Today on the show we are going to hit mindfulness head on and talk about how we might be getting tripped up by the practice, and how, according to my guest, we might be doing it wrong. Now don't interpret that as a judgement or criticism, but more like permission to take some of the pressure off. I know that over the years of practicing sitting meditation, I've had times where I get a little caught up in the practice, looking for it to do something for me, or I'm watching my meditation streak of days in a row. Then there are these great apps and tools and podcasts to equip us with instructions and tracking and timekeeping and on and on. Not so say these things aren't useful, but I am quite human and have desire, craving, attachment, striving, wanting to do well, wanting to improve my life...and mindfulness just starts to look like one more tool to get what I want. Or to even change to world around me. And to even say I've been getting better at it, by not striving, and not tracking, well that sounds like striving all over again. So what am I to do?
Quite fortunately I found my guest today, Daron Larson, to be someone who cares deeply about this issue. Daron is a mindfulness coach who specializes in something he calls Attentional Fitness Training. And here we are training the key element, and maybe only element that matters, awareness, which isn't really about striving or attaining anything. It's just paying attention, becoming intimately familiar with yourself, as you are right now, in real time. Not what you were, what you're going to be, or what you want to be. This is what Daron refers to as your narrative or being in storytelling mode.
So we start off with how Daron brought mindfulness into his life, and then we get into a variety of issues related to the practice itself. Two areas I ask about is whether mindfulness can open us to living a more meaningful life, and also why I personally get hung up on something called loving-kindness meditation, which has been very difficult practice for me. It's not so much that I sense resistance, but it feels kind of empty when I practice on the cushion, so to speak. That's counter to what I've heard about the experience for others, but Daron gives me some ideas for more real life, or real time methods of practicing.
So let's get started, but first I want to say that during our conversation I really felt that not only is Daron passionate and deeply interested in his work, but he really cares for the people he is helping. I actually felt he really cared for me, with all my questions. And in the weeks, now months since we had this conversation, I've received several emails from Daron with a short note and often an attachment to an article he thought I would personally find interesting. And he was spot on each time. So somewhere in our conversation, kind of without me knowing it, he read me pretty well and followed up with meaningful contact. I've loved following him on Instagram, where he goes by Daron Larson, as you might guess, and posts some wonderful and thought provoking photography of scenes from his own life. At the end of our conversation, Daron talks about how he identified or felt this caring and sensitive side within him early in life.
A wonderfully kind, positive, and thoughtful person. Please welcome my guest today, Daron Larson.
Thanks for listening,