Jerome Stone, RN, MA, author of “Minding the Bedside,” fell into his nursing career and his journey into mindfulness at about the same time.
After surviving a dangerous near-death rock-climbing fall, he became intensely curious about theology and his purpose in life. He studied everything he could get his hands on, learning about faiths of all kinds, but always felt a strong connection with eastern traditions.
Says Stone: “It wasn’t until I starting studying diligently with a teacher in 2001 though, and committed myself to one path of meditation, that I began to really see profound results in how my mind worked with challenges and how to bring my heart and mind together in a compassionate presence.”
In 2004, he completed his training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness. Since then, he continues to refine his own practice and teach others how to do the same.Click on the image to read Meaghan O’Keeffe’s review of “Minding the Bedside.”
Q. What advice do you have for those of us who have attempted meditation in the past only to give up?
A. FIRST, DON’T GIVE UP!!! Meditation is good for you in more ways than you can imagine.
We get so caught up in our beliefs of how our meditation should be, or how we should feel, or what kind of results we should be getting, that we fail to simply enjoy just being. When meditation doesn’t turn out as we expect, we feel hopeless. That hopelessness is exactly what we’re working to alleviate when we practice meditation.
At its heart, meditation is the state of non-distraction. This doesn’t mean that having distractions in your mind when you’re meditating isn’t meditation. What causes the problems and what makes us want to give up on meditation is thinking that we have to get rid of distracting thoughts or that we have to push the distractions from our mind. We can be in meditation while all sorts of things arise in our mind. The key is to not get distracted by what arises.
So, the advice that I have to those who have tried in the past but have given it up?
“You didn’t give up; you just took a break.” No worries!
Q. When you’re in the middle of a busy shift (or three!), what do you do to center yourself throughout the day?
A. I want to emphasize here that having a stable meditation practice is the key to using one’s meditative mind while at work or anywhere else for that matter. It’s like, you don’t wait until you’re drowning to learn to swim, or you don’t wait until the house is burning down to buy a fire extinguisher. So, with that in mind …
When I’m at work, I take many “mini-meditation” sessions throughout the day. Meditation is about presence, about being present in the moment without succumbing to the distractions of one’s mind or, in this case, work environment. Learning to meditate is about recognizing when you’ve become distracted and, without giving yourself a hard time, bringing your mind back to its undistracted nature.
At work, at any time, I check in with my mind to see if I’m distracted or not. Especially when I’m at the bedside, I want to make sure that I’m showing up as fully as possible so that those who I care for get the “full me,” and not a distracted or preoccupied me. It doesn’t always work that way, but that’s my goal.
Q. How and when should we start?I love to teach this stuff! This is my life’s work. This is my passion. This is my love.
A. START NOW AND DON’T GIVE UP!!
How do you start? Go to my blog/website. I’ve got tons of content there, all for free, that answers and addresses many questions about meditation and helps you to get started in
the right direction. Buy my book! I’m not (just) trying to sell it; I wrote this book for you. Seriously! I put my heart and mind into that book so that it could make a difference in your life.
At the urging of the readers of my blog, past participants in my workshops, and fellow nurses at work, in the next few months, I’ll be rolling out a video series as well as a bunch of online content and coaching programs. People are asking me for assistance in their meditation practice and the hundreds of emails that I’ve received have shown me that I need to step up to the plate and offer additional services.
It seems like what I have to stay has been resonating with many people and I’m trying to figure out how to best serve as many people as I can in my work. Along those lines, if there are readers out there who have any interest in getting me to your neck of the woods, please let me know. I love to teach this stuff! This is my life’s work. This is my passion. This is my love.