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Clear Light Mindfulness Training
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Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzz word these days but what is it really?
American Psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn popularised the ancient Buddhist practice of Mindfulness in his book “Full Catastrophe Living” and in it he defines mindfulness as follows: "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally."
Colin’s essay “Sustainable Living” was published in “Mindfulness in the Marketplace - Compssionate Responses to Consumerism” by Parralax Press in 2003 and again in 2011. It is still available in paperback from good bookstores or on Kindle at Amazon.
To a great extent Mindfulness is attention training. But to what do we attend? Just to our thoughts, bodily sensations and feelings. At the same time it is important to remember to relate differently to these events so we can be more fully and authentically present to what is happening in and around us. In this way our relationships with ourselves and others is grounded in what is happening rather than a distorted version of has happened or what might happen. Thus we spend less time and energy focusing on things that happened in the past or being anxious about things that might never happen in the future.
This gives us more capacity to respond, rather than react, to difficult or uncomfortable circumstances which we meet in our life. It also makes it possible to choose to be aware of the positive aspects which are always there and which can heal and nourish us. In this way mindfulness helps us to find balance in our lives and to be more effective in achieving our goals.
Mindfulness is a kind of 'mind training' and the good news is that, thanks to the brains “plasticity” it is never too late to learn it.
I have been practicing and teaching meditation and mindfulness for many years and established the first “Mindfulness Days” at Sharpham in the early 90’s where I also taught Mindfulness based Stress Management techniques to school teachers. Following that I co-managed the Sharpham College for Buddhist Studies and Contemporary Enquiry where I also occasionally gave talks and workshops. I have also taught at Samye Ling, The Barn, The King’s Fund, and the Golden Buddha Centre where I am currently teaching meditation and mind training on a weekly basis.
If you would like to learn more then please contact me.
"Clear light, the essence of mind, needs to be experienced again and again. But sometimes our mind is so distracted and so busy thinking that it cannot stay focused for even one or two minutes. As soon as we relax, it goes here and there. Our untrained mind is like a wild and drunken elephant led by a wild and drunken monkey. It's very active, like a monkey who can't stay still for a moment, and it's very forceful, like an elephant, so heavy that it tramples everything underfoot. The mind needs to be trained, and the only way to train it is through mindfulness and alertness. These are the only tools we have. We need to apply them to our own awareness."
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, "Confusion Arises as Wisdom", Shambhala Publications, 2012