Mary, who leads mindfulness sessions across Maggie's London Centres, has put together some information about using mindfulness as a way to support you to access steadiness in this current time of increased uncertainty and difficulty. She will also be adding some videos to our main website of her own sessions. We will post more details as they become available.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a skill which involves learning to pay attention more consciously, in the present moment to what we are doing and experiencing with a quality of openness and affectionate curiosity. So the way we pay attention is imbued with qualities and attitudes that support kindliness and tenderness. Through the practice of mindfulness we can train the mind to settle somewhat and gain skills in stepping back and being less reactive and hooked in the belief of unhelpful thoughts and mood states.
A fundamental aspect of mindfulness training is gaining steadiness, anchoring down, and grounding so we are less likely to be carried away by and entangled in all those catastrophic thought and overwhelming emotions. Mindfulness is not about stopping and pushing away the difficult thoughts and emotions, it involves acknowledging that they too are here, it involves creating space to acknowledge they are present and to stay steady as best we can alongside them.
The practice of mindfulness involves a willingness to be with what is here, the pleasantness and an appreciation for all that is lovely and the unpleasantness and the difficult too. So we are not avoiding what is challenging and not wanted. Currently anxiety, worry, fearful thoughts and emotions will be present, this comes with the multiple layers of all that is uncertain and unpredictable right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please know there is a lot that we can do to support ourselves and our loved ones in the face of this storm. I invite you to do some very simple mindfulness practices to help
resource you to gain some steady ground.
The first mindfulness practice is called taking a pause; it just may allow a little in-between space in order to interrupt the pull into another wave of overwhelming thoughts and
emotions. Why not give it a go right now:
Taking a Pause
“Creating a clearing in the dense forest of your life” Martha Postlewaite
The Practice of Taking a Pause
We have generally strong conditioning not to STOP. Taking a pause, invites you to consciously and deliberately stop. How about simply giving yourself permission to Pause. Taking a pause right now… and just inviting the possibility of stopping whatever you are doing momentarily.
Allowing yourself to Pause … Inviting yourself to inhabit this Pause by taking 3 deep breaths… feeling each breath individually… and creating space to be present with each breath…
Inviting yourself to be here kindly and gently within the space created by taking a Pause.
This very short and simple practice can be weaved into your day, which can disrupt the automatic and reactive habits of mind. It only takes one minute… allowing you to find the in between spaces in your day.
(Adapted by Mary from Tara Brach’s Sacred Pause).
Walking meditation practice
The second mindfulness practice is a walking meditation practice:
Have a look at the links below to instructions and guidance from mindfulness meditation teachers Jack Kornfield and Eluned Gold and psychologist Tara brach
Tara Brach https://www.tarabrach.com/walk...
and Jack Kornfield https://jackkornfield.com/walk...
As well as Eluned Gold from the Centre of Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University https://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindf...
In response to the current stormy climate some key mindfulness organisations have responded by offering some virtual mindfulness meditation sessions and talks, here are a
Oxford Mindfulness Centre:
The OMC is offering weekly online mindfulness sessions which are free and you do not need prior mindfulness experience or practice to take part. Don’t miss a lead meditation practice and talk by, one of my favourite mindfulness meditation teachers Chris Cullen – The Theme is: Finding Steadiness in Uncertain Times, Wednesday 25th March, 7-8pm GMT:
I will definitely be joining in, Chris is so skilled and eloquent in they way he communicates, if you join in, I look forward to practising with you. What is additionally helpful is that the session will be available as a podcast shortly after the session, so it will be there as a resource. You might like to set an intention to do the meditation daily this week.
William Kuyken, the Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, writes a little something about keeping a cool head and a warm heart during this difficult time: https://oxfordmindfulness.org/...
Jon Kabit- Zinn The innovator of mindfulness based approaches, founder of the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine and author of Full Catastrophe Living is giving a talk, you need to book your place:
Breathworks Access a free mindfulness course designed to help cope with the stress and strain of Covid19. The course includes a range of tips to help all of us work with the mental and emotional reactions to so much uncertainty, as well as suggestions for how to cope practically with this new reality.
Cancer Support Specialist and Mindfulness Teacher at Maggie’s London Centres