I have just started an evening course on mindfulness. This is a contination course: level 2. I took my first course in mindfulnesss two and a half years ago and the impact has been immense, and far-reaching. Returning for this course is partly to refresh what I learnt then, and to travel deeper.

How can I describe the importance of mindfulness in my life? It is hard to remember how it felt before I attended that first course. My daughter was in hospital, my family life was in chaos, I was barely in work. None of this was changed by mindfulness: at the end of that eight week course my daughter was still in hospital, it was still a battle to do something as simple as get to work, or attend a parents evening at school. But I was coping, I was making sense out my predicament, and I was starting to move forwards.

Two and a half years and a huge amount of lived experience later, I still use my mindfulness techniques every single day. I don’t always use them consciously (one reason I wanted to attend this course) but they are woven into my response to life. My family still lurches from crisis to crisis – I can’t alter that – but I don’t forget to breathe.

I can imagine that for a number of people, mindfulness is rather repellant. It can look terribly like a cult. My original course was run by buddhists at the Buddhist Centre and I know that for many people this is too unfamiliar, too alien, too weird. But although the connection to buddhism is not accidental, mindfulness is not a religion, it is not a challenge to religion. There is no need to sign up to a particular world view, to take part in religious services, or to feel reverence for particular things. It is a technique, a skill like swimming. It is as if mosques had a special relationship with swimming pools, and you had to track down an iman if you wanted to learn how to swim.

    • Good question. Technically it’s defined as something like “paying attention in the present moment in a non-judgemental way”. In practice, you usually start by being aware of the present moment and gradually move to being able to observe yourself and your own mental activity. The aim is to become aware of the mind, the way that you think, and your relationship to your emotions and body. Usually you do this through a mixture of setting aside short periods of time in the week for formal meditation practice, but you can also learn to do it while carrying out your normal activities – most people do a bit of both. It can be as simple as just stopping occasionally and thinking about what you are really doing and feeling.

    • If you’re interested in learning about, I’m offering a free introduction e-course on my blog. Kate

  1. dhonour said:

    It sounds wonderful. And peaceful.

    • It can be very peaceful – though it depends a bit on what is happening in your life at that point. If things are very stormy then when you practice mindfulness, you’re still experiencing a storm, just from a different standpoint! But in the long run yes, it does lead to peace.

  2. I too have experienced life changing effects from a mindfulness course. My initial experience was in a psychology centre setting which helped to remove the “religious” connotations. It is so amazing, glad you are finding some peace from it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


With Celenia Delsol

(Un)Diagnosed and still okay

The life and times of Bridget's family as the navigate an unexpected journey with a rare genetic syndrome


A blog about mental health & mental healthcare


Mental health blog by a service user with bipolar disorder. Winner of the Mark Hanson Awards for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards 2013 and the Mood Disorder category in the 2012 This Week in Mentalists Awards.

Brotherly Love

A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics

Side by Side

A web magazine for friends, families and advocates of mental health

The Chatter Blog

Living: All Day Every Day: Then Chattering About It


Stroke and visual impairment


humourless mummy, cuddly feminist


truth slayer

Lily Mae Martin

Life in particular

One Pissed Off Rhino

You wouldn't fight a rhino with a fork - all you'd end up with is one bent fork and one pissed off rhino.

The Riddle Ages

An Anglo-Saxon Riddle Blog


What ships are for...

Thunderhawk Bolt

That weird kid from school... all grown up

The Small Places

Life in particular

The Bipolar Codex

Kate McDonnell: Art, design and bipolar disorder

%d bloggers like this: