Hello to all our participants who joined us for our Peace of Mind -Monthly Gatherings!
How lovely to see so many new and not so new attendees at our July workshop!
The morning started with a story. Telling the group about how my mindfulness practice came in very handy on the ‘said’ morning. It was quite an experience to find the room that had been arranged the previous night with chairs, cushions, flip chart and lots of bits and bobs to create a relaxed environment – all seemingly to have vanished! While a bit of detective work eventually revealed the mix up, the room had to be re-organized within twenty minutes. Phew! Isn’t that life though? We think we have everything under control then out of the blue the unexpected happens! At such times I can honestly tell you I am very genuinely glad to have the skills of mindfulness ‘inbuilt’ to deal with the many situations that arise.
I started the morning with a chat on what we were offering to those attending monthly gatherings. The first pointer was towards creating a space where people could come to relax, shake off the busyness of the world and to experience the feeling of ‘being’ with themselves without the add on of being mother, wife, daughter, husband etc. We become so attached to our various roles that having the space to be with yourself can be a revelation in many ways!. Various topics and discussions are part of the monthly gatherings. Dealing with subjects from self regulating stress/anxiety to cultivating deeper spiritual insight and awareness. The introduction to gentle chi-qong movements as part of the move towards body awareness seem to be going down a treat! My rendition of a person who was suffering from ‘over efficiency’ when talking about our ‘doing nature’ was perhaps acted out a tad too far. But there you go… I will try to restrain myself next time…no guarantees though! Who was it said humor makes for good medicine!
We started the morning with a topic that somehow felt appropriate towards understanding how and why it can be difficult (even with best intentions!)to integrate mindfulness into every day life. I suggested we go back towards our history and the fundamental way in which we were taught and accepted information. For many it was through a mechanical approach whereby we ‘ digested information’ We learned by ‘instruction ‘memorizing’ rote learning and programming as such. We were influenced and still are to some degree by ingesting information readily from society and family history. This type of learning often leading towards dismissing the use of our creative thinking mind which leads to our own comprehension and understanding of why we think and act as we do. Thus our perception towards how we relate to ourselves and to the world around us can in general be quite limited or what I refer to as ‘flat’. We loose the aliveness and richness in understanding the deeper meaning relating to our magnificent lives. I feel its safe to suggest that when we are not growing in mind and spirit we tend to stagnate which often results in many ailments from low mood (depression) to feeling stuck psychologically.
From a mindfulness perspective…. you must go to the well yourself! In other words ‘you’ are in the driving seat. We experience directly the stories we tell ourselves, the critic we listen to inside our mind we develop an awareness that see’s through our limited views. As we continue our understanding and practice of mindfulness we develop and cultivate our own direct experiences to awakening to living more presently in the world. Understanding and experiencing how our thoughts patterns and behaviors keep us stuck Learning from a cognitive and ‘direct experiential approach’ is where scientists today see how change is indeed taking place in the neurological mechanisms of the brain as we learn how to navigate our own minds. The practice of mindfulness within a group structure is self evident in supporting the environment of the individual and group as a whole. The nature of the tree is supported by its many environs such as the soil, the rain and sun to support its growth. We too, as human beings, gain much by the support of each other in our quest to arrive at deeper insight and understanding of how and why we relate to our lives.
We ended our session with a guided meditation on developing concentration of mind with learning to accept the ongoing nature of our thoughts patterns and behaviors. We become our own Sherlock Homes as we investigate the wonder of our mind and spirit. Developing the skill to have patience and kindness towards the busy mind while noting we have choice to return to the present moment is a rewarding experience.
Thanks to Rita ( 2!) for her encouraging story regarding her house move and the benefits of how her practice helped and supported her through the ups and downs associated with such a big change! It’s always a great opportunity to hear someone talk about their ‘live’ experience in using their practice to support a better outcome in such situations.
Please do pass this piece around to friends, family and people whom you think may benefit from the reading it.
Date for next Peace of Mind Monthly Gatherings : August 26th (Saturday)