Mark Leonard @ London Mindful Practitioners Group

Remember how sunny last Sunday was? Well yours truly spent it deep under Swiss Cottage Library attending another of the excellent seminars organised by Nick This is for people delivering mindfulness training in London.

Mark Leonard is a founder in The Mindfulness Exchange, a spin off company from the Oxford Centre for Mindfulness which he helped establish.

Mark talked about his TME and their approach to teaching mindfulness in the workplace. He also involved the group in some exercises to illustrate the methodology. TME takes the Mark Williams book “Finding Peace in a Frantic World” as their main text book. Their approach is is to present the scientific basis and evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness meditation right up-front. He strongly advocates this explanatory and transparent approach and sighted some recent unpublished research that shows that people are more motivated to engage in something they understand (very clearly) from the outset.

Mark contrasted this with the classic MBSR approach of focussing on the experience first and letting the benefits reveal themselves through experience and enquiry. He was also critical of those practitioners that mystified the process to put themselves in a power relationship – being the one who knows the secrets.

In an animated chat in the cafe after the meeting there was a good debate about the approaches arising from different schools. One of the views (I am glad to say) Mark and I shared is that the Buddha gave the clearest and most direct explanation and instructions. He (the Buddha) would have no problem with a science first explanation but I think he would have no time for what for some reason got referred to in the meeting as “Woo Woo!” (the mystification of the dhamma)

So I’m going back to my diagrams and explanations but for now I’m holding on to my meditation bowl/bell – it just sounds kinda cool 🙂

Mindfulness and Gov Policy

My good friend Mark alerted me to APPG All Party Parliamentary Group .. on Wellbeing and Economics. On April 9 they have a public meeting on “How Government Policy can improve wellbeing – mindfulness health, education and criminal justice”

I’ve managed to score a ticket and will be there to be amazed at some of our elected representatives talking about meditation. I wonder if they will start with 3 minutes of mindfulness?? You never know. Will post after the event.

Amaravati practice day

Just returned from a glorious day at Amaravati monastery organised by the lovely people in ALBA the Amaravati Lay Buddhist Association.
Walked back over Ashridge to Berkhampsted station in the twilight  got lost in the dark.. but so saw a bright moon and Betelgeuse.

Silent sitting and walking in the morning , followed by a guided meditation and mindful chats on the theme of “why are we here” in the afternoon. Some moving and some very funny stories were shared by the 30 or so participants. Someone shared the answer of a nun. At the point of arriving at Amaravati for the first time, she answered simply … “freedom”.

Jenna Ghouse and Richard Bomber led the day, and I was please to chat with Richard after the silent lunch. I learned about his meditation teaching at Unitarian Church.. no idea it was so old a tradition.. and we shared our concerns over the inexperience of some new mindfulness teachers. I hope we get to speak again Richard.