Building on yesterday’s post re reflective practice let’s talk about meditation. I will bring up the dreaded word ‘mindfulness’. This has become such a fashionable buzzword, with so many books that we are only a stones throw away from a book on ‘The mindful way with bodily functions’! The danger is that amongst all the noise and hype you lose the core of what it is really about.
However I first heard of mindfulness when I was hospitalised with depression 8 years ago. Being in Belgium, I was offered meditation, massage, counselling, art classes and exercise classes for the 7 weeks I was there. So I tried all of them, the meditation was based on mindfulness, not that I realised that at the time. I was also given, by a friend who had been a psychiatric nurse, a copy of Jon Kabat Zinns book ‘Full Catastrophe Living’. Snappy title but not an obvious one for a self help book. In fact it wasn’t really a self help book, more of an exploration in the use of mindfulness meditation in the pain control, first of all in cancer patient’s and then towards the end it’s potential role in mental well being. At no point did it mention mindfully chewing a raisin or sultana. The other important point for me that it’s benefit as been shown via scientific evidence to reduce the intensity in the part of the brain that registers anxiety.
I use the meditation exercises in 2 ways – there is a meditation that concentrates on the breath and another one where you plant your feet and again concentrate on the breath for a short period of time. I use the second one when I begin to get anxious. The aim is not to achieve some higher state during the meditation but just to concentrate on your breath acknowledge other thoughts that intrude on the concentration and let them go. You can also see from what the hospital offered where my approach to me mental well being was nurtured.
Run Every Day – Day 8
Another grey morning, Gill comes out with me today, we often run together on a Sunday morning, generally 3 – 5 miles at a pace where we can chat and generally just mull things over. We take the car up to Cunswick Scar and do a lap from the Transmitter. Visibility is only about 30 yards, hence no photo today. It is quiet, no traffic on the road, we don’t see anybody until 100 yards from the end. We hear a squeaking of a toy first, and then the dog and its owner come in to view, we say hello and trot on. It would be nice to see the sun tomorrow.