What mountains can teach us

(null)Currently being in the mountains and enjoying the crisp fresh air as well as the snow, I thought it’d be a good moment to remind myself of the mountain meditation from Jon Kabat-Zinn . The purpose of this meditation is to become grounded and access our inner strength and stability when faced with stressful and/or challenging circumstances, both internal and external.

Even for people not used to practice yoga, meditation, mindfulness or other techniques, sitting (or simply standing) still and visualizing the image of a mountain can be very strong and powerful.

(null)So here it is, first a short description taken from Psychology Today and then a link to a nice and free audio version. Enjoy, breathe and be!

The Mountain Meditation

This meditation is designed to last about 20 minutes but can be shortened or extended based on the practitioner’s preference.

Sit down in a comfortable position on the floor or in a chair. After following your breath for a few moments, imagine- in vivid detail- the most beautiful mountain you know of and resonate with. Envision its various details and stable, unmoving presence grounded in the earth.

After a few minutes of developing and holding this clear image in your mind, imagine bringing the mountain inside yourself and becoming the mountain. Imagine yourself sitting in stillness and in calm, simply observing and resting unwavering as the various weather patterns, storms, and seasons pass before you.

Just as a mountain endures constant changes and extremes, we also experience various thoughts, emotions and life challenges. Imagine viewing these experiences as external, fleeting and impersonal events, akin to weather patterns.

Feel yourself unwavering and rooted in stillness amidst the constant change of your internal and external experience.

(null)And here a link to an audio recording you might want to listen to: mindfulness for students

Barriers to effective communication

Communication BarriersDid you know that communication barriers can pop-up at every stage of the communication process (consisting of sender, message, channel/media, receiver, feedback and response) and have the potential to create misunderstanding and confusion.

To be an effective communicator and to get your point across without misunderstanding and confusion, your goal should be to lessen the frequency of these barriers at each stage of this process with clear, concise, accurate, well-planned communications.

Communications is thus only successful, when the receiver understands your message exactly the way you intended it!

Here are some possible barriers to effective communications:

  • Different assumptions
  • Different points of views
  • Emotions
  • Misunderstanding of language
  • Use of difficult words
  • Lack of attention
  • Poor clarity of speech
  • Conflicting body language
  • Sending discouraging feedback
  • Cultural differences
  • Lack of trust
  • Too much information

So many things can go wrong already in the normal communication process; now imagine what happens when you find yourself in an intercultural context!

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Mindful listening: 10 easy tips

“Spend your leisure time in cultivating an ear attentive to discourse, for in this way you will find that you learn with ease what others have found out with difficulty.”- Isocrates on Goodreads.com.

Mindful Listening
As a new week is about to start, let me share some really simple but extremely important tips for effective, mindful listening with you:

  1. Face the speaker and maintain eye contact
  2. Be attentive, but relaxed
  3. Keep an open mind
  4. Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying
  5. Don’t interrupt and don’t impose your “solutions”
  6. Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions
  7. Ask questions only to ensure understanding
  8. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling
  9. Give the speaker regular feedback
  10. Pay attention to what is not said, to non-verbal cues

Enjoy your week!


Photo credit: sadmafioso / Foter / CC BY-NC