Studies keep coming out trialing mindfulness meditation as a psychological intervention component for a range of disorders and problems. About time: counselors had already been using mindfulness before any actual emprical evidence was ever out there. But hey, does that ever stop anyone?
I have participated in some of this, in practice and in research. So, I have carried out a pretty good reading plan on this. And thought about it a pretty good amt. when I was practicing regularly, in the course of guiding patients through the practice, I noticed that I slept better, and had a lower desire for coffee in the morning. And, we had a holding-the-breath-while under-water contest, and I was able to really simply observe the panicky suffocation thoughts and remain underwater, and allowing my need for oxygen, rathe than the prompting of panic, to send me back above the water line, winning the contest. So, I am certainly willing to believe there is something there.
Mindfulness essentially is a matter of getting to become increasingly aware of what your mind does by paying steady attention to what it is doing. Sounds easy. Well, you try it. It is like walking an energetic pup with no leash.
Also, you want to get attention focused on some specific thing, and that only. Usually, it is the activity of breathing. This works. You become more aware of how thoughts flow into your mind, and have their effects on your viscera.
A goal is to have your attention simply in the present moment. with practice, you will discover that your mind is almost never in the present moment - our minds are so awesome, they have to devote minimal attention to keep us in line with social interactions, navigation, and routines. So, it is a new thing to put deliberate attention in the moment.
Not reflecting on some argument from yesterday, or some pleasant memory from eight years ago, or worrying about the weekend to come, or looking forward to 5 o'clock quittin' time. In the present.
Well, it occurred to me: if you do this well enough, music would lose its music-ness, wouldn't it?
Music depends on acoustic events occurring in some purposeful arrangement in time. Right?
So, if you ceased having your mind on the past, the music-ness of music would disappear. Right?
One way to practice focused meditation is to pay attention to ambient noises. This is striking: you discover a whole panoply of noises all around. You can hardly identify and catalog them all, can hardly be aware of all of the current, momentary noises occurring in a moment.
I sure have not been able to get the music to stop. I have never heard of any yogi describing this as an experience or a goal. Please post a note if you have.
Also, it is curious that a lot of the faux-riental meditation-based experiences (yoga, or shopping at a crystal boutique) have the typical Steve Halpern or Deuter music. If your mind is supposed to be "focused" in the moment, then why are these people providing sensory input that commands attention to follow along in time? Would it not be the same to ask someone to meditate, and expect that a car rushing toward them would be helpful to not think about the next 10 seconds, but to stay in the moment?
I just don't know.
[warning: you can either focus your mind on something, or focus your mind on nothing; i really believe, based on case reports and such, that focusing your mind on nothing can be mentally bad, such as inducing psychosis, and leaving you disorganized for months afterward; I see no reason to try this at all, and I would avoid any meditation effort that has a mind full of nothingness as a goal. Others will disagree. Go enter meditation and psychosis into Pubmed and start reading.]