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Jerome Stone

Jerome Stone

Jerome Stone is a student of Sogyal Rinpoche, and is author of the book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind, a book about mindfulness, meditation and compassion practices, written specifically for nurses and healthcare professionals. Jerome has presented classes on meditative practices and compassion to healthcare professionals and institutions. Additionally, he has presented to corporate and professional organizations on stress-management and meditation practices.

Recently, I've been writing a lot on using meditation within the field of nursing and healthcare. Really, besides the setting, which is important since as a nurse I am interacting with people who are suffering and really need my attention and compassion, there is no time like the present moment - wherever we find ourselves - to work with our mind.

Minding the bedside mindfully, aware, and compassionately comes from realizing the changing nature of our thoughts and from turning and returning the mind inward, transforming the stormy arisings of thoughts, emotions, and feelings and recognizing them to be impermanent phenomena like passing clouds in the sky.

Remember those “aha” moments you’ve had in the past? Maybe they’ve been moments of clarity about something that you said in a discussion, or perhaps you were struggling to make a decision about your career and a different, unique and creative idea sprang into your mind.

While many of my formal meditation moments may be focused on working with remaining in the present moment and resting, as best as I can, in a state of non-distraction, without altering my mind, there are times when I’m suddenly presented with an idea worth noting or taking down for use later on, after my session is over. And, sometimes these ideas are more than just worth noting, they’re actually pretty darn good insights – they’re AHA moments!

While there are many reasons to practice meditation, one of the main reasons that I have found to practice meditation is to be less distracted and more present, to be more aware of what is going on within my mind and to be more aware of those around me. With an increased awareness of what goes on in my environment, there’s also the potential to become more aware of what is happening to those around me and to attend to those who need my help or assistance. This “compassionate impulse” is a benefit that is not always found in discussions on meditation.

At its heart, a primary reason to practice meditation is to become more of who we inherently are; compassionate, present and aware. The state of non-distraction, which we gradually achieve as we progress in our meditation practice, brings us a mind that is aware of our moment-to-moment life, that in turn brings about a natural state of compassion, recognizing others as being equally as distracted and in need of awareness within their mind.

 

When we think about meditation or mindfulness, it's easy to get caught-up in the belief that we need to be sitting on a cushion, cross-legged, or located within a monastery to practice meditation.
 

While these aspects of meditation can provide us with the support necessary to achieve a stable meditation practice, and while a formal meditation practice is the only way to become familiar with our mind, the primary reason to meditate is to become familiar with our true nature within our ordinary daily life.

Ongoing research continues to affirm what seasoned meditators have been claiming for centuries, if not millennia. How we experience our world, including our perceptions of our internal world, can be dramatically changed, mediated, through meditation.

In the most recent work done at the Departments of Neurobiology, Anatomy and Biomedical Engineering at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Psychology Department at Marquette University, and published in the Journal of Neuroscience, 2011 Apr 6;31(14):5540-8, researchers found the data to indicated that, “…meditation engages multiple brain mechanisms that alter the construction of the subjectively available pain experience from afferent information.”

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