Mindfulness is a buzz word. Celebrities love it and mindfulness courses are springing up everywhere, perhaps with some unrealistic aims. Even politicians have got interested in it, so it’s really gone mainstream.  Mindfulness courses may promise to solve the issues of modern life, such as tiredness, depression and stress.   You may even have tried some of them.

Mindfulness is about being aware in the moment of your own subjective experience. You observe yourself reading this article, you think “I am reading this article”.   Deceptively simple, yet in practice extraordinarily hard to do.  You are also breathing, sitting on a chair, and sensing temperature, while your mind attempts to distract you with future plans and past worries. Mindfulness develops presence, the ability to be fully present for your experience of your life, rather than living somewhere in that past or future. It’s a skill that can be gradually developed through the practice of Buddhist meditation. That’s not the only way, but with a pedigree of two thousand years plus, it’s the most well established.

Counselling and Coaching also promote mindfulness. At their core is raising awareness of behaviour, feelings, body sensations and unconscious patterns. This is mindfulness in a specialist landscape, the inner psychological one. By exploring who we are and what our experience of life is, we gradually become more present for what our life is, rather than what we imagine it to be. I often suggest beginning to practice meditation to complement the awareness being developed, especially when anxiety, stress or the exhaustion of manic modern life are involved.

I’d like to suggest that mindfulness courses are just a start. It’s an illusion to think a weekend or an eight week course can transform your life. Yes, they will help you de-stress and begin to build a healthier practice for yourself, but most people need more than that.

You don’t need to be a Buddhist to meditate but it helps to start with the support of an experienced guide or with a group, as it really is difficult to begin and maintain on your own. In January next year I will be starting a weekly meditation group with the support of Lorna Benbow (Quiescence Wellbeing), which will mix meditation with reflection and self exploration, and include mindful practice. If you’re interested email me for more information.

If you’d like to talk in confidence about this or other issues, please contact me at [email protected]  I offer a free half hour telephone assessment to see if working together could be beneficial for you. If you’d like to understand more about Counselling and Life Coaching please watch my videos at http://www.creativedifference.org.uk/what-is-counselling/ and http://www.creativedifference.org.uk/what-is-coaching/.


Chris Paul

Counsellor and Life Coach in Marlborough and Hungerford






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