Secular Meditation

A Guide from the Humanist Community at Harvard

Gena Bean of Mindful Boston – Interview


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In this interview with Gena Bean, we talk about the programs that Gena is developing at Mindful Boston, which include and go beyond Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. I was especially taken with Gena’s description of learning “mindful vacuuming” at the Kripalu Center (about 2 minutes in).

As yoga practice, we were cleaning bathrooms, we were vacuuming and it was a form of yoga because we were integrating present moment awareness. I was literally trained on how to mindfully vacuum and it was one of the most profound spiritual lessons of my life.


Mindful vacuuming is a form of mindful manual labor, which I present in chapter 16 of my book, Secular Meditation. This time of year, the need to gather up leaves provides an excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness. If you use a rake (emits less carbon than a leaf blower), you can hear the crunch of the leaves, the scratching of the rake’s tines, and observe the colors, shapes and aroma of the leaves. What a pleasure!