You don’t have to sit cross legged under a Bodhi tree to practice mindfulness

Back in the day Buddha achieved enlightenment sitting under a tree. After years of study, introspection and meditation he unlocked the secrets of how to live a happy, fulfilled and purposeful life. He discovered how to find joy in the every day and how to meet challenges with grace, he understood deeply the importance of a compassionate relationship with himself and the world around him. He felt a deep peace and he embodied the teachings of the great mystics. He committed to spending the rest of his life teaching all he learnt.

Mindfulness is one of the outcomes of his experience and until recently it remained in the mystical realms of cross legged gurus and Bodhi trees.  Not relevant to our lifestyles and our lives.

Or so we thought.

Irrespective of the pandemic I’ve seen a huge surge in the popularity of Mindfulness is the past few years. There was a time when I mentioned to people that I teach mindfulness that they would get a certain look in their face and find someone else, anyone else to talk to – or a safer conversation topic before they could get away from ”the tree hugger”.  I didn’t blame them I used to be one of them.

I first came across mindfulness in my 20’s and thought it wasn’t for me (my training was as a Biochemist), after all what could sitting down doing nothing possibly do for me?  I missed the point.

I fancied I guy and he was into mindfulness. So I immediately followed him to the course day dreaming of mindful weddings and babies.  Despite my optimism it didn’t work out with the guy but something about the course stuck.

Then I forgot about it altogether.

It was another couple of years before I found myself picking up a book on the subject and something registered in me. It seemed a little more relevant.

I was getting stuck in my life, experiencing lots of anxiety, existential issues (what was I going to be when I (finally) grew up) – I felt I had no purpose, there was no deep meaning.  And so I delved deeper and I read more and I travelled and went on courses and learnt more, and still went deeper and every time I do I discover another gem another nugget of gold and so I keep going.

This is why I love teaching courses on Mindfulness, perhaps selfishly I learn more but also I see the people on discover their own nuggets, their own moments of inspiration, happiness and joy. I see their understanding and relationship with themselves transform and I see a look of peace and contentment in their eyes (yes even over zoom) that wasn’t there in the beginning.  I see them nod their heads as fellow students talk about what it’s doing for them. I see them encourage others to start again when they forget for a few days and most of all I see the relief on their faces when they realise that they are not alone.

These are some of the many reasons why I love teaching mindfulness and why I’m so glad we no longer think we need to sit cross legged to do so.

Mindfulness 8 week course – self paced or attend every week. Starting Monday 25th January at 7pm

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