Jen Madson, author of Head to Heart, answers some very interesting questions about the book!
What prompted you to write this book?
I was inspired to write Head To Heart shortly after I published my last book, Living The Promises, which is a collection of meditations for people in recovery from addiction. I received tremendously positive feedback not only from the recovery community, but also from people who aren’t addicts or alcoholics, who really benefited from the tips on mindfulness that I shared in that book. I felt really compelled then to write my next book of meditations, for a general audience, on mindfulness moments for every day life.
How do you define “awakening”?
Awakening” isn’t a one-time occurrence, although moments of clear realization can feel quite sudden.
Awakening is a process; a gradual awareness; a growing insight which must be cultivated to be sustained.
Awakening to a new idea or way of being is usually a mixture of poetic consideration and practical application.
How does one “successfully” meditate?
So many people struggle with meditation because they believe it’s about clearing your mind of all thoughts. It’s not about “no thought,” but the practice of calming your mind – through breath work and pointed focus – so that you can observe your thoughts, and no longer chase and indulge them.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The greatest benefit of meditation for me has been the ability to detach from all the hopes and fears that threaten to wear me out if I get too attached to them. It gives me a tranquility of mind and clarity of insight with which to understand how to be most peaceful and most helpful, the best I can, on any given day.
Do you have to practice meditation and awakening every day for your life to improve?
The good news is, once you learn the basics of meditation from a sitting practice, you can easily use those tools – of detachment, discernment, and compassion – “on the move,” in your every day life. Then it becomes a way of daily life, and because of the joy and calm that comes from it, you begin to want to meditate and awaken.
What do you hope is the impact of writing and publishing this book?
This book is my contribution to world peace – one entry at a time, one reader at a time, hopefully the world over, I want people to have simple tools for being more mindful in their thoughts, words, and deeds, and therefore more helpful to others and themselves.
If someone followed the instructions in your book very diligently for one year, what could they expect to accomplish?
I wrote the book during a time of great loss and transition, so I literally had to practice what I preached every single day, and a year later, I came away with a greater sense of peace, purpose, and compassion than I had ever felt before, which is what I believe can happen for others who diligently follow the book’s suggestions.