The practice of mindfulness and meditation

What is Mindfulness?

Often our minds are not really “with” us – they are remembering, regretting, planning, analysing, wishing for….…in the past or future….missing the present moment.

Mindfulness can be seen as a state of mind or a mental skill which is an antidote to the above. Simply, it is:

“full awareness and acceptance of the present moment experience”

Kabat- Zinn (1998), a pioneer of mindfulness based therapeutic approaches in the West, describes mindfulness as “paying attention, without judgement, to the experience of the present moment”.

The audio files for mediation are an aide to guide us in this endeavour.

Guidelines for practice

Audio files

Important

These forms of meditation are not suitable for those who have experienced psychosis or who are currently experiencing deep depression. If in doubt about this practice, please see a Counsellor.

If you begin to feel “lost” or extremely uncomfortable during the practice- bring yourself out of it. Open your eyes, move your body, reconnect with the physical world around you…

Senses and breath

When we practise mindfulness, we become more and more familiar with our mind, and in particular we learn to recognise the movement of the mind, which we experience as thoughts. Living in the past or in the future is our habit. We almost forget to live in the present moment.


Body scan

In this practice , the intention is simply to “drop into” your body and experience fully what is there.


Thoughts and feelings

In this practice, we continue to observe: we watch the activity of our minds, seeing the passing thoughts as “mental events”, rather than as very true or even very important!


Mindful Breathing

One type of mindfulness meditation is mindful breathing, where we are allow the attention to settle in one place, on the sensations of breathing. The aim of this meditation is not to focus on the breath, and to block everything else out, but rather to use breathing as a point to bring our attention back to when we notice that it has drifted away.


Loving Kindness

This is a directed meditation that invites us to cultivate a warmth, care, friendliness and kindness towards ourselves and others. It is a practice that helps heal emotional pain, supports our ability to tolerate suffering, and dismantle the hard walls or defences we create. This meditation is an antidote to the critic or judge that appears when we are clear sighted and observing ourselves through mindful meditation.

You are invited to listen to the “Introduction to Loving kindness” download before you move into the practice.


The 3 minute space

This meditation is a great way to break the “automatic pilot” we run on, and to come fully into our present moment: “what is my experience right now?”. The practice means we can “drop into” ourselves throughout our days, and with an awareness of our current condition, can make some wise choices and responses.