Just under a month to go – still places available for both the weekend and the 5 day option

“Who are you?” You might ask, “to be claiming to be a mindfulness teacher”

Hello everyone, hope you had a good summer. Here’s a pic of me last week sitting practice “on the rocks” in the Ardeche – cool way of being in a heat wave?

I still have a brief chance to remind you that the next eight-week mindfulness courses in Ipswich and Woodbridge that I will be teaching starting on Monday,25’th and Tuesday 26’th of September. www.martinwilks.com/the-next-mbct

“Who are you?” You might ask, “to be claiming to be a mindfulness teacher”

Indeed, you might ask the question of anyone offering a mindfulness course. There are suddenly a lot around – and many more in an online form, or as an app.

The thing is, there are as yet no formally recognised training routes, no final qualifications, no official accreditations. Anyone can claim to be a mindfulness teacher – indeed, my facebook feed this morning has just enticed me with “want to offer your own mindfulness trainings – download this free pdf that tells you how” from an outfit called Positive Psychology!

Some professions: lawyers, architects, GP’s are state regulated to attempt to ensure high standards of training and practice – my own is! As a chartered psychologist I was required to undergo many years of post-grad education, supervised practice, scrutiny and inspection. Not so with mindfulness – regardless of my own rigourous & sustained training in mindfulness since the mid 80’s, there’s nothing to stop a reader of that pdf putting some slick marketing together (perhaps it comes with the pdf?) and offering an attractive (cheaper) alternative.

It’s a big investment – doing an 8 week mindfulness course: your time, your money, your commitment to weekly practice. And, potentially, it is a huge, lifelong return on that investment. So how can you ensure that both the teacher and the teachings are authentic?

Most academic routes towards training require an initial 8 week course followed by at least 2 years of formal daily practice development. Various trainer development levels are achieved following on to an MSc. in study and practice that can take up to 6 years. At this level trainees undertake supervision with senior practitioners, and with student peer groups examining their teaching style as they apprentice with recognized teachers. Attendance at 7-10 day silent mindfulness meditation retreats is recommended – at least annually.

Engage in dialogue with a ‘would be’ teacher – it may be difficult to question but an authentic teacher will be able to answer without being defensive. Ask, is the person known to the local community as a mindfulness teacher? Is he/she in supervision?

In Suffolk we have a mindfulness teachers’ peer support group. A chance to recognize and stand-by each others work and develop best practice guidelines – early days, but taking an initiative to safeguard the quality and integrity of teaching this approach to wellbeing about which we all feel so passionate.

What should you pay for an 8 week course? Pay what it is worth to you! That’s no joke – most of my earliest teachings were offered on the basis of dana – the teachings were considered to be priceless and so no price was put upon them, donations were simply invited. That’s challenging in this secular consumerist society – I follow the same practice as I do as a Psychologist offering counselling, psychotherapy, mediation – pitch my fees at the lower end of the market rate and offer flexibility to those who are in genuine financial hardship.

Give me a call?

Joining us for the autumn 8 week mindfulness course?

Working as a psychologist with mindfulness informed models of psychotherapy is deeply satisfying work. Working in dialogue with people towards finding their own internal resilience against repeated episodes of those all too common, human challenges: of depression, anxiety, stress, and addictive self-defeating patterns of behaviour is rewarding and it is a privilege to be in a position to help.

But I also get great satisfaction – of meaning and purpose – in offering the 8 week mindfulness training groups to members of the public, and to professionals interested in learning more about the power of mindfulness in promoting health and well-being. I have been teaching these eight-week courses in the Suffolk coastal District since 2004 and currently offer two courses running in parallel; one from Framfield house medical centre in Woodbridge, and the other from Quay place in Ipswich (see details below) They run three times a year: the New Year, spring, and autumn – following the pattern of the school terms. We are currently recruiting for the September courses.

Since the publication of the “Time”, January 2014 in the U.S. led with a front-page cover of a blissful looking young woman meditator and the phrase “the mindfulness revolution” in heavy block capitals, it has been becoming abundantly clear that this as a form of mind training and personal development has caught the public imagination – and is becoming part of our big institutions and corporations hopes to keep their workforces content and productive.

Whether or not this generation of  adults will take the initiative to seek training – or stumble across it perhaps as a component of their treatment for a mental health condition – the next generation will have some familiarity as they step forwards into the chaotic, driven competitiveness of contemporary adult life. Mindfulness programs are being made available at both primary and secondary level as well as in higher education and I suspect it will not be long before mental health and well-being education takes its place in the curriculum alongside P.E.

It is vitally important, – as we grow as communities of people who have learned to observe and manage better their inner experiences – that we turn our mindful attention to our institutions, corporations, – indeed our very systems of political and economic exchange – in order to create working and living environments that are less toxic, more nurturing. So – that’s the prize in the longer run, not just a means of patching us up to better cope with toxic conditions. Mindfulness taught holistically will encourage greater sanity at both personal and collective perspective.

So – seize the day, taste the coffee, smell the roses – all that, and much more. Consider – you, or someone you know – joining us this time? I’d be pleased to hear from you?

How mindfulness can help the shift towards a more sustainable society

The cover story functions as a good call to action – AND, if you follow the suggested links in the article you’ll find a wealth of research papers supporting the proposition as something substantially more than wishful thinking.

This is where I find the deeper seam of inspiration for ongoing personal practice, teaching and community building


Source: How mindfulness can help the shift towards a more sustainable society

Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

Source: Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

In a recent blog from Christopher Titmuss: The current boom in mindfulness/self-compassion/well-being neglects the dynamics of the inner-outer circumstances.

External Conditions for Stress

The Buddha made it clear that mindfulness applies to outer circumstances, as well as the inner life.

We direct mindfulness to external conditions to work to resolve the widespread social epidemic of stress.

The current boom in mindfulness/self-compassion/well-being neglects the dynamics of the inner-outer circumstances.

  • The current culture of mindfulness falls into the self-help category.
  • External conditions have an immense impact on the human condition.
  • The Buddha endorsed the exploration of the causes for stress. He never took the view that we create our own stress.
  • Feeling good about oneself through lowering of personal stress makes a small contribution to real change.
  • Our empowerment to act takes priority.


1.    Backbiting
2.    Behaviour of another (s)
3.    Being compared to others
4.    Blame
5.    Chemicals
6.    Contract work rather than regular employment
7.    Corruption
8.    Debts
9.    Demands on punctuality
10.   Demotion
11.    Dependency on name and reputation
12.    Dependency on winning and defeating others
13.    Dismissal
14.    Downward pressure on prices for the self-employed
15.    Exploitation
16.    Expulsion
17.    Facing disciplines
18.    Failure to reach targets
19.    Family dynamics
20.    Fear of Judgement, fear of punishment
21.    Health and safety issues
22.    Insecurity in the workplace
23.    Junk food
24.    Long working hours
25.    Loss of resources
26.    Low hourly rates
27.    Personal relationships
28.    Pollution. noise, air etc
29.    Pressure in travel
30.    Pressure to achieve goals
31.    Profits and Loss
32.    Rejection
33.    Surveillance of staff and the public

The power of behavioural flexibility

Hello Life Loungers

Do you want a place at the next Life Lounge on Thurs 13th April – if you have not yet booked your place just simply send me an email. We are delighted to welcome Mindfulness teacher Martin Wilks as our guest presenter.

Perhaps you know the serenity prayer: “Give me the courage to change that which can be changed, the serenity to accept that which cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

Powerful and insightful words. What if you had method for personal development that promoted this kind of behavioural flexibility.


Martin will be showing us a model that integrates six core processes to optimise flexibility. They help us change our behaviour so we can live our lives with purpose and meaning, and in line with our values.


Martin will introduce to the 6 core processes via ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Training) – an integration of Mindfulness and CBT which is more than the sum of its parts. This will be a taster ahead of a two-day experiential introduction workshop in Ipswich in the autumn.


Simply email to book your place:  coaching@innerconfidenceforwomen.co.uk


April 13th 7 – 9 pm at Quay Place (drinks available from 6.45 for a £1 donation to Suffolk Mind). £10 on the door


Best wishes from The Life Lounge Team


Simple, useful and a quick readThree types of mindful attention and 9 areas of application in daily life | Dr Patrick Gwyer | Pulse | LinkedIn

Source: Three types of mindful attention and 9 areas of application in daily life | Dr Patrick Gwyer | Pulse | LinkedIn

The Place Beyond Hope and Fear « The Berkana Institute

This is a great article; especially for those for whom the “dashing” of hope feels exhausting

Source: The Place Beyond Hope and Fear « The Berkana Institute

Do Mindful People Have a Stronger Sense of Self? | Greater Good

An interesting idea to explore “in person” ?

Mindful people might be happier because they have a better idea of who they are, suggests a new study.

Source: Do Mindful People Have a Stronger Sense of Self? | Greater Good