Saturday, 21 April 2012

One Thing at a Time

I've been doing this Mindfulness course at the London Buddhist Centre recently. I had expected it to be a bit tree huggy but actually it's very pragmatic. I'm only two weeks in but I already feel I've learnt a lot.
Learning and Lecture Series
One of the key lessons so far is to limit how much your mind wonders. This keeps you in the now rather than letting you start to worry about what could be or over analyse what was. For me this is a massive effort. They have given us an mp3 download to do a guided meditation each day called a body-scan (not the same as a cat scan).
Cat Scan!
It guides you through your body, exploring how each part of you feels, and reminds you every now and again that if your mind has wondered off you just need to gently bring it back again. It's only 30 minutes but man, is it difficult. The clever thing is though that just by noticing your mind has wondered you're getting it right. It's not about relaxing it's initially about noticing how much your mind jumps about and then later it's about quietening the internal monologue that causes it to wonder. I think that's pretty clever.

The bodyscan is homework, but there are also two other things they have asked us to do. The first is to do one thing 'mindfully' every day. I tried making 'brushing my teeth' this mindful task.
toothbrushes
Ha! Within seconds I realised that I never 'just' brush my teeth. In the morning I'm doing it while finding my shoes, keys, packing my bag, brushing my hair...in the evening I'm turning off lights, picking up clothes, getting undressed. That got me thinking about how often I do ever do just one thing. At the very least I'll be listening to music or an audio book while doing something like washing up or having a bath. For me - to watch TV without knitting in my hands is a waste of time. If I'm travelling I'm usually reading as well. So considering that perhaps it's no wonder my mind is always whirring away and finds it hard to be still.
spinning top
The other task was to recognise a moment of pleasure every day. On Wednesday that was easy. I met up with my Dad and we went to an amazing restaurant called Ottolenghi. They have got recipes on the website and it is a deli as well as a restaurant. The moments of pleasure were multiple. Firstly seeing my Dad for the first time since christmas. Then the excellent conversation we had. But also my first mouthful of the aubergine and wild garlic dish.
Stella di melanzana
I do adore aubergine and for a few seconds my mouth blissed out. Nom.

It's been a busy week both at work and home and I now have next week off. I feel amazingly ready for it. There is a funeral to go to on monday which naturally I am not looking forward to and then in quick succession I will be in Amsterdam by Tuesday lunchtime. I do have a note of various craft shops and will even have my laptop with me so there may be some blogging. It is due to rain the whole time I am there so expect soggy photos of tulips and canals.

1 comment:

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