Mindfulness Body Scan

The Body Scan In this blog, I introduce the body scan mindfulness meditation practice: what it is, what is involved and how you can practice this meditation. Introduction  The body scan is one of the first core meditation practices that we learn and practice in the 8 week MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) programme. "The body scan has proven to be an extremely powerful and healing form of meditation." noted Jon Kabat-Zinn, the american scientist who developed the world renowned MBSR programme recently (Kabat-Zinn, 2018). He can say this on the basis of consistent evidence over 40 years now of the…

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Meditation-related challenges

Reading the Academic Report: Progress or Pathology? from Lindahl et al 2020 This post offers a reflection on a recent academic paper and may be of particular interest to those who engage in mindfulness teaching, training and practice. The latest paper from the research group at Brown University (Varieties of Contemplative Experiences Project), who are concerned with deepening our understanding of meditation-related challenges, was published this week. It is important work. Important for mindfulness teachers that we read and learn from this work. I find this work helpful in staying open to the full range of meditation experiences. There is…

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Strengthening teaching integrity through practice, inquiry and community.

Mindful Academy Solterreno Teachers Sit with Inquiry: A review of a COVID-19 support for MBSR Teachers. Open Groups for Mindfulness Teachers Background When COVID-19 and the consequential nationwide 'lockdowns' landed with us in Europe, I was in Spain, completing my work as a trainer of MBSR teachers with the Mindful Academy Solterreno. Amidst the shock and disbelief, from this 'home-base', I was also drawn to being part of a creative and flexible response for our international teacher training community. Together with the Director of the Mindful Academy Solterreno, we adapted our MBSR teacher training retreats for online delivery. The initial…

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Joyful effort in the face of apathy

November to February is my least favourite time of year.  I feel a natural decline in mood and increase in apathy.  It's the best word to describe this kind of personal dissociation that is one of my many afflictions.  I've felt it creeping around for a while and especially this week.  It's that 'I don't care about anything much and couldn't be bothered with or about anything either'. I find myself sucked into unhelpful nothingness of social media scrolling and escapeful TV that demand zero engagement or activity.  I see it. And slowly, this seeing without judging the apathy pokes…

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Slowing down, resting in our true nature.

[caption id="attachment_443" align="alignleft" width="225"] Resting in springtime sun[/caption] Reading Haemin Sunim's 'The things you can see only when you slow down" over the last few days.  Enjoying some slowing down time as springtime sun comes to visit us here.  Resting in resonance with some of his words: " I wish you could see my true nature. Beyond my body and labels, there is a river of tenderness and vulnerability. Beyond stereotypes and assumptions, there is a valley of openness and authenticity. Beyond memory and ego, there is an ocean of awareness and compassion." The body and labels - sometimes it's like the everyday busyness of…

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The mindful invitation: Finding the funnies & deflating difficulties?

Inspired by words of others yet again.  I am reading 'the Book of Joy' - a book of sharing insights from a week they spent in conversation together, the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Tutu.  From lifetimes of living with the full complexities of life.  Their fierce compassion, courage, heart and hope rings out - and in stark contrast to messages from other 'great world leaders' at this point in our histories.  We have a choice.  What do we choose to cultivate? Where do we make our steps from?  A place of compassion and connection?  Or a place of fear and…

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New Year – New Beginnings 2017

Pic: Taken from the Hill of Uisneach, 1 Jan 2017.  Approaching the end of one year, we usually anticipate the beginning of another. Full of possiblity. We may compile our resolutions. We may set new intentions. We may renew old ones. Though the days are lengthening gradually, January can feel grey and dark for me. The process of setting intentions at this time of year offers me a way to create and see light that is also present. Yet every moment, every breath, is an opporunity to begin again. It really is. I love when I remember this mantra! In…

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Antidote to the inner-critic

I heard this poem recently, read by Mark Coleman at Spirit Rock in the states.  Let the words wash over you and through you, an antidote to the those constant judging and comparing thoughts that may swirl about day to day.  Be kind and gentle with ourselves and others today. If you would grow to your best self Be patient, not demanding Accepting, not condemning Nurturing, not withholding Self-marveling, not belittling Gently guiding, not pushing and punishing For you are more sensitive than you know Mankind is as tough as war yet delicate as flowers We can endure agonies but…

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Remembering the power of simply being.

"Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you. Be excessively gentle with yourself.   Stay clear of those vexed in spirit. Learn to linger around someone of ease Who feels they have all the time in the world.   Gradually you will return to yourself, Having learned a new respect for your heart And the joy that dwells far within slow time."   - John O'Donohue, A Blessing for One who is Exhausted.    These words stopped me in my tracks today.  Sometimes words have that power to bring us back to remember what matters.  To…

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Courage to accept and be with our present experience

  Listening to Tara Brach's inspirational and soothing talk on 'Genuine Acceptance' today.  Acceptance is about being with what is here.  Not our story around it but the embodied present moment experience.  So mindfulness is our pathway, our tool, to be with what is - the bodily experience of the unpleasant: the sensations and emotions. The resistance and how that feels in the body. Mindful awareness helps us to feel the experience of the 'fight-flight-freeze' reactivity.  To sit in that space. To acknowledge and be with what is here. This is how acceptance is not passive and is not about…

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