What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a 2,500-year-old practice that has been adapted in modern medicine by the seminal work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Through numerous research studies on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR), they have been consistently documented as profoundly beneficial for the treatment and prevention of stress, emotional distress, chronic pain and illness.
Through mindfulness meditation we expand and refine the sensitivity of individual awareness which is key to successful implementation of cognitive/behavioural skills in our lives.
It is about being awake and aware - living in the present - rather than stuck in dwelling in the past or anticipating the future. This observing, non-judging perspective enables one to consciously respond with clarity and focus, rather than react out of a habitual pattern.
Mindfulness practice offers an invitation to move towards greater balance, choice and participation in life. Through the cultivation of skills, attitudes and knowledge we learn how to bring acceptance and curiosity to all of our experience – sensations, thoughts, emotions and actions, and the situation we are in. This way of seeing can free us up to respond with more clarity and wisdom, rather than acting out of habitual patterns. It opens up the possibility of more authority in our own lives and ways of working wisely and compassionately with difficulties in life so we can choose what is nourishing for ourselves and others.
Want a quick fix?
Most of us busy humans don't like it but change takes take time! Therefore MBSR unfolds over 8 weeks and beyond - with 2.5 hour sessions plus a whole day retreat and with quite a bit of home practice.
Mindfulness is not just a good idea or a simple set of cognitive techniques but involves changing habits of mind and body. Change happens through practice and the evidence suggests that eight weeks provides the time for new cognitive, emotional, neurological and behavioural changes to become embedded. Our experience is that practice is most effectively developed in a sustainable manner when there is an ongoing personal relationship with a teacher who really knows their stuff.
Mindfulness is everywhere lately and there are lots of promises about a quick fix. You will see many short courses now that claim to be 'based on MBSR' or 'based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn' and also drawing on the MBSR research-base to support their advertising - when this is not evident in the structure of that course or the experience of the teacher. We encourage you to do some research to find out what will best meet your needs and interest in mindfulness training.
Our day-to-day choices about where and how we place our attention, really matter. Come and see what an eight week mindfulness course can do for you