Oscar Segurado is a physician who discovered his own high-functioning anxiety when a family member had a nervous breakdown which required medical intervention. This led Oscar on a self-reflective journey and a meditation practice. In that journey, and with his background as a health practitioner, he developed a technique he calls Mindful Framing which is a visualisation technique. This practice has provided relief from his own anxiety as well as benefits to mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, and he has shared the practice and written a book about it. Clay Hamilton interviewed Oscar in summer 2019.
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How did you first learn to meditate and why/how did you become a meditation teacher?
Everything started in Fall 2014 when the nervous breakdown of my older son, requiring medical intervention, also uncovered my high-functioning anxiety. I realized that we all need to tackle with a very stressful and complex life and need time for self-reflection. I started practicing different types of meditation and mindfulness, engaging with other physicians interested in integrative medicine, such as Deepak Chopra and Bruce Lipton. I noticed such a relief and incredible regulation of my anxiety while helping my son and stabilizing my family, that I decided to teach others my practice: Mindful Framing.
What types of meditations have you studied or practised, and what method do you mainly use or teach now?
I started practicing transcendental and vipassana meditation, but soon realized that I needed a more active mental activity driven by visualization, that led me to develop Mindful Framing, what I am currently practicing and teaching.
What is the greatest benefit you personally get from meditation?
Greatest benefit is to dedicate quality time to self-reflection, visualizing key aspects related to my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, achieving a significant improvement in all these key perspectives of my life.
Is it more useful for people to know many meditation techniques, or to learn one/few and focus efforts on practicing that one?
In my experience, each person should find the type of self-reflection practice most adequate for his way of thinking. For some people it may be to clear their mind of any thoughts, for others to focus on an object or to repeat a mantra. For my practice, the key is visualization, a very active mental engagement.
What do most students struggle with or get wrong?
First of all, expecting that meditation is going to be a quick fix for their struggles. Next to expect immediate results. Any practice of self-reflection requires dedication and practice, also understanding some background in regards to neuroscience and Eastern traditions. Ideally, any student should see this practice as a way to change and improve lifestyle.
Describe your ideal meditation session (location, length, outcome, etc).
I recommend to practice early in the morning, right after breakfast and before going to work or starting chores. Any familiar and cozy place.
What do you think about guided meditation vs non-guided self-practice? Is one better or preferred, or does it depend on the individual, their goals and how much experience they have?
I do not believe that guided meditation has much benefit. I think is a way to distract the mind with ideas or visualization proposed by others. In Mindful Framing, the student learns the practice and adapts it to their needs and character. The practitioner is his/her own producer, screenplay writer and director. Once learned, the movie is played every day, can be improved and changed, but it’s owned by the practitioner.
What misconceptions about meditation do you hear in the media or popular culture?
The hype about meditation being easy to practice and a way to resolve all types of struggles. I have developed Mindful Framing with a clear goal in mind: to manage stress and anxiety by regular practice and by introducing step-by-step changes in lifestyle. There is no easy and quick fix, it requires hard work and commitment.
What meditation books have you read and admired, re-read, or do you recommend to others (they can be directly or indirectly related to meditation)?
“Altered Traits” by Daniel Goleman; Several books by Deepak Chopra, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhardt Tolle and Bruce Lipton.
What books/courses/resources do you have available? What makes them special and how can they benefit a reader?
My book and audiobook are available at Amazon; there are blog posts and illustrations for coloring to help visualization at http://mindfulbook.org/; plus a facebook page and youtube channel with plenty of talks and videos.
How can readers get in contact with you or find out more?
My contact information is here: https://neochi.org/contact
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[This interview is an extract. You can see Oscar’s full interview, plus 29 more interviews, in the book How Do You Meditate? Interviews with 30 Meditation Teachers. Available from Amazon.]