MBSR is different from many other contemporary mindfulness offerings in a few ways. It is evidence-based - so you can rely on the process. And it is upfront about mindfulness not being a "quick fix". So it will require you to do some work in terms of practice to really explore how your own mind and body work. This will bring skills, knowledge and also wisdom as the program unfolds. Your teacher will speak with personally about your particular needs and interests before the course starts but here are some pointers about what to expect ~
So what to expect?
1. Expect to feel uncomfortable (initially)
Mindfulness practice invites us to pay attention to what is going on. So what you will meet in practice is your own mind and body. This is the very site
of your stress and distress – the anxiety, flatness, sense of unworthiness, worry about finances or the difficult teenager. So initially, you may feel
more of the discomfort you have been trying to avoid through busy-ness, drinking, positive thinking, or zoning out generally. This is a bugger,
but will soon pass.
2. Expect to give things up
It is improbable that you can just add an effective dose of mindfulness practice to an already busy life. During the eight weeks of your course, you might
need to deliberately choose to let go of some things that currently take up your time (phone addiction, the news, TV, Netflix or social media) so you
can get some practice under your belt.
3. Expect to feel more relaxed and spacious
The daily practice does affect the nervous system, and getting to know your own mind and body is deeply relieving. People report better sleep, less anxiety
and agitation, and a general sense of having more time and space to participate in their life in spontaneous and enjoyable ways.
4. Expect a change of mind
We spend so much time living in and from our mental maps – our stories – both personal and cultural. Mindfulness meditation practice
opens up the possibility of reflecting on these stories and seeing which of then holds water and which no longer make sense in your current context.
You will have an opportunity to update these old maps and perhaps see yourself and the world with fresh eyes.
5. Expect to deal with stuff
Through paying more attention, you may begin to notice how you use food, alcohol, exercise and devices to avoid moments of stasis, dullness, boredom, sadness
and grief, pain, anxiety and irritation – rather than dealing effectively and directly with those states. This knowledge is empowering. Avoiding things
and states takes a lot of energy and generates stress and procrastination. Becoming more robust, so that things can be faced and investigated, will
feel liberating and refreshing.
6. Expect to feel connected
The practice seems to open us up to a more empathic, open-hearted inquiry into the experience of ourselves, as well as the 'other' - whoever that may be in our lives. It seems to help us see others differently; not as an instrument to be used, but as a person to be honoured. There often develops an emerging sense that we are all in the same boat - all stressed, all wanting to find a way to thrive and participate in life. This sense of connection feels good for smart mammals like us, as it breaks down that subtle sense of isolation and alienation that so many people live with.
Timothea Goddard is recognised as a pioneer in bringing mindfulness interventions to Australia over the past 15 years.
For more information about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses and registration details, click HERE
Want to learn more about MBSR? Watch us on ABC Catalyst and iView on Tuesday 19th February 2019