Welcome, to module 1. This module aims to enable you to understand what mindfulness is.
This course is broken into a series of modules and lessons. On each module page you’ll find a table, just like the one below, where you can see the lessons available to you, and access the content.
To get started, simply click on the first lesson in the list.
When you have finished all of the lessons in the module, you’ll be returned to this page so that you can click “mark complete” under the table, and move to the next module.
In the following video Angie will guide you through the Feet on Floor, Body on Chair (FOFBOC) practice (2.43 mins)
You can also try this different, slightly longer version of FOFBOC (3.56 mins)
In your journal...
After each practice spend a little time, perhaps a minute or two, in reflection, noticing what the experience was like, asking yourself questions such as those listed below.
You may want to make a note of these questions in your journal for ease of reference.
- What did you notice inside your body?
- Did you notice where in your body you felt emotions?
- Were you aware of what was happening in your mind?
- How did you react when you noticed what your mind was doing?
- Did bringing awareness to your thoughts change your experience?
- Is there a familiar pattern emerging here?
- Can you identify your experience with other areas of your life, your relationships for example?
- How do you think it would feel to bring compassion in here?
- How could you transfer what you have learnt through this practice to benefit your life?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about moving away from a thinking-based way of living into a more direct and immediate connection with our ordinary everyday experience. By noticing the small moments of joy in our everyday, present moment experiences, we can start to find a place of balance and equilibrium.
"I will never apologise for embracing joy and beauty -- even when the world is falling apart -- because joy and beauty are my fuel for activism." -- Karen Walrond, The Lightmaker's Manifesto
Mindfulness means paying attention…
…in a particular way:
in the present moment
(Jon-Kabat Zinn, 2016)
…to what’s happening in the present moment
in the mind, body and external environment,
with an attitude of curiosity and kindness.
(The Mindful Nation Parliamentary Report October, 2015)
This kind of awareness nurtures greater appreciation, clarity and acceptance of present- moment reality. Often within these present moment realities there are opportunities for joy- a smile, someone making you a cup of tea or feeling what it’s like to feel alive!
Core Features of Mindfulness
- Being present
- Developing attention
- Coming out of autopilot
- Responding rather than reacting
- Creating space
- Becoming less judgemental
- Enhancing compassion
- Letting go and accepting what is
- Finding perspective
Benefits of Mindfulness
The Benefits of Mindfulness
‘Here and now’ - The practice of Mindfulness enables us to interact with life and those around us in a more responsive, skilful and relaxed manner. We feel more content, joyful and happier and our experiences of the pleasurable things in life are deepened and enriched. Less of our time is spent in “automatic pilot” and more of our time in the “here and now”.
‘Respond as opposed to react’ - The results of paying attention to the “here and now” can be significant and even profound. We notice some space around our thoughts and emotions and they no longer seem all-consuming. This new and greater perspective gives us the potential to consciously and with awareness respond to our thoughts and emotions as opposed to simply reacting, and to reflect on whether they are helpful or true. Recognising and coming to terms with our mind can be a joy.
‘Habits’ - We can see more clearly where turning to face life’s challenges may be appropriate, and where habitual patterns of turning away and non-engagement may not be. When we become comfortable with this process, it gives us the opportunity to dissolve the barriers that are blocking us which gives us the opportunity to open up to more joyful experiences too.
‘Healthy acceptance’ - Greater equanimity can arise as a response of this process; events that we find challenging and difficult don’t seem quite so significant. We gain a greater acceptance of our current situation, which can give us the inner tools to both change that which is necessary and learn to be content with what we can’t or don’t wish to change.
‘Self-kindness’ - The self-Compassion and kindness inherent in giving ourselves the time to undertake a daily Mindfulness practice can be a catalyst for greater kindness and Compassion in itself and implies a commitment to our own joy, happiness and well-being.
‘Letting go’ - Mindfulness gives us the ability to let go – let go of stress and anxiety, of the constancy of thinking, of reliving the past or pre-living the future. The conditions that cause the stress and anxiety may well still exist, but we can relate to them in a more peaceful, harmonious and relaxed way which decreases our unhappiness and discontent.
These benefits relate to the effects of Mindfulness on attitudes and habits. There have been numerous research studies highlighting the benefits of regular Mindfulness practice, as follows:
Reduced stress and anxiety
Greater calmness and clarity
More effective concentration
Increased resilience in difficult situations
Improved listening skills
Improved ability to quieten the chattering mind
Increased ability for lateral thinking and creative solutions to problems
Greater self-awareness and awareness of others
Reduced heart rate
Lower blood pressure
Better breathing patterns
Strengthening of immune system
Improved confidence and self-esteem
Ability to be kinder to oneself and others
Increased empathy and Compassion
Heightened awareness of the body leading to recognition and release of pain
We are human beings not human doings.
The meditation line is helpful in describing what happens during mindfulness practice to the thoughts, racing off in different directions.
In the following video Karen will take you through the meditation line concept. (5.16 mins)
Practice: Living in the Now
What’s gone has made you what you are
So don’t fear what’s ahead
Put trust in what will be, will be
And choose to live instead
Don’t live in the now worrying
What may or may not be
Take this moment in your time
And live it totally
There’s no time like the present
Breathe deep and feel alive
Living in the here and now
Will help you rise and thrive
Now is all there ever is
It’s the only time that’s real
Let the future take its course
And leave the past to heal