Previously, we've written about a growing number of cultural figures who practice transcendental meditation, with Paul McCartney, David Lynch, Leonard Cohen, Ellen Degeneres, and Sheryl Crow being ardent supporters. Mindfulness meditation, while less known, has also steadily increased in popularity over the past half-decade. In part, there's its inherent appeal: mindfulness cultivates an all-accepting awareness of the present moment, thereby dissolving anxieties about the future or preoccupations with thoughts of the past. There's also the growing momentum of mindfulness research in the scientific community, with studies suggesting that mindfulness-based therapeutic approaches may benefit a host of psychological issues. Its use to alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress is particularly promising.
“Sounds tempting,” you say, “but where does one try this mindfulness meditation business, anyway? Can I try it without going anywhere?” You’re in luck, my friend! UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) has uploaded a set of mindfulness meditations to iTunesU, where the series is presently the #1 download. “I’m too busy,” you say, opening a Facebook tab. Not so fast! Most of the meditations are under 10 minutes long, with the complete series clocking in at two hours. We’ve had trouble listening to the lectures on the UCLA site, so if you’re interested, head over to iTunesU to download Mindful Meditations. Otherwise, if you live within a reasonable distance of UCLA’s Hammer Museum, drop in for free weekly meditation sessions (recordings for most of these are available here).