the basics in coping with multiple recurrences of cancer. I’ve learned some things and have deeply valued the benefits.
This capacity of mindfulness could and should be more available, and its training more simplified and accessible. My own temperamental pet peeve,* at least in self-help non-fiction, is against writing that complicates and clouds understanding for the sake of germinating some unnecessary sense of mystique.
So, yes, my aim is teaching mindfulness and meditation, in concepts and practices, as practically as I can. Not dumbed down, but laid out with a minimum of unnecessary elaboration. I hope that lowers the bar to get a practice going. That goes for anyone interested in mindfulness, but especially for the curious but “mystically skeptical,” and for the hard-boiled rationalists (looking at you, my fellow physicians and teachers) to use yourselves and recommend to patients and students.
Thanks, and stay safe, friends. GCS
*My peeve has been spayed but is still occasionally surly. Please do not pet the peeve. Thanks.
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