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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

For a long time now, I've been a fan of doing 21-day experiments as a way of kick-starting positive habits. The first time I did one, I decided to walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on a regular basis for three weeks to see if anything in my life would shift. As a result, the inspiration for my website, which remains my personal passion today, came through.

In the 15 years since, I’ve done numerous other experiments on everything from writing in a journal every day to making dietary changes to trying out new fitness programs. Sometimes I’ve made it all the way through the 21 days, and other times my best intentions have fallen short. But there is no denying that overall these experiments have helped breathe fresh new energy into my daily routine time and time again.

While 21-day experiments are fun to do solo, they are even more fun when done in community. So when I recently decided that I wanted to give a regular meditation practice a try, I invited my New World Library coworkers to join me.

After all, a lot of the books we publish touch on the benefits of meditation. Not only have we published several that are specifically on the topic — like Everyday Meditation, Meditation — The Complete Guide, Opening to Meditation, Mental Resilience, and Effortless Mind — but many of our other authors also write about its benefits, as these short excerpts from three of our newest releases reveal:

Happy @ Work
by Jim Donovan:
Do you have days like this too — days when you feel, well, confused?

I woke up one morning at about 3:30 a.m., not my usual time. I was feeling, as I do from time to time, a little confused about what to do next, what path to take, what projects to focus on, and so on.

While each of us is living with different circumstances, and no one solution will fit everyone, I have learned some things over the years that can help at times like this.

The first thing I do, rather than running around like a crazy person and becoming even more confused, is to become quiet. I take time for meditation. This quiets my mind and allows me to focus my attention.

Paradise in Plain Sight by Karen Maezen Miller:
To take responsibility for peace in your world is genuinely heroic. Practicing meditation can be hard on your stiff body and restless mind, but it does not hurt anyone. No one is harmed by your practice; indeed, everyone is helped. When you are still, no eyebrows are arched, no fists are clenched, no fingers are tapped, no sideways glances are given. When you are quiet, nothing mean, cruel, or critical is said.

We have the power to transform everything when we have the courage to do nothing.

Meister Eckhart by Matthew Fox:
How do we go about this journey inward to a nameless and unknown place? Eckhart says, “The Word lies hidden in the soul, unknown and unheard unless room is made for it in the ground of hearing, otherwise it is not heard. All voices and sounds must cease and there must be pure stillness within, a still silence.” To meditate is to collect ourselves. “The soul must be collected and drawn up straight and must be a spirit. There God works and there all works are pleasing to God. No work ever pleases God unless it is wrought there.” We learn to focus, for “the more the soul is collected, the narrower it is, and the narrower it is, the wider.” Great things happen in this place of silence, which is “the doorway of God’s house.”

Our 21-day experiment started on May 1st and ended just before Memorial Day weekend. Anyone who felt like joining us was invited to sit for 10 minutes at 10 a.m. each day. We even took Sacred Sound author Alanna Kaivalya’s lead by doing three Brahmari, or Bee Breaths, to start the session and one Om at the end.

Everyone who participated in the experiment really enjoyed it. Here’s what several New World Librarians had to say at the end of the 21 days:

➢    Art director Tracy Cunningham: Our meditations took away a little of the overthinking that can build up in the morning and were a nice way to start with some grounding.

➢    Office manager Jennifer Listug: Even when I found it difficult to get into the meditation because my mind was wandering and I felt unfocused, I would notice the effects of it throughout the rest of the day. After meditating in the morning, I felt more focused mentally when I went back to work. I noticed that no matter what kind of mood I had started my day in (grumpy, sleepy, lazy, happy, excited), after meditating I would feel a subtle lightheartedness as an undercurrent in my being for the rest of the day.

➢    Publicity director Monique Muhlenkamp: I liked being able to get quiet for a few minutes. I found that it helped me to stay focused the rest of the day.

➢    Graphic designer Megan Colman: It gave me a chance to settle in and center myself for the morning. I enjoyed it more than I expected. The 10 minutes seems almost too quick now.

➢    Assistant editor Jonathan Wichmann: Wonderful to get a bit of calm and peace, and especially some connection with others in a quiet space.

I couldn’t agree more. Like many of my coworkers, I loved the peaceful tone and sense of connection our meditations established for each day. In fact, we all liked it so much that we collectively decided to make our “10 at 10” meditations an ongoing part of our work lives after the initial 21 days had concluded, which is the very best indicator that a 21-day experiment has been a rousing success.



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