“It’s not so much about having a new experience but seeing our experience in a new way.
It’s not about living in a changed world rather seeing the world in a changed way.”
Life inevitably contains both joys and strains. Often we are so busy trying to juggle our responsibilities, meet all the demands and cope with the strains that the joys don’t get much space. Most of us spend a lot of time in auto-pilot, which at times is incredibly useful, however it often means we miss out on right now as we’re busy focusing on wishing we’d chosen a faster queue or worrying about work tomorrow. Often we are not aware of how much thinking is going on, or how negative some of this thinking can be, undermining our confidence, predicting the worst case scenario, making assumptions about what other people think, evaluating ourselves.
Mindfulness brings awareness to this process and in doing so offers another way of being, a place of stillness, a different way of approaching life, and more awareness of the choices that are available to us. Mindfulness practice also offers us a valuable way of reducing stress and taking better care of ourselves.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness: “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally to things as they are.”
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, of being more attuned to ourselves, the environment, and those around us. We will all have experienced moments of mindfulness, when we’re completely absorbed in and engaged in an activity with a sense of aliveness and heightened awareness, maybe during a walk on the beach, watching the sunset, playing with a child or really laughing with a friend. It’s a natural state of mind but without purposefully cultivating this, these moments are often rare. Through practicing Mindfulness we can learn to come into this mode of being more often and at will, to gain more enjoyment in our lives and to help us manage difficult times in a way which neither pushes away the difficulties nor results in us being overwhelmed by them. Being mindful can enrich our lives by making us more alive in each moment, we can access a sense of stillness even within the storms of life which allows us the space to make wiser choices.
Mindfulness can be learned and practiced by anyone, regardless of experience. The course is not affiliated to any particular religious beliefs and should not cause any conflict with existing belief systems, please let me know if you have any concerns about this and I am happy to discuss it further. Some of the practices arise from the contemplative traditions, particularly Buddhism, but this is a secular course. The course also includes elements of gentle yoga, qi gong, cognitive behavioural therapy and findings from research into neurophysiology and the effects of stress in the body.