Several exciting new experiments are cued up in the Lab, includingÂ The Lipstick Strategy and Too Hot Not to Cool Down (with apologies to Cole Porter), but for now it’s mostly mindfulness. More details over on the Experiments page.
Mindfulness course session 2Â of 8: being fully present
Ironically, given the topic for this weekâ€™s session, I was whollyÂ absent. (Having stayed at home to look after Raisin (my dog), who is recovering from a serious injury.)
According to the course handouts, the session covered â€˜dealing with barriersâ€™ â€“ specifically, the automatic tendency to experience everything in the light of an expectation or judgment about its meaning.
So, if we are not careful we automatically think things areÂ good or bad, or not what was wanted etc, giving rise to automatic thought patterns about what needs to be changed, done, fixed etc. I am not sure I understand why this is a problem â€“ the handouts suggest it limits the freedom to choose what, if any, action to take.
However, applying this not-judging to the body scan practice (introducedÂ last week, and continued as daily homework), is helpful. I have really struggled to concentrate on following the cd, and often, to stay awake. Â Now I know itâ€™s OK to lose concentration or fall asleep, which is a relief.
The course notes give a number of quotes from the Granddaddy of Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinnâ€˜s book Full Catastrophe Living.
Above all, we are cultivating the key attitude of kindnessâ€¦towards the practice, our experience and above all towards ourselves.
The session then looked at the mindfulness of breathing â€“ using breathing as a focus of attention.
Daily homework this week: body scan with cd; 10-15 mindful breathing; Â record feelings associated with a pleasant event;Â mindful routine activity.
Am I any closer to understanding what mindfulness is all about and how it might help me? Possibly. This sentence from the course notes was useful:Â Our aim in the programme is to be more aware, more often.Â
It is true, as I learnt from Ruby Wax, that if I am focusing all my attention on snowflakes falling (for example), the worry and frantic thought in my head shut right up for a minute. And thatâ€™s good. Waxo confido and all that.