Mindful (Definition)● Attentive or heedful● Keeping aware● Bearing in mind● “While thus unmindful of his steps he stumbled” - George Bernard Shaw.
Paying attention on purpose- Jon Kabat-Zinn (1944-)
The faculty of voluntarily bringing back awandering attention over and over again, isthe very root of judgement, character andwill […] An education which shouldimprove this faculty would be theeducation par excellance.- William James (1842-1910)
Mindfulness is to be fullyhuman, fully present, fully here and now.
● We spend all our lives stuck in our ideas about how we think things should be that we are constantly missing how things actually are.● Why would we want to see how things actually are? Because they are like it whether we like it or not.● We let go of fixed ideas and rest in the present moment.
All the worlds cultures are now available tous […] Knowledge is now global. This meansthat, also for the first time, the sum total ofhuman knowledge is available to us – theknowledge, experience, wisdom andreflections of all human civilisations –premodern, modern and postmodern – areopen to study by anyone.- Ken Wilber (1949-)
● Vipassana means to see things as they really are (rather than how you think they should be).● It cultivates attention so we can observe our thoughts and compassion so that we can accept them.● Modern Mindfulness is the fusion of ancient practical wisdom & modern science.
Mindfulness & Modern Audiences● Available to anyone● Practice based with simple techniques● No beliefs or lifestyle changes required● Places responsibility for your life in your own hands● Backed up by scientific research
● Olympic Athletes● Soldiers, CIA and the Military● Google and other Multinational Corporations● Schools and Education programmes● Hospitals● Prisons● Scientists● Politicians● Anyone interested in more skilful ways to relate to their thoughts, feelings and emotions
Neuroscience & Meditation● Neuroplasticity: The Dynamic Brain● The brain changes based on how it is used● If you are stressed on a daily basis you are hardwiring your brain for stress● What we pay attention to is what we feed the brain● How we use our brain on a daily basis effects how we use our minds and how we use our minds (i.e. what we think) effects our brain● So how are we using our minds?
You cant stop youre brain from changing.The only question is: are you getting thechanges you want?- Rick Hanson
Mindfulness & Medicine ● 300-400 scientific papers on Mindfulness are published each year ● The evidence shows it to be effective for a wide range of issues ● Mindfulness is now recommended by Gps and the NHS ● Almost three quarters of Gps think it would be beneficial for all patients to learn Mindfulness skillsalmost three-quarters of GPs think it would be beneficial for all patients to learn mindfulness meditation skills.
● It produces long-term positive changes in the shape of your brain● reduces chronic pain, anxiety & depression, prevents relapse & improves emotional disposition● Boosts immune system● Reduces effects of skin diseases like psoriasis● Improves relationships● Increases self-awareness● Enhances focus, concentration and performance● Enhances creativity● Combats the ageing of the brain● Improves memory● Helps with sleep● Mindfulness Meditators are happier than non-meditators● Can help you become more compassionate and understanding
Why Meditate?● Why meditate rather than go to the gym?● Meditation is the only activity where we are consciously choosing to do nothing.● It is the only activity where we can observe the mind without using the mind.● As the volume of our thoughts becomes less, our natural stillness of mind begins to take over.
To Think or Not to Think● Thinking is the default setting of the mind● Without thinking, how would we live?● Meditation is not about trying to stop thinking altogether but to discover a new relationship to our thoughts.● Mindfulness of thoughts leads to Mindful thinking
There is surely nothing other than than thesingular purpose of the present moment. Amans whole life is a succession of momentafter moment. If one fully understands thepresent moment, the will be nothing else todo, and nothing else to pursue. - Yamamoto Tsunetomo
● We spend most of our time living from the neck up.● We relate to ourselves through a veil of ideas, beliefs and concepts rather than our raw moment to moment experience● When we live disconnected from our sensations and emotions we feel disconnected, isolated, unreal● When we feel alive we naturally feel happy & content & at peace with ourselves.● Paying attention to our raw experience can transform the way we relate to ourselves
● In the East, Mind and heart are interchangeable. To practice mindfulness is to practice heartfulness● Without cultivating compassion, self- acceptance, understanding, tolerance and patience we cannot have peace of mind● When we truly understand ourselves we truly understand others● Compassion fatigue in the news
Care and compassion are what mattermost. We respond with humanity andkindness to each persons pain.- NHS ConstitutionHealing empathy.- Prince Charles
We cannot fake compassion,empathy and understanding, but wecan grow it.We remove emotional & mentalobstacles not by opposing them butby loving them to death.
Conclusion● We can train our attention to be here and now● Where our attention goes, our life goes● We can reprogramme the brain with happiness rather than fear, insecurity & stress.● We enjoy a more expansive & free life, deeply connected with our raw physical sensations● We discover the natural peace of awareness● We increase our compassion for ourselves and all other beings● We become more resilient to the ups and downs of being human● Mindfulness is a daily practice, not a miracle cure● From practice comes deep insight which then informs our practice further. This is an upward spiral of understanding.