mindfulness meditation – in a nutshell

Now days it is almost as though mindfulness meditation is the new sliced bread. Everywhere we turn people are talking about mindfulness in various contexts. In fact the word mindfulness has slipped seamlessly into daily parlance. So what distinguishes mindfulness meditation from sliced bread?

what distinguishes mindfulness meditation from sliced bread?

Mindfulness meditation seeks to bring us into a meaningful awareness of what we are doing from moment to moment. We have many examples in our daily life of when we are mind-less. That is, when we are not in charge of our decisions, our reaction times, of our responses to incoming stimuli. Mindfulness meditation teaches us how to develop a degree of refraction – that is – time to reflect upon our actions before the action is actioned.

elicit the relaxation response

Some 30 or 40 years ago Herbert Benson wrote a book called The Relaxation Response[i]. Way before we had actually started to use functional MRI and the other gadgetry of the 21st century, Benson asserted that if one practised a form of mindfulness called relaxation, after 40 days of diligent practice for 20 mins, twice a day, in the same physical environment, with the same ambiance, one would elicit the relaxation response. Now, with all our sophisticated gadgetry, with the new sciences of neurophysiology backing us up we can demonstrate this very relaxation response. Benson wrote this book before biofeedback practices became common place.

So we are leveraging off all the research that we now know backs up the premise that something practised regularly, diligently, for a relatively short period of time will elicit or recruit parts of the nervous system to lay down this new reflexive response.

training your imagination

Imagine yourself sitting regularly for not less than 20 min, twice a day on the same chair, in the same spot, in the same posture, and practising diligently a short mindfulness meditation. Was your imagination able to conjure that up?

In our on-line mindfulness meditation training we teach our nervous system, teach our mind, not to respond to the thoughts, imaginings, external stimuli, that arise from within and from outside, every moment of every day.

For most of us, we remain oblivious to the incoming stimuli. That is until the stimuli becomes so intense, so insistent that our nervous system has no option but to respond. This will always elicit a reflex response. A response that reflects exactly what you have practised previously, albeit unconsciously or sub-consciously. Your reflex is in proportion to the amount of effort or the frequency of practice that you have cultivated through the years. So, if you have a short fuse, always arc up when someone challenges you or puts a different point of view, or disagrees with you in any way, you can see how this is a less effective if you are looking to communicate with someone. Not everyone responds with anger – some of us might become sullen, anxious, sad, or a mild form of anger – irritation – but those feelings are not discharged when the person leaves the room – they continue for long periods of time, even hours of days. Pretty ineffective isn’t it.

that one employee / family member

Just imagine that employee, or that one family member who always presses your buttons. You're sitting at your desk, there is a knock on your door, you say ‘come in’ and there he or she stands and… they’ve got that look on their face! They hold their body in that certain way, tilting the head to one side, thrusting their neck forward, puffing themselves up. Before they even open their mouth to make a request, to put their point of view your automatic responses have been activated outside of your awareness. These are conditioned responses that arise unbidden from deep within and no matter how you resolve to respond in a different way – you just can’t!

Now just imagine for a moment that you have been diligently practising this form of meditation for approximately 10 days. That same person knocks on your door again, in that same manner, but miraculously you are not reacting, or the intensity of your reaction is significantly reduced. Experience that changed and changing internal response. Now you're able to sit calmly, you don't have to say any mantras you don't have to repeat ‘I am calm, I am calm, I am calm’. You are listening attentively, analytically to what they are saying. Now you have more time between action and reaction. You have more time to be considered and reflective. You have more time to access your wisdom.

Sign me up now!

When is the next course?

We did a beta test of the training / coaching and, following evaluation of the course, have decided to offer 3 options for stage 2.

Option 1

I am really good at self-directed learning and can manage my own practice effectively. This means that you can fly solo from the beginning. You will get a short pdf guide to stages of practice and you will take it from there. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter so you can learn about new things we put up on the website from time to time. So sign me up for this option please.

At the end of the four weeks you will have started training your nervous system to develop more refraction time. You will be more conscious of the space between things. You will have more response time. This will inevitably increase your productivity. This will improve your empathy and your communication skills.

Option 2

I would like to get some coaching. I recognise there are traps and little cul-de-sacs when learning something new and would value accessing your skill and training in this area.

We do the training via skype. They are one-on-one sessions. The training is unique to you – the individual – and can address your unique challenges. So sign me up for this option please.

Option 3

Give me the Rolls Royce treatment. I value your time and experience and recognise that I really need someone to help keep me on track. This involves 1 hourly supervised sessions. The first 4 must be taken on consecutive weeks, so make sure that you fix your diary to accommodate this. It does not matter if you are away from home or sitting in the tool shed – so long as you have an internet connection we can work together. So sign me up for this option please.

Not Therapy

Please be aware this is NOT THERAPY. If you have an underlying psychological issue which comes up or, is sitting close to the surface you will be referred to a professional psychologist for management of those issues / symptoms. Make sure that you tell them you have been doing mindfulness coaching.

Is this something you are looking for? Do you want to improve productivity? Do you want to improve response time? Do you want to be more effective and efficient as either an employee, a boss, a parent, a lover, a husband or wife, a brother or sister? If you say yes to any of these then book in for the course of your choice – you will be interviewed prior to the commencement of any of the courses to establish your foundational skills. There will be audio material for you to continue your practice throughout the duration of the training. Oh by the way do expect daily home work!

Here is a link to a very brief introduction to progressive muscle relaxation which forms part of the training on week 1 of the course.

Oh and fill in our form so we can know a little bit about you. This will be followed up with a phone call remember.

[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Relaxation_Response


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It is our absolute pleasure being associated with Vicki Sauvage in her capacity as Feng Shui consultant when we recently moved our business.