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Meditation Blooms as People Seek a Way to Slow Down

 

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LOS ANGELES, USA, February 18, 2015 (The LA Times): One hundred fifty people sat in the big meeting room, hands on laps, eyes closed, feet flat on the floor.”Bring your attention to this moment,” Janice Marturano instructed. “Be open to sensations of warmth or coolness, sensations of fullness from breakfast, or perhaps hunger.” Minutes later, the meditation ended with the traditional strikes of little hand cymbals. Buddhists? Old hippies? New Agers? No, the room was full of hospital executives and managers in lab coats and scrubs, jeans and sports coats at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. And the teacher was Marturano, once a top executive at General Mills.

The founder of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, Marturano is a sign that meditation has snaked its way into every sector of our lives. Meditation, primarily a 2,500-year-old form called mindfulness meditation that emphasizes paying attention to the present moment, has gone viral.

Meditation has moved from its Asian, monastic roots to become a practice requiring no particular dogma on a path not necessarily toward nirvana but toward a more mindful everyday life. Some serious advocates worry it’s becoming another feel-good commodity. The practice of mindfulness meditation has become more widespread at a time when the fastest-growing group demographic is made up of people who say they are unaffiliated with a particular denomination, said Varun Soni, the dean of religious life at USC, which has launched a university-wide effort toward mindfulness.

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