There will not be a Mindfulness Course Autumn 2014 in St Mary Aldermary.
The New Economics Foundation published, in 2008, a review of the most up-to-date evidence on promoting wellbeing. ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing ‘ suggests the following five actions are important for wellbeing:
Connect with others, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning, Do something nice for someone.
The larger summary is worth reading on line but I’d like to focus on the bit about ‘taking notice’. They summarise this as,
‘Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Savour the moment, whether you are on the train, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.’
The accumulating research on the benefits of mindfulness formed a large part of the evidence for Taking Notice. By practicing mindfulness we start to take seriously how our mind/brain works. Mindfulness helps us step back from the endless chatter in our heads, the impulses, thoughts and automatic behaviours that influence so much of our behaviour. Our mind/brain, marvelous as it is, can be a real pain in the ..er.. head! Mindfulness helps us find a place of calm.
Mindfulness is all about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, moment by moment, with an open minded curiosity, acceptance and self compassion. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, thats why its called the present!
The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness. As Richard Rohr argues by organising life into convenient boxes we train our perception to miss out on the Real Thing. The practice of mindfulness is a big step on the way to clearer perception, calm and wellbeing.