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"It seems we all agree that training the body through exercise, diet, and relaxation is a good idea, but why don’t we think about training our mind?"  ~ Sakyong Mipham, Turning the Mind Into an Ally


For students in the Mindfulness Workshop, January 25-February 29, 2012

Develop skills for a clearer, more focused, and reflective approach to life and the Liberal Arts in Practice. Mindfulness is defined as a state of being aware in the present moment, in an intentionally open, accepting, and non-judgmental way.  Weekly two-hour class plus 30-45 min daily home practice.

Week #1, Jan 25-31: Introduction to Mindfulness
Body Scan recording
- To get a copy of this recording please download Dropbox software, for which Bill will invite you to have access.
Practice Journal: Awareness of Pleasant or Unpleasant Events Calendar
Weekly Practice Log

Pre-class, Jan 18-24
Practice Journal: Take 10 and "What brings you here?"
Weekly Practice Log

More about Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a set of mental skills and attitudes that, when applied patiently over time, brings to the mind increased clarity, focus and ease. These practices hold rich potential benefits for anyone at a liberal arts college such as Beloit: increased concentration, self-awareness, mental flexibility and a sense of well-being.  Mindfulness involves both formal practices such as sitting meditation, walking meditation, yoga or chi gong, and an informal ongoing practice of simply being aware of one’s thoughts and experiences in everyday life. According to mindfulness educator Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life.”

Sitting Meditation on Mondays at 4 p.m.

Each Monday at 4 p.m. in the Spirituality Room (Pearsons Hall basement).  This down-to-earth practice, done regularly, will help you to live each moment fully.  It will benefit you whether you are religious or not.  Alternately taught by Bill Conover and Nick Canby.

Research Citations

Interested in further reading about the latest mindfulness research?  Here are some informative articles:

Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation

The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being

Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density

Concentration-based meditation, practiced over a long-term, may have a positive impact on academic achievement

Books and CDs on reserve at the Morse Library (Jon Kabat-Zinn's work is rooted in western medical practice, the rest come from a Buddhist perspective; all are easily adapted and readable for a western audience.)

  • Gunaratana, Bhante, Mindfulness in Plain English - a classic for beginners who want to understand mindfulness and sitting meditation better.

  • Kabat-Zinn, Jon, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness - a very thorough overview of what mindfulness is and how to apply it in various life experiences.  Kabat-Zinn is a leading mindfulness educator in the U.S., and pioneer of the well-known Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction curriculum.   
  • Guided Mindfulness Meditation (4 audio CDs) - a great way to bring Kabat-Zinn home as a teacher, leading listeners through a body scan, mindful yoga and sitting meditation.  Effective partner to reading either of his books, especially Full Catastrophe Living.

  •  Mindfulness for Beginners (2 audio CDs) - up there with Gunaratana's book, listed above, as a pithy introduction to mindfulness.  "The definitive course designed specifically to introduce new students to the proven benefits of mindfulness practice, including: stress reduction, alleviation of depression, chronic pain relief, and more." (
  •    Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life - a good bedside table mindfulness book, this has short one-page entries intended to spark reflection and practice in the middle of ordinary life.

  • Kornfield, Jack, Meditation for Beginners (book and 1 audio CD) - just like the title says ... from one of the master teachers of basic Buddhist practice in the states.

  • Mipham, Sakyong, Turning the Mind Into an Ally - the first two sections are a clear presentation of the benefits and practice of mindfulness, the remaining pages outline Mipham's Shambhala Buddhist thought.

  • Williams,Mark. The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness. This book uses mindfulness as a tool to explore depression and how to deal with unhappiness.