personal reflections

What’s your mindfulness practice?

Fellow conversation practitioner Steve Byers has been harvesting his insights from his recent learning journey to ALIA Summer Institute. He shared:

One of the most delicious aspects of the recent ALIA Summer Institute  was the twice daily mindfulness practice. Each day, after breakfast, we gathered in a large room to hear teaching from one of the Institute’s faculty, and then to meditate together for 30 minutes. The basic instruction was just to notice what is going on, inside and out. We sat, some of us on cushions on the floor, others on chairs, and noticed. I began my own meditation practice about seven years ago, a few months before beginning my graduate school adventure with OSR (Organization Systems Renewal), in response to a single line from Peter Senge in an ALIA Field Notes article from 2004. The sentence was, “If you don’t have a contemplative practice, get one.”

After a fellow commenter encouraged us to think about the outcome of mindfulness and not get caught up in the form, I responded to Steve with the following:

I too have wanted to cultivate a mindfulness practice and have tried a few different things. Then I realized that mindfulness is one of the many gifts of my yoga practice, and perhaps I don’t need to “do” a separate mindfulness practice I nearly always arrive 15 to 10 minutes before class to sit quietly on my yoga mat to arrive, notice, breathe, and invite home all the bits and pieces of myself that I’ve scattered throughout the day. I select an intention for that practice, something that emerges while I’m sitting quietly. For yin classes it’s often two connected intentions, for other classes one word: lightness, joy, space, love… whatever will serve me well. Then throughout the practice, depending on the style of yoga class – sometimes this is needed more than other classes – I tap into a little teaching from Meg Wheatley, acknowledging “thinking” whenever I’m hooking into thoughts traipsing in my head. It’s enough to bring me back to my breath and to the present.

Another little mindfulness practice I’m going to try is one that Chris Corrigan wrote about recently – how to meditate while leading a workshop.

Breathe in, breathe out…