You Can Learn Mindfulness
Despite how it’s often presented, mindfulness is a simple skill that anyone can learn.
It isn’t tricky or mystical, it’s just a particular way of paying attention, one that’s a little different from the way we usually operate.
We simply allow the present-moment experience to unfold, refraining from our usual habits of fighting it, judging it, or thinking about something else.
To make it easier, we start with a small part of the present moment: background sound, the feeling in your hands, or the sensation of breathing.
This is unfamiliar at first, so we practice it a bit at a time — even a single breath at a time. A single mindful breath is worthwhile.
The effects of this practice can be surprising, and fascinating. You may have never noticed how rich and interesting many ordinary experiences are, like peeling a carrot, stepping out of the shower, or passing through a door.
And what a relief it is to simply experience something, without stressing over how it’s “supposed” to be. Can we experience most of our lives in this simple, uncomplicated way?
Yes. But we need to practice it, because it’s not our habitual way of experiencing the world.
Luckily, a little goes a long way. Even just a few minutes of practice a day can begin to release us from constantly ruminating about the past and future. Bringing mindfulness into our lives helps us reduce our stress, let go of bad habits, and enjoy simple, ordinary moments, like opening a door or crossing a parking lot — the kinds of moments that make up 99% of our lives.
Camp Calm is a 30-day virtual workshop for learning the basics of meditation and mindful living.
A little bit of time practicing mindfulness every day can create a significant or even drastic improvement in your quality of life over time. The purpose of Camp Calm is to provide the instruction and support necessary to establish it as a habit.
By the end of Camp you’ll have your own consistent, daily practice that you can take as far as you like.
Mindfulness is a very simple skill, but it’s prone to over-complication. So we keep the practices modest and doable. The typical day is about ten minutes of reading and five to fifteen minutes doing the practices. The time investment and pace is flexible — you can slow it right down to where you’re comfortable. Or if you’re a keener, you can invest more time in the practice. You don’t need any experience.
Every day in camp, there’s a short lesson, and an easy-to-do practice for that day. There are guided meditations, and a discussion forum so that we can practice together and discuss our experiences. There are also additional concepts, materials and practices you can explore at your own pace, or not at all.
Everything is laid out step-by-step, but you can ask me, or your fellow campers, questions any time you like.
I keep the groups small enough that I can answer everyone’s questions every day, and it typically fills up within a few days of opening registration.
Camp Calm is presented in a fun, visually-oriented style, with the sensory nostalgia of Summer camp. Pine needles. Lakes. Big skies. New friends.
I’m personally committed to doing whatever I can to help you develop a consistent, daily practice. I still correspond with campers from the first season, who are now daily meditators, four years on.
It’s always a lot of fun and I hope you’ll join us this time.
My name is David Cain — writer, long-time meditator and regular person. I’m the author of the human-experience blog Raptitude, and the creator of Camp Calm. My goal is to make the life-changing practice of mindfulness simple and accessible.
I am sleeping better and find that I am simply enjoying what I am doing, when I am doing it, wherever I am doing it. I’m also noticing my feelings more and the interesting effect they have on my thoughts and vice versa. It’s fascinating!
I’ve been meaning to write to you to thank you. My partner and I have maintained a consistent practice ever since camp ended. We miss a day every once in a while, but always get back to meditating. I’ve also stacked a gratitude journaling habit on top, and I really believe that both are improving my happiness and tranquility.
Much better control of my impulses/addictions. Much greater awareness of what is actually happening in the moment. Didn’t realize how much time I spent in my head ignoring what was literally right in front of me.
Huge differences! I can’t believe how much can be gained in such a short time. I feel calmer and more in control of my emotions. I can find joy at some point, each and every day no matter how mundane the day seems. It isn’t always easy to commit to regular daily practice but the benefits are worth the effort. I honestly think it has been a life changing experience!
Camp Calm was the perfect, stress-free way to make meditation a regular daily habit! David’s patience, wisdom and daily direction helped me to develop a skill of mindfulness that has lasted far beyond the 30-day program.
Overall I have experienced a tremendously positive effect on many aspects of my life, most notably the improved ability to notice worried/stressful thought patterns, their effect on my body and mood, and increased ability to push those thought cycles out of my life. I’m also feeling less boredom in general and more contentment from moment to moment.
I’ve honestly been floored by the positive difference in my general day to day life experience. I was dubious to begin with, having heard endless proponents of meditation, but never truly believing that such a simple practice could actually have a profound influence on my existence.
My general pace has slowed down a lot! I am able to be more patient with my kids, watching my actions instead of reacting most of the time. Thank you!