Finding Peace …

… in a frantic world …

This 8 session course was designed to be accessible and effective for busy staff in a workplace. Prof. Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Oxford Mindfulness Centre, drew on practices and teachings from the core programmes of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and created a format for anyone wishing to learn the foundations of mindfulness.

Benefits of taking the course may include developing awareness of our present moment experience, finding ways to feel happier, calmer and more fulfilled, to get on better with others, to work more effectively and to increase resilience in the face of stress and difficulties. The course is focused on supporting adults in developing their own practice of mindfulness in everyday life. Many participants may find taking the course impacts on both their personal and professional ways of being.

Mindfulness is best learned in a highly practical way. Over the 8 sessions, we practice learning to direct our attention in a deliberate and friendly way to whatever is actually happening in our present moment.  Whether that is the breath, sensations of the body, thoughts and feelings or everyday activities such as walking, eating, listening and speakng. At first we may become aware of how frequently the mind wanders away from our chosen focus of attention, but with practice we learn to direct our attention more skilfully and kindly. This can help us to break the hold of unhelpful habits of behaviour, thoughts and emotions and impulses that arise from these.  With practice we can learn to choose how we respond to all aspects of life, pleasant and unpleasant, with care and interest. As with all new skills, it takes practice and some effort to make time for exploring our experience in this new way.

Each session will focus on a particular theme or aspect of mindfulness and will involve some group discussions, interactive exercises and meditation practices.  Until the next session, there will be the invitation to make time for daily practice, 20-30 minutes, so we can bring mindfulness to our daily lives and build our mindfulness or awareness muscle in any moment.

There will also be the opportunity to join with other mindfulness practitioners on a day of practice.  A day when we can allow ourselves to just be and practice tuning in to our present moment experience with a kind and friendly curiosity.

Session 1: Waking up to the autopilot.

The course starts with waking up to the human tendency to operate on automatic pilot. We practice paying attention in new ways and becoming aware of what happens when we step out of automatic mode.

Session 2:  Bringing curiosity to experience.

In this session we learn about the evolution of the mind and explore how the body can be an anchor to the present and a radar for important messages.

Session 3: Mindfulness in daily life.

Mindfulness can be practised throughout the day in our everyday activities and helps us to build flexibility and transform the ordinary to extraordinary.

Session 4: Moving beyond the rumour mill.

In this session, we practice seeing thoughts as creations of the mind rather than facts. We learn how we can see more clearly, recognise habits of mind and how they powerfully influence mood and behaviour.

Session 5: Exploring difficulty, building resilience

This session builds on the first four with the invitation to turn towards and befriend aspects of our experience that we may typically avoid and resist. When we practice in this way, we build resilience.

Session 6: Kindness to ourselves and others

Being with others can be wonderful and challenging!

In this session we bring our mindful awareness to habitual patterns of relating to others and open up to alternative ways to flourish.

Session 7: Developing balance in our lives

In this session we reflect on how we can choose what we do and how we act to nourish ourselves everyday. 

Session 8: Mindfulness & the rest of your life?

We celebrate completing this course and we reflect on what we are taking from the course and how mindfulness may fit in the rest of our lives. Life is the curriculum!