Personal practice and attitudes

We would like to remind you of the importance of personal practice and a commitment to around 30 – 45 minutes of daily mindfulness practice for the duration of this course. The more you are able to put into the course, the more stable your practice will feel at the end and the more confident you will feel about taking these approaches forward into your life.

It can be challenging to change our habits and to practice a new skill. We may find it difficult to carve out a regular practice time, and may need to negotiate with family, friends or colleagues to ensure that we protect this dedicated space and time, free from the distractions of everyday life.

We may find that, at times, we strongly resist this change in emphasis and habit in our lives, however strong our intention may be to develop these skills. We may notice our attempts to avoid the opportunity to practice, to find countless reasons why not to, and endless lists of other more important things which demand our time. We may find that we struggle with being quietly in our own company without distractions and without any obvious agendas; we may feel bored; we may fall asleep! We will notice how the ordinary mind is used to distraction and dulled awareness and how much the mind resists change.

So, it is important to remind ourselves of why we are doing this in the first place and what our intentions are. This can provide a sense of direction and purpose which can propel us forwards, if ever we encounter difficulties or if our commitment wavers. You may find it helpful to reflect on the questions below before starting the course. You can look back to your responses as you progress as a reminder of your intention.

It is helpful to adopt an attitude of curiosity and open mindedness for the duration of the eight weeks, and to suspend judgment as to whether or not this will work for you. At the end of the course, you can reflect and make your own decision as to whether or not you will continue with the practices you have learned. You will benefit from commencing this journey with the spirit of patience and commitment. This means not knowing what the outcome will be, or what will unfold, but trusting in the practices you are engaging in. It also means persevering, even when you feel you are making no progress or when things feel difficult.