Mindfulness is a way of deliberately attending and becoming aware of our living experience, as it occurs, that is engaged, non-critical and caring. Whatever body sensations, feelings, thoughts and events you experience, they are perceived as happening in the now, allowing for freshness and a sense of wonder. We all have this capacity to be mindful, it just needs to be cultivated, like learning to ride a bicycle, at first we ask someone to guide us on how to use the pedals and how to balance, than we put time aside for cycling until we master it.
“Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene
encounter with reality” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
It invites you to take a break from the constant doing and striving; to give yourself more time for just being with, co-participating with life. By coming back to the present moment time and time again, you can recognise when you get caught up by unhelpful repetitive thoughts or feelings, and gradually learn to release them.
“The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear
if it is done in mindfulness” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Over time with mindful practice, you learn to relate differently to stressful situations and respond creatively, feeling less overwhelmed and more balanced.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world,
we lose connection with one another – and ourselves” ~ Jack Kornfield
People from different cultural and religious traditions, including Buddhism, have trained and practised Mindfulness for thousands of years. During the last thirty years, Mindfulness has become internationally recognised.
In the UK, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence has recommended the 8-week Mindfulness training for implementation in the NHS. In October 2015, a government all-party report, ‘Mindful Nation UK’, recommends further implementation of Mindfulness training within the health, education, business and criminal justice systems.
Research shows that the 8-week mindfulness-based courses have several benefits:
Reduced feelings of stress, anxiety and depression
Improved attention and emotional regulation skills
Less physical tension, worrying and obsessing over things
Greater appreciation of what is pleasant and enjoyable in life
Improved relationship & connection to self and to those in one’s circle
Enhanced sense of well-being, purpose and motivation
The Mindfulness practices, presented on the courses like the "Mindful Living and Sustainable Wellness" one, are taught in a non-religious way and can be used by anyone of us. These include simple and effective meditation practices, movement and habit-releasing skills you can practice at home and at work, gradually integrating them in your life circumstances until it becomes natural for you to use them when needed.
"Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already" ~ Pema Chödrön