Following on from this article, I need to clarify a bit more about what “being mindful” means:
Most people come to mindfulness through an app, a magazine, little books in stationary shops or social media.. sadly it is often depicted as ‘relaxation’ or ‘doing nothing’ or just being present.
People may listen to an app, feel more calm and then they come across an inner or outer difficulty, they loose the ‘calm’ feeling and react. Or they are told to ‘sit and breathe’ but they haven’t learnt how to handle emotions and thoughts arising in a mindful way.
Mindfulness training does of course train the mind to step out of automatic pilot and be more present, more often, but that’s only one part of it.
Authentic mindfulness training with a trained teacher helps you to develop an embodiment of mindfulness, which permeates all aspects of life and is always available when you need it.
It gives you the skills, practical tools and practices to train the mind to be more aware and also to develop a new way of relating to experiences (body sensations, pain, thoughts, emotions and outer events), with particular attitudes (ie. kindness, openness and acceptance). Cultivating this new relationship with self and others results in more skilful responses rather than our usual ways of reacting and making things worse in the process.
It helps us to create more space between us and our thoughts so we can attend to them skilfully, rather than being caught up by them, overwhelmed or dragged into a downward spiral.
These changes don’t happen overnight. It takes time and regularity just like with any training. For this reason, evidence-based courses are 6 to 8 weeks, followed by ongoing support.
I think it’s important to add these few points. With the increase in mental health issues more people would benefit from genuine mindfulness training if they knew what it truly entails – when it is recommended and when it is not, and how it can help them.
My intention is to keep the integrity of mindfulness and to provide safe, recognised courses – give people lifelong skills to reduce suffering and increase wellbeing.
“We can’t stop the waves but we can learn to surf“
Sandrine – Mindfulness Midhurst