Mindfulness Practice

To all intents and purposes, mindfulness practice underlies all aspects of my professional practice. As a principle mode of my own personal development for over 30logowithwords years, my daily meditation practice must surely inform and enhance my awareness in daily life! Well I hope and believe so – and I hope and believe likewise for those clients with whom I sense it is appropriate to share mindfulness practice techniques.

Quite some years ago (early 90’s) I created this logo for myself: an integration of the Buddhist Wheel of Life – the 8 spokes representing the 8 ‘noble’ steps on ‘The Path’ of skilful living, within which is embedded the symbol of psyche – itself an archetype from the ancient Greek tradition – here it is representing contemporary, empirically derived insights from psychology as an energetic, ever-expanding scientific community.Twenty years on, mindfulness is now becoming mainstream – not just in Buddhism where it has played a principle role for over 2500 years, not just in psychology where it is now recognised as a treatment of choice by the national institute for clinical excellence, (NICE) but also in education, prisons (in which I played a part in it’s promotion)  sports, life coaching and coaching in the business & corporate world, even – recently – having been introduced to the house of commons via workshops for diplomats and senior decision makers. It’s very satisfying to be working at a time when my professional and personal (spiritual) enthusiasms can coincide. Whilst working for 15 years as visiting Buddhist minister to prisons I guarded scrupulously against any temptation to proselytise; now I am putting my creative energies into a fully secularised translation of mindfulness principles I am happy to whole-heartedly promote this ‘paradigm shifting’ approach to psychological distress.

But on a cautionary note, I need to keep in mind that in those early teachings of the wisdom tradition from which contemporary mindfulness practices have recently emerged, ‘Right’ mindfulness was one inter-dependent ‘spoke’ of an 8 spoked wheel: one of three ‘spokes’ pertaining to mental discipline. There are also three spokes pertaining to ethical conduct and two pertaining to wisdom. And why do I need to keep this in mind? Well, when I lay claim to be an evidence-based practitioner, I’m not limiting myself merely to evidence derived by the (recent) scientific tradition. The Wisdom traditions carry centuries of authoritative teachings corroborated by generations of practitioners; the myths, symbols & stories of the Greek (and other cultural stories) provide archetypal ‘truths’ – as do timeless works of great fiction & drama: Shakespeare, Beowolf, Tristan & Isolde etc, etc.

Rich resources with which to address the body, heart, mind, soul and spirit of the human condition; it would be tragic to sideline all of this because science has yet to find a way to validate it. We human beings are much more than rational – we’re deeper than that. Thanks, though, to science for using the tools of empiricism to validate the effectiveness of mindfulness; to distill it out from the layers of quasi-magical shrouds rendering it obscured from a rationalist’s view, and for the burgeoning research programs finding ever expanding arenas for it’s application.

Some other relevant Mindfulness pages from my site:

My Mindfulness Blog Page : on ongoing roll of announcements, inspirational quotes etc.

www.facebook.com/Mindfulness.Suffolk …this facebook page is regularly updated, you’re welcome to join/like

Mindfulness of stress : An article on the Neuropsychology of the Stress reaction; explaining of the role of mindfulness in substituting a workable response in place of habitual reaction

And links to useful resources elsewhere:

The ‘Be mindful’ campaign – some great resources and compelling evidence to lend to the argument that mindfulness based approaches should be more commonly recommended by GP’s:

http://www.bemindful.co.uk/

A more general resource centre of information about mindfulness as an approach to well-being:
http://www.mindfulnet.org/

And the Bangor Institute for Mindfulness, the leading UK organisation for academic inquiry into mindfulness.
http://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/

 

And here’s my song sung in praise of mindfulness and present-centredness. It’s called “This Moment”

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