What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of being. At its core, mindfulness is all about attention and awareness, human capacities that are innate in all of us. Jon Kabat-Zinn, designer of the foundational Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program describes mindfulness in this way: ‘the awareness that arises when you pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally, and as if your life depended on it’.
Mindfulness training is the cultivation of a resource that is already ours since awareness is a capacity that we are born with. The researched – based training is about learning to become familiar with the being mode of the mind that we may be unfamiliar with. The invitation of the practices is to be present for your experience as it is without wanting it to be different or to change it in anyway before you have had a chance to really know all of what is here.
I invite you to listen to and watch the following videos for an experience and understanding of what is possible through this way of being
What is MBSR?
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)is a blend of meditation, mind and body awareness, and movement such as simple yoga and walking. Through consistent practice and study you learn how your body experiences, responds to and can resolve stress neurologically. The 8 week foundational program teaches and supports one in the establishment and maintenance of an ongoing practice that cultivates both formal and informal mindfulness in one’s every day life. While it is possible to learn mindfulness on one’s own, the guidance, support and knowledge of a well-trained teacher-practitioner at the beginning of this path cannot be underscored enough. MBSR is both a research based program and not a quick fix.
Benefits and Challenges of an MBSR
Through MBSR, you will learn skills that can increase your ability to:
- Cope better with stress, pain, and the challenges of everyday life
- Deal with difficult events with more grace and composure
- Be more fully present and alive in this moment
- Feel more relaxed and spacious
- Experience more connection with self and others
- Transform your life deeply
Research more and more indicates that mindfulness training can have a significant therapeutic effect in the areas of stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, migraines, heart conditions, diabetes and many other ailments. In addition, participants typically report feeling more alive, more centred, and more connected to themselves and others.
During an 8 week MBSR program you can expect to:
- commit to regular attendance and practice within the sessions and through homework during the week – practice is the key ingredient of the program
- give up things to make the time available to attend sessions and do the inter-week practice
- experience changes in you and your life
- be challenged to keep an open mind (for the duration of the program at least)
- deal with the stressors in your life
For more information on the program I invite you to watch MBSR-UMass Mindfulness Centre