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Part 2: How does someone practice Mindfulness?

Kabot-Zinn explains that Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of different ways; the purpose is the state of mind and not the modality of getting there. After reading this explanation post-wine-night, I thought maybe there is some merit to the masturbation conversation; could this be an example of an alternative modality? To answer this question, I explored different ways of practicing Mindfulness and connected with Concentration Meditations. Concentration Meditations are used to practice Mindfulness by focusing attention on one thing for a given period of time. The goal is to build capacity and notice when our attention begins to wander and observe the experience non-judgmentally. If you have ever tried to practice this, you may agree that it can be very difficult to focus on a given thought for an extended period of time, even when you are being guided the way I had been in my yoga class. This is why this form of Mindfulness often includes a physical sensation to focus on such as our breath or a touch. Ah, the wine night discussion has found its connection; masturbation is just another example of touch. Interestingly, Concentration Meditation is often recommended as a first step in building core skills for other forms of Mindfulness. Maybe I find practicing Mindfulness so difficult because I have not spent enough time practicing this step. Realistically, my lack of practice has to do with feelings of time scarcity that so many in our society suffer with. I believe I am not alone in feeling that I am already ‘expected’ to accomplish so many tasks in a day, which makes setting aside time to meditate feel like another item I do not have space for on my never ending to-do list. I only want to spend my small amounts of free time on activities that are enjoyable and do not feel like another task I have to check off. Focusing on breath or the sensation of grounding one’s feet into the floor are two popular physical sensations used to practice but may not be stimulating enough for some to begin their Mindful journey. Another likely more pleasurable option that is unlikely to be found on anyone’s to-do list is personal stimulation in the form of masturbation.

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