Take Your Mind for a Walk

Meditation can seem so meaningful and significant that it becomes a great big chore. In fact, with a slight shift in attitude, it can be as simple as walking the dog.

Illustrations by Min Ahwon

So you started meditating—perhaps you completed a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course—and you sat there on your shiny new cushion that you just bought, convinced that practicing meditation was going to finally do what nothing else had. It just made sense: letting go of the seeming unending judgmental activity of your mind and dropping down into a more purposeful and balanced life of equanimity and loving-kindness. You were set. You found a way to carve out time in your crazy schedule to just sit and watch your breath. And off you went.

Watching the in-breath and the out-breath. Seeing thoughts arise and simply noting them arising, dropping back into the breath when you found yourself caught up in thinking. Working mindfully with difficult emotions that periodically oozed in.

Faithfully (and a little bit hopefully), you sat and watched it all unfold, and perhaps you even noticed a little more patience, or a shift in perspective on a longtime challenge. A few of the little “appetizers” that a fledgling mindfulness practice can offer up to keep you coming back to the cushion, even when it isn’t easy. Like, when you feel the magnetic pull of a warm bed at your…

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  • Mindful Staff
  • September 21, 2023


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About the author

Steven Hickman

Steven Hickman, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a retired Associate Clinical Professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. He is Executive Director of the non-profit Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (CMSC), which has as its mission to “alleviate human suffering and improve the collective well-being of the planet through the practice of self-compassion”. Steve is the Founding Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, and has taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and trained teachers of that program as well. Steve is a Certified MSC teacher and a teacher trainer, leading MSC courses and teacher training programs around the world. Steve is also the author of “Self-Compassion for Dummies.”