With roots in Buddhist meditation, Mindfulness has carved an impressive foothold in our urban society. Since the development of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program by Psychologist Jon Kabat Zinn, mindfulness has become a household name.
There are numerous secular and religious based centers where you can develop your practice throughout the city. These meditation sittings often operate on Dana (the Pali word for generosity) and payment is by donation. Here is a wonderful list compiled by Urban Mindfulness of the many meditation Centres throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
In a previous post about the mindlessness of living in urban environments, I described the neurological changes that can occur to the brains of urban dwellers. Mindfulness meditation is a wonderful antidote to some of these stressors.
Dr Jonathan Kaplan describes Urban Mindfulness as a practice of mindfulness in the city environment. You can try the following:
- 5 minute Mindfulness of Breath technique on the subway,
- Focus on sensations in your feet through a Walking Meditation as you head to work
- Cultivating compassion and gratitude towards sanitation workers in the city
- Use mobile Apps to practice mindfulness meditation
Whilst mindfulness may not directly change the environmental stressors, regular practice can change your reaction to the stressors. By mindfully paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, behaviours AND/OR being non-judgementally aware of the present moment, you can make wiser decisions that can improve your circumstance.