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RailsConf 2019 - Mindfulness and Meditation for the Uncertain Mind by Rufo Sanchez

Rufo Sanchez
Application Engineer on Internal Tools at GitHub
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RailsConf 2019
May 2, 2019, Minneapolis, USA
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About speaker

Rufo Sanchez
Application Engineer on Internal Tools at GitHub

Web developer with a focus on customized solutions. Particularly interested in Ruby/Rails projects, although I'm well-versed in PHP and JavaScript and have a strong familiarity with Windows/.NET platforms. Strong background in systems administration and IT management. Platform of choice is Mac OS X/UNIX-based systems.Specialties: Ruby, Rails, PHP, MySQL, Linux, Mac OS X, HTML/XHTML, CSS, JavaScript

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RailsConf 2019 - Mindfulness and Meditation for the Uncertain Mind by Rufo Sanchez


In recent years, mindfulness and meditation have both become capital-B Buzzwords. It’s hard to read anything about mental health or “wellness” without a mention, and meditation apps and services are a dime a dozen. Are you curious what they mean?… but also not really sure if they’re for you, or worried they’re for hippies or otherwise, y’know, not actually real?

Trust me, I wondered the same thing. In this talk, we’ll go over what mindfulness and meditation can be: effective tools to help observe the emotional reactions and thought patterns that rule our day - and our interactions with other humans - without us even realizing it. We’ll cover the basics in an objective, non-judgmental way, you’ll finally figure out what mindfulness and meditation are, and you’ll come away with resources to start becoming more mindful in your own life.

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Frank so pretty started we're going to start off today with a little bit of exercise the mental exercise. So don't worry over around for about 30 seconds. I'd like you to focus on some Temptation you currently have like you're not trying to think about it too much. I just like you to try and experience how it feels so much as possible. It could be an issue for tired feet sore. Maybe you have a hangover from the Weedmaps party last night. You don't have anything else. I'll talk to you in a little bit like you to pick what you're going to focus on now.

I just close our eyes matter so few seconds. And we get started. Just experienced it. Don't try to think too much about it. Just like what does it feel? Like is it painful? Is it pressure does it feel? Like it's hurting or Jessica Pleasant fraps just a little bit. All right, I'm feeling okay is a talk on mindfulness and meditation. You could potentially call this the M&M talk but that might be kind of confusing. Although actually talking to people be like, oh, I didn't know that was on the schedule. Do a few things before we get started first

since a lot of people ask my first name is from my grandfather. And it's your pee in Spanish. My mom's parents were born in the US from spanish immigrants. So it's all her side of the family in that come from. I've been a full-time rather than as a consultant for a company since around 2010. My interests and rails actually goes back further. I was actually at the first real confident 2000-2006 outside of Chicago. I did not to make real money from y'all still 2010. But yeah, I was actually there

proof of life photo If you can't find me, that's me over there, right next Monday. 2016. I mention it's primarily to say that I am not a mental health expert my background. Is it and programming not mental health or yeah, particularly difficult emotions that come up while practicing mindfulness meditation by all means professional. Also, I'm not an expert. I think these techniques are meaningful and can add value to our lives. But my practice is pretty easy going and my proshares is valuable. I

think we should be more open and talking about this type of stuff mental health in self-care know that's in Tech. Archer playing with his concepts are and how they relate to each other why I think they're important and give you some resources help. We start off your exploration on your own. Hopefully you'll be interested. I'm going to discuss these techniques in Fairly modern language definitions. You'll find in most modern books on the subject. I'm going to go through them fairly removed from any particular ideology or religion. You can't really connect to

meditation for looking like Buddhism and honestly, there's a lot there that's kind of gasoline to dig into its practice today is simple and it's evidence based and can be observed and there science behind it. All right, so that all the way with start moving into some Meetup talk mindfulness. Let's start with mindfulness. What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is awareness of the present moments with Adam analog without an inner critic and without judgment. It's awareness of what's Happening without being caught up in what's happening. If metacognition

if you well if it's observing the state of your mind and the world without you around you. What are the LG I like is that your thoughts are a little bit like a waterfall with your mind and middle of the stream. Normally without really thinking about your head is just in the middle of this rental stream of water of thoughts and emotions what you ate for lunch next time. We're going to the conversation you and have your boss next week. We're constantly wrapped up in this Narrative of things are happening to us things. He wants to do things. We feel should or shouldn't have happened to us

and most the time. We aren't even aware that we're going golfing. These thoughts mindfulness is trying to take your head out of the stream. Even if just for a moment see what the water in the world around you're actually like And this is important because we start trying to do this on a regular basis you start to realize that your mind isn't quite the place you thought it was what can seem like an endless stream of thoughts talk constantly tugging and turning in your mind. You can realize I'm just passing through and you start to see how easily emotions can come and go you're taking a

lot of insight into exactly what's going on in your brain and even the ability to intervene a little bit the belated step back and take stock of what is actually happening your mind respond thoughtfully instead of reacting mindlessly giving a powerful you get to know yourself and your emotional reactions and your thought patterns a little bit better. And if so doing help yourself better to the world. Extremely powerful. It's not exactly a superpower and it doesn't change who you are. You're still you and you don't change into some sort of emotionless robot or Uber Zen monk. The goal is

just to give you a little more clarity a little more insight into what your thoughts on your emotional state really are and give you that additional input when it really matters. And look inside while small chin help a lot. Let's say that you're someone who's friend Rings ID. And your boss sends you a message saying hey got a minute. If you're like me that sounds off. An immediate thoughts about is everything. Okay up. Am I fired somebody else fired? Are we all fired is a company going under Royal Dunes when really more likely it's just about rescheduling your one-on-one with the last minute

personal matter came up mindfulness doesn't fix this. It doesn't suddenly make you not anxious but being able to take that step back let you step in and say, okay, maybe that's something bad but doesn't have to be I don't have to get caught up in the train of thought and you don't find yourself racing several minutes into a state of racing thoughts and panic. How to find it great for appreciating moments both the Monday and everyday things that really goes through and a special ones. It's one thing to be walking on the street on a sunny day with a warm breeze but so much of the time

we're caught up thinking about what to do when you get the coffee shop or listening to a podcast while we're walking in we can be good to let your head out in just experienced. What's happening around you. I can also be surprisingly helpful at getting through tough moments or suffering. I know Amy touching that never talked before lunch ends if you didn't get to see it was excellent. Go check out the replay when you have a moment. Sometimes it sucks. And sometimes you can't do anything about it, but you can change how you respond and approach those moments. I tend to go to for

the amount for these types of things is this is what it feels like to be a human. That's blank. That could be observing the warm feeling of having a beverage with some friends or sitting in economy seat or at least I can do for fun of it could be worried about interview or difficult conversation with a colleague regardless of what they are. These premises are human and they don't mother doesn't make the problem go away just interrupting the train of thought and sitting with a feeling for a moment and give yourself a chance to react to be a big help. And for the good thing is else you

appreciate them that much more Okay, I'll get back to you mindfulness more in a bit. But help me give you a little bit of my DF for what it is about the other. meditation this is a bit productive and we'll talk about why in a minute, but if mindfulness is a feeling trying to cultivate meditation is the exercise that builds muscle but mostly me talking about my concentration and mindfulness meditation here, but there are many other kind of 6-4 that you want to start a basic practice. So what is meditation exactly? Let's talk about talking about you. Actually do it's pretty simple.

First you sit down somewhere. If you need somewhere, you'll be comfortable enough to sit for a while, but not so comfy your lord into taking a nap. I'll often meditate my desk chair or an easy chair find a lot of people like a cushion on the floor. A lot of folks probably have this in their heads of some sort of Ideal, but it's not really necessary for most types of meditation. You'll start by focusing on something to go to is usually the breath specifically some feeling about it as particular notice of all you could be the feeling of her chest rising and falling. It could be the

feeling of air going through your nostrils. Sound of your breath the breath is classic for a reason. It's always there so you don't need anything else and stupidly one of the best places you can go for. However, it doesn't necessarily have to be that it could be the feeling of the button or unbutton the couch or someplace and are experiencing or emotions you have. The point is that something you can observe quietly without thought but not your head. Third and this is the most important thing. anytime you realize we're distracted from the breath, you know what

it is and you return to the breath every time again and again and again, he might be wondering exactly what do I mean by noting and it's worth going over because it comes up a lot meditation by note. We simply me a quick light touch. Identifies with this reaction is if it's a thought just thought thing about the breath the sound know what it was or note sound and come back to the Pratt with Mitch and catch them back to the breath just didn't knowledgement of where our mind was before. We turned it into Focus. You're going to have a lot of notes and

that's okay the points and this is incredibly important. The point of meditation is not the concentrated focus on the breath. That's just giving you focus to return to the observation of the interruption is the exercise. So getting a lot of thought is perfectly. All right if the radical Act of not getting caught up in the air, but returning to the focus at the point A lot of people think that meditation is about concentrations about your dad would have thought that's not it the point is to observe the thoughts. I'm just getting this. All right. We also don't want to have an intense trip in

our minds on the brat. You want to observe the state and not change it. So trying to focus harder or telling yourself harshly if you lost a thought is not helpful and that's basically at that's really all that meditation boils down to Sit down Focus Lee timer distracted note then refocus. How long we do this more ideally 20 minutes, you can do less significant make me something and I want to say this is like an ideal based on Research 10 minutes of traffic in more

fully and even 5 minutes or 1 minute can be helpful and also help you benefit with no trying to keep the streak going so you can bury is a bit based on how you're feeling. I set a timer on your phone because you don't want to be checking constantly to see what's happening. But or you some other method to let you know what you're done, but that's really 20 minutes is X really went again. You should do this whenever you can kind of fit your schedule for me. I find that earlier in the day works better since it started as a lasting benefit to the rest

of the day, and I'm not tired and fall asleep at the end of the day sometime before getting up often before or after breakfast, but around lunch the way it's all you'll go 11th run exercise. Whatever works for you and your schedule is really the best time to do it. Let's talk about what it is. He might be wondering what's in this for me. Thanks. What is that? It's sort of a good systems check you're concentrating and observing to save your mind and body without the fraction. And that's not

something to do this very often and that's often useful. In other self several times. I sat down and not really sure why maybe I'm worried about an email. I didn't reply to you or maybe I'm really worried about talking to get on Thursday. And that alone is a useful information that you can do something with a need might not have been fully aware of. Minnesota circuit improve focus cognition and its benefits aren't really any total. There's an increasing amount of science the Thunder backup meditation. That's helpful. Multiple studies for neuroscientists

and neurobiologist show increase cognitive function decision making attention and well-being after Two Step lyrics meditating the effects might be useful for anxiety and depression ADHD and other mental conditions. What's our story from Sarah Lazar and you're a neuroscientist the harbor were studying the effects of yoga meditation the brain showed that participants spending just eight weeks before he mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly volumes in areas of the brain building to attention attention and mind-wandering cognition empathy and decrease volume in the brain

readings of fear and anxiety and it's just one study of my run by 11. So start to become clear that meditation has real benefits. How does benefits Matt manifests is I think particularly interesting? It happened because meditating helps reinforce mindfulness the sitting the practice of sitting down in observing what's really happening your mind helps build resilience and mindfulness into your day. And why is he don't fully realize what's happening the space between you and your thoughts starts increasing and you start being able to notice your thought patterns are happening

every couple of weeks of practice. He really and that everyday mindfulness is where the power comes in. I think remember back to my talk about the other moments meditation helps build that awareness becomes more of an automatic thing. Elvis combined to make it make money making you feel happier, I guess or more accepting. It's a really difficult feelings described but there is a noticeable difference in how you approach things bucks. I'll talk about in a bit specifically named his book 10% happier because he needed a short Stampy catchphrase. But the reality as even then

himself admits is much more complicated. It's easier to see why you're making things are making different ones. We need to make money for something painful easier, but does and help you except what's happening and maybe see alternate ways out of it and he's become immensely powerful tools. facts about mindfulness and meditation about some ways to practice The first it's worth noting that you really don't need anything else. We've got the basics and my started meditating looking inward the same as I laid out in some ways the

commercialization of what's a variable practice and feel a little weird. That being said, it can be good to ask me to spell guidance. One thing there are many different types of meditation meditation outline and that's definitely the one you start with a variety of different ways to practice meditation. When is Pyramid pause meditation where you're focusing on whatever comes up and it comes up. So I had you focus on it on a sensation in the beginning as thoughts and Sensations in

your mind. You would focus on those and I think imma go Is also the type like the rain meditation and we talked about earlier in our talks and process emotions. There's loving kindness meditation which increases films of empathy and self-worth and gratitude is even meditations that aren't Basin sitting I actually find Walking meditation really effective the ability to that you have kind of this presentation. Is there walking around and you cannot find it to be your really censoring thing. thermosphere different guy than ways of doing so it's worth exploring and seeing what

resonates There are a lot of books. They're obviously take a look at what The Rock is quite a few that I have found the good work for me. The one that probably convinced me to get started. The most was Dan Harris box, but most famous for having a panic attack live on Good Morning America that you can actually find on YouTube and search for it this first book 10% happier details. What got him there in this strange Journey that one of getting him into meditations and enthused not start writing about it. It's pretty

fascinating story. This book is a Lil Bit light on how to it's mostly about the journey is meditation for fidgety Skeptics what she wrote with amazing met him through deaf, Warren and Charlie Charlie Adler. You get some more into the how to I will say Jeff style tends to be well described as Indian really corny actually engaging his approach is that an outsider, coming to it? He talks to a lot of experts have been doing it for a while lot of scientists and kind of helps digest that means the news anchors that sort of his

job. So if you're looking for a buck, I would probably picked either everything happier or meditation for fidgety Skeptics, depending on if you want the journey like your kind of skeptical and you kind of wine. I like how you got there. I would think I'm still here if your War bugged Ivan meditation for fidgety Skeptics another book recommends Sharon salzberg is one of the meditation expert at us the den talk to she's been doing this for decades and this book is probably the most direct

most direct approach ring my notes cuz I started when I do a lot more of an Insider of years of doing it and practicing it and Star course after this turn into a fairly competitive friends with ulcerative getting into it with all sorts of large beasts evaluations a little weird, but it sort of makes sense having a guided meditation is a great way to try out different types of meditations and keep you on track and have like horses. I'll help you guys through things at space is one big is the oldest and I think they have a lot of

good introductory set of meditations. It's a good way to go if you want to dive in immediately. Yappy, yappy in the medications are red by one of the co-founders and Andy puddicombe with a certificate in style with a nice. I also and giving I like the bug that's going to be a huge surprise. I like the temperature to have your app quite a bit 10% happier app is particularly interesting because all of the meditation teacher that he doesn't talk to in the book have done courses that give you like a really broad

sense of style and and different kinds like all of the different types of rain and loving-kindness. Like they all have parallels in the app. Is there a couple others out there to calm is under large one I've heard of I haven't tried I think Blake has been calling like the two big gorillas. I know Kevin Rose has one. Do you want a free a free option? There's an app called the insight timer that I just use for climbing back when I was starting off by now. They've added a huge amount of free community guided meditations. I know they have like a freaking mouth now. I

think they're like all these apps are available on both IOS and Android lost a lot of other guys can go find out if they like now sign up and pay monthly or yearly whatever that doesn't do that. And a quick personal I came to meditation because I've always been a person that worries. I get stressed out easily. I feel her own pretty easily. I came to it because somebody who I never would have guessed in a million years of the meditator somebody in a gaming

podcast listen to meditation and mindfulness while they are no Silver Bullet. I have been an important tool in my quest for there myself and sore just be adjacent Maslow's Point self activation, and I hope that I have spark some interest and often written stuff. So, thank you. If you go to talks to our UFO that links to a Gabriella Wright have this and want to talk to read me that has links to the books and the apps and other resources to go there and check it out. If you spell I feel free to email me. My email address is on the one that read me or hit me or open a PR job

file and of the PDF for the presenter notes, you can read through them. And yeah, I feel free to act like you.

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