I have recently become quite interested in the topic of mindfulness and meditation. So many highly successful people mention the importance of meditation in their daily routine and the broader topic of mindfulness connects with my logical brain. So I have just finished listening to the great courses lecture series on mindfulness by Professor Mark Muesse.
Like the lecture series reviewed last month on critical thinking (here: http://www.drchrisharper.co.uk/blog/book-review-critical-thinking-lectures), this is the audio recording of 24 lectures given by an American university lecturer. I downloaded this series of lectures hoping that it would provide a good background into this topic so that my initial forays into basic meditation might hopefully be even more successful. Using those standards this has definitely met my expectations, however I haven’t found all of these lectures quite as useful or interesting as the critical thinking lectures.
Mark Muesse gives a good explanation of the basic principles underlying mindfulness predominantly as it is taught by the Buddhist tradition. He also runs through various meditation techniques including breathing control, body scans, walking meditation, mindful eating, mindful driving and ultimately accepting pain, loss and death. In my opinion some of the meditation techniques shown are quite complex for beginners (which it feels like this course is aimed at). Therefore it may be useful to learn about them but at the same time go through further basic guided meditation and revisit those later subjects once you are more experienced. However maybe this “rapid” progression to complex topics is deliberate on the assumption that most people won’t listen to 12 hours of lectures in 10 days like me. If you were to listen to a lecture a week then this pace might seem perfectly appropriate.
Since starting to listen to these lectures I have set myself a goal of partaking in at least 10 minutes of meditation each morning and am testing out various guided meditation apps to get me started on this. I am really enjoying this process and can definitely see why so many successful people make time for it in their routines as well.
Dr Chris Harper