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 He strongly advocates this explanatory and transparent approach and sighted some recent unpublished research that shows that people are more motivated to engage in something they understand (very clearly) from the outset.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 🙂