Mindfulness meditation is a collection of meditation techniques we can use to help us to experience mindfulness. We need to practice these because the modern world, and our modern lives create a set of new responses to our experience that overrides mindfulness and leaves us in a complex world stretching into the past, into our complicated lives and also into many possible and even more complicated futures. This creates a mental burden that can become increasingly more difficult to bear as we become separated from our present moment experience and the drumbeat of our repetitive modern lives sounds constantly in our minds.
Mindfulness is ‘the undistracted awareness of the experience of the present moment’ (my definition). Mindfulness is a natural sensory experience of now that is deeply programmed into our brains as a way of staying calmly aware of our environment so that we can be quickly aware of threats or hazards. Mindfulness is not an effortful state. Your cat, when it walks across the lawn is acutely aware of all sound and movement and smell as it seems to stroll along nonchalant and relaxed. The tiniest movement or smell or sound and it is instantly frozen and scanning its environment to increase its awareness to ascertain if it is predator or prey that has caused the signal. The cat is experiencing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a natural trait that we share with other mammals.
Everyone meditates for a reason, and usually, for one of these three reasons: they may have a busy mind (possibly a worrying mind), they may be experiencing anxiety, or they may be experiencing stress.
Generally, people meditate in the hope that doing so will help them to become calmer, more relaxed and focused. They don’t want to change their lives, they just want to leave the stress, worry and anxiety behind. They want to find space in their overcrowded lives.
The Problem with Learning to Meditate
When we begin to learn to meditate, we inevitably bring these expectations to our training. If we learn to meditate in what I now call the ‘traditional’ way, which is trying to fit in a new regular daily practice at a set time and to meditate, usually noticing our breath, for ten or fifteen minutes or for longer, then these expectations will usually work against us.
Learning meditation with a busy life
Busy people normally have the busiest minds. Because of this, busy people instantly have a number of problems when they learn to meditate.
- Their busy mind will become busy while they sit quietly in meditation which may well cause them to be irritated and frustrated while they meditate.
- They will probably set up a competition with their mind to try to silence or calm it. This simply doesn’t work and usually makes meditation a seriously unsatisfactory experience.
- They may experience stress during meditation because for the first time in possibly a long time, they aren’t being distracted by their busyness of the contents of their minds and the mind will tend to wander to problems, incomplete tasks, worries etc.
- They will probably struggle to find the time to fit in this possibly uncomfortable new practice which will then have to compete with countless other activities, many of which may well have an immediate payoff.
- They will quite probably not experience more calmness, focus or relaxation in the early stages of their meditation practice.
So when meditation is taught in the traditional way, it is rarely adopted as a regular practice and is either stopped completely or drifts into the ‘nice to have in the future when I have the time’ category.
Learning to meditate the traditional way
I have taught meditation to more than 5,000 people over the last five years. Over 600 students have graduated from my courses. For most of this time, I taught in the traditional manner. I taught my students to meditate the way I learned. I advised them to sit and meditate for a set time each day, ideally in the morning, and learn to build and maintain their practice through self-discipline. I explained that if they fell out of the practice, then they just needed to find their way back in again and a lot of what I did, and still do, is designed to assist them in maintaining their practices.
Learning to meditate in the traditional way sets up an internal competition to remain focused. Mindfulness meditation is about building awareness and focus through repeatedly re-focusing on something like the breath or a mantra (some words or phrases we repeat) or a mandala (a visual focus).
When we try to focus our minds and it continually wanders, the Western mind inevitably makes the experience a goal-oriented, willpower based activity. This is simply because everything else is a goal-oriented, willpower based activity. The result of this is often an internal conflict and causes emotions like frustration and irritation.
Mindfulness Meditation for the Modern Mind
To counter this collection of quite common and perfectly human unhelpful responses to meditation in our busy lives we need a new set of tools designed specifically for the challenges of our modern mind.
You can learn, by attending this programme, how to find and build a sustainable practice which will help you learn how to cope with the challenges of our increasingly frantic and overwhelming lives.
You’ll learn the skills to:
- Reduce unhelpful thoughts and uncomfortable emotions
- Increase your well-being and happiness
- Learn how to reduce the impact of difficult experiences
What you will get from the training
- The ‘more than just mindfulness’ podcast
- Intensive in-person training
- Key meditation and mindfulness practices
- Stress management techniques
- Emotional resilience techniques
- Supporting information
- Online video clips
- Guided online meditation MP3s
- E-book recommendations, scientific papers, news articles, literature and references
- A springboard for your personal development or further study
- Membership of the Bromley Mindfulness student community which is an active community of engaged students. We run social events of all sorts over the course of the year.
- Telephone, text or email support
*Note that sessions are subject to rescheduling or cancellation but the passes can be used at any of our regular meditation classes and do not expire.
||The Modern Mind
||Meditation – the design, history and purpose
||Mindfulness in the modern world
||Learning to meditate the traditonal way
||Meditating the Modern Way
||Freedom from the Modern Life
||Freedom from the Modern World
||Freedom from the Modern Mind
– The passes don’t need to be used by any date and can be used at any future Bromley Mindfulness meditation classes.
– There is no need to book, you can just turn up.
£10 pay on the day
4 Class Pass (doesn't expire)
No need to book, just turn up.
8 Class Pass (doesn't expire)
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