Hi welcome to Introduction to Mindfulness support website
This website is to complement the Minfulness 8 week program
Hi, welcome my name is Raymond Roberts HH Dip (M.I.) you have visited this page by invitation or as support for your guided meditations introduced throughout the 8-week program. If your journey, like mine, to Mindful Awareness or mindfulness has taken many years of being stuck in pain and suffering, wondering where to go, what to do...congratulations, your journey has just begun.
It is not what happens to us that causes suffering. Our suffering is caused by believing the stories our minds tell us about what happens to us.
Mindfulness This course will take you along a path that countless philosophers and practitioners have trodden in the past; a path that the latest scientific advances show really does dissipate anxiety, stress, unhappiness and feelings of exhaustion. Each meditation practice should, ideally, be carried out on six days out of seven. If, for whatever reason, you can't manage six sessions in any given week, you can simply roll over the practice and carry it out for a further week. Alternatively, if you've missed out a few sessions you can move on to the next week's practice. The choice will be up to you. It is not essential that you carry out the course in eight weeks, but it is important that you complete the program if you want to gain the maximum benefit and fully taste what mindfulness might offer you.
To be effective, mindfulness requires an embodied engagement on the part of anyone hoping to derive some benefit from it. Another way to put it is that mindfulness, is actually a practice. It is a way of being, rather than merely a good idea or a clever technique, or a passing fad. Indeed, it is thousands of years old and is often spoken of as ' the heart of Buddhist meditation,' although its essence, being about attention and awareness, is universal. The practice of mindfulness has been shown to exert a powerful influence on one's health, wellbeing and happiness, as attested to by the scientific and medical evidence. However, because it is a practice rather than merely a good idea, its cultivation is a process, one that of necessity unfolds and deepens over time. It is most beneficial if you take it on as a strong commitment to yourself, one that requires a degree of stick-to-it-ness and discipline, while at the same time, being playful and bringing to each moment, as best you can, a certain ease and lightness of touch – a gesture of kindness and self-compassion really. This lightness of touch, coupled with a steadfast and wholehearted engagement, is really a signature of mindfulness training and practice in all its various forms.
Chasing Your tail For over thirty years Oxford University and other institutions around the world have been studying anxiety, stress and depression. This work has discovered the secret to sustained happiness and how you can successfully tackle anxiety, stress, exhaustion and even full-blown depression. It's the kind of happiness and peace that gets into your bones and promotes a deep-seated authentic love of life, seeping into everything you do and helping you cope more skillfully with the worst that life throws at you. Many of us try so hard to be happy that we end up missing the most important parts of our lives and destroy the very peace that we were seeking. This program, based on the research findings, will help you understand where true happiness, peace and contentment can be found and how you can discover them for yourself. It will teach you how to free yourself progressively from anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion. We're not promising eternal bliss; everyone experiences periods of pain and suffering and it's naive and dangerous to pretend otherwise. And yet, it is possible to taste an alternative to the relentless struggle that pervades much of our daily lives. Mindfulness meditation is so beautifully simple that it can be used by the rest of us to reveal and innate joie de vivre, 'Joy of Life.' Not only is this worthwhile in itself, but it can also prevent normal feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness from spiraling downwards into prolonged periods of unhappiness and exhaustion – or even serious clinical depression.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present
JUST BEGIN: Start where you are. This is very important. Meditation practice is not about later.
PRACTICE: When you go to a restaurant, you don't eat the menu, nor are you nourished by listening to the waiter describe the food. You have to actually eat the food for it to nourish you. In the same way, you have to actuallyF practise mindfulness.
FREE YOURSELF: One of the most freeing insightsof meditation practice is realising that the only power thoughts have is the power we give them.
KEEP PRACTISING: The mind is like a muscle-the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.
BE WHERE YOU ARE: It is rare to find a human being today, They are always going somewhere, hardly ever being here.
The yoga student asked the Guru: Where is the best place to hide something of value? The Guru answered: In the present moment. No one will ever find it.
additional program resourses
AT FIRST YOU WILL FIND
Before you start, it's important to know that as you move through the programme there will be countless occasions when you feel you have failed. Your mind will refuse to settle. It will race off like a greyhound after a hare. No matter what you try, within seconds your mind will become a cauldron of bubbling thoughts. It may feel like you are wrestling a snake. You may even want to put your head in your hands in despair at ever achieving a calm state of mind. Or you may feel sleepy, and a deep drowsiness will begin undermining your intention to stay awake. You may find yourself thinking, nothing is working for me. But these moments are not signs of failure. They are profoundly important. Like trying something new, whether it's learning to paint or to dance, it can be frustrating when the results do not correspond to the picture you have in your mind. In these moments, it pays to persist with commitment and kindness towards yourself. Apparent 'failures' are when you will learn the most. The act of 'seeing' that your mind has raced off, or that you are restless or drowsy, is a moment of great learning. You are coming to understand a profound truth: that your mind has a mind of its own and that a body has needs that many of us ignore for too long. You will gradually come to learn that your thoughts are not you – you do not have to take them so personally. You can simply watch these states of mind as they arise, stay a while, and then dissolve. It's tremendously liberating to realise that your thoughts are not 'real' or 'reality'. They are simply mental events. They are not 'you'. At the very moment when you realise this, the patterns of thoughts and feelings that gripped you may suddenly lose momentum and allow the mind to settle. A deep feeling of contentment may fill your body. But very soon your mind will race off again. After a while, you will once again become aware that you are thinking, comparing and judging. You may now feel disappointed. You might think: I thought I really had it then – now I've lost it . . .Once again, you will realise your mind is like the sea. It is never still. Its waves rise up and down. Your mind may then once again settle . . . at least for a while. Gradually the periods of calm tranquility will lengthen and the time it takes for you to realise that your mind has raced off will shorten. Even the disappointment can be recognised as another state of mind. Here now, then gone . . .
. . . until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then. Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, and meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamt would have come their way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: (German playwright & thinker)
'Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,' W.H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951
Throughout the following eight-week course, it may sometimes feel as if the essence of what we are trying to convey is shrouded in mist. You may feel that you're not 'getting it'. This is because many of the concepts and much of the wisdom to be gained from meditation is simply inexpressible in any language. You simple have to do the practices and learn for yourself. If you do, then every now and again, you will have an 'Aha' moment – a flicker of insight that is profoundly calming and enlightening. You will understand what other practitioners have been learning for thousands of years: that worries, stresses and anxieties can be held in a larger space, in which they emerge and dissolve, leaving you to rest in awareness itself – it's a sense of being complete and whole that is independent of your preconceptions. At the end of the eight-week programme, many people report knowing, deep within themselves, that this feeling of profound stillness, of being happy, content and free, is always available to them – it is only ever a breath away.
Welcome, may I wish you well as you journey along this pathway.
a yummy meditation
THE CHOCOLATE MEDITATION
Choose some chocolate – either a type that you have never tried before or one that you have not eaten recently. It might be dark and flavoursome, organic or fair-trade or whatever you choose. The important thing is to choose a type you wouldn't normally eat or that you consume only rarely. Here goes:
Open the packet. Inhale the aroma. Let it sweep over you.
Break off a piece and look at it. Really let your eyes drink in what it looks like, examining every nook and cranny.
Pop it in your mouth. See if it's possible to hold it on your tongue and let it melt, noticing any tendency to suck at it.
Chocolate has over three hundred different flavours. See if you can sense some of them.
If you notice your mind wandering while you do this, simply notice where it went, then gently escort it back to the present moment.
After the chocolate has completely melted, swallow it very slowly and deliberately. Let it trickle down your throat.
Repeat it with the next piece.
How do you feel? Is it different to normal? Did the chocolate taste better than if you'd just eaten it at a normal breakneck pace?