- Do I need to go on a retreat? No; if you can, it is a great bonus. Most of us don’t have the luxury to go on retreats. This is an accessible practice for everyone. In fact, those who cannot afford to get away are the ones who need the practice the most.
- Do I need to go a mountaintop? No; if you can it is a great bonus to reconnect with nature. Being outside increases sense of well-being for most people.
- Do I need special clothing? No
- Do I need a special teacher? No; there are plenty of free resources online. Check my resources page for free audio and video guided meditation. Buy a book if you like. If you want to dig deeper into the material or understand the spiritual roots, then you read more, attend classes etc. Even that is offered on very affordable, sliding scales by many teachers.
- Do I need to be certified in it? No
- Do I need to go to college or have a college degree to be mindful? No
- Do I need to believe in god or any particular religion? No
- Do I need to be white and blonde? No but if you are that is fine too.– If you want to know why I put this question, look at these two covers of Time Magazine touting the mindful revolution. They are separated by a decade.
- Do I need to practice several hours a day? No
- Do I need to believe in god or follow or convert to any religion? No. but do not appropriate. Do acknowledge and appreciate that all these practices have spiritual roots and those roots belong to folks whose ancestors have passed on the legacy over generations. On behalf of my fellow brown people, I give you permission to use it; after all, it was developed for individual and collective wellbeing. However, don’t act like you own it or created it. Say thanks to those did. Don’t do spiritual bypass or McDonaldize the practice. Above all, decolonize and decapitalize collective resources.
- Do I need to chant OM or any other mantra? No, but you may. Pick any word or even a favorite person’s name and meditate on it to cultivate focus. Or you can do breathing meditation instead of saying Om or any mantra given to you by any teacher.
- So, what the heck must I do? Practice. Remember to be mindful every opportunity you get. When you forget, forgive yourself. Always approach your practice with kindness and curiosity.
- Do I need to practice everyday? Definitely recommended; You must practice regularly and bring an attitude of mindfulness to every moment when you remember. That is key. When you remember, be mindful, i.e. pay attention.
Do you have more questions? Leave a comment, reach out to me.
My research, practice, and teaching is centered on radical change for a better world – both outer and inner worlds. Radical change involves challenging the taken-for-granted fundamental assumptions about our mental models, organizational priorities and social systems. I use mindfulness and contemplative engagement as a methodology for generative change. I am a professor at the New School in New York City.