And I'm not talking about the happiness that comes from winning the lottery, or opening a lovely present, or finishing work and starting your holiday. Although many of these things may well bring a great deal of happiness, they don't necessarily last very long. I'm talking about the sort of happiness that doesn't come from external THINGS but more from the contentedness from within that can even be present even at the start of a wet Monday morning!
It's the sort of happiness that being more Mindful can bring to even the most average of days. And Mindfulness is not something new for any of us. We were all born with the potential for Mindfulness, to have the capacity to be more present with what's going on in our lives, but somehow as we get older and supposedly wiser other stuff gets in the way. Mindfulness is a odd sort of training programme where we are tapping into something we already have, the course material is our own lives, there is no real end to the coursework--and yet the prize is that ability to really wake up to our lives as they are, and yes to gain that little bit more happiness, which is what it's all about really. But it's not easy and all to easy to forget why you signed up to be a TMG member in the first place?! Well think back to the end of your own 8 week course and you may remember you were asked to rate how important the Mindfulness course was for you? Well the average score for the course was over 9/10 and if you felt the course was important, you may wish to reflect back on how you felt when you finished the course--maybe a little bit more contented, maybe a little bit more connected with those around you, maybe a little bit happier than when you started the course? So how is your practice now? The thing is is that Mindfulness requires a certain intentionality about it and requires an ongoing commitment to practice, which can sound like a bit more work, something else to fit in to an already hectic life! But if you are still practicing, or even if you are not now but can think back to the end of the course, you will know how Mindfulness may have changed something in you for the better, although it can be difficult to articulate. Well, if you would like to explore this a bit more, over the next 4 Monthly Sitting groups till Christmas we will be going over the 8 week course-so a refresher course if you will. We'll take the themes from Sessions 1+2 first on Wednesday 13th September . For the next 4 months we will run the sessions like the 8 week course, without a mid-session break, so please feel free to come along from 6.15 for a coffee and chat and then we will start the Session at 6.30, finishing at 8.30 (though if you need to leave after an hour then that will be fine). As always the main part of the evening will be practicing Mindfulness together, but we will also spend some time looking again at the themes of the 8 week course. Most of you will have done the MBCT course (which was originally devised for people recovering from depression although we did tweak for the general population we taught to). The benefits of Mindfulness are applicable to all of us and so I will be incorporating elements of the new Mindfulness for Life (MBCT-L) course which is being developed by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre for a more general population. I will also be offering some additional home practices for those of you who wish try something else at home in between sessions. When you finish the 8 week course, it can be really difficult to sustain that intention, so the sitting group sessions can be really helpful. You may remember us saying that the real Session 8 is the rest of your life! Well we are all really just at the start of this journey.....and it's always easier to travel in a group! So if you're looking to develop your current Mindfulness practice or to kickstart your lapsed practice with a refresher course you would be most welcome to come along on Wednesday 13th September (with subsequent sessions on Wed 11th October, Wed 8th November and Wed 6th December). It's just £5 per evening to support our group and you don't have to make all 4 sessions--just come along to whichever ones you can. Best Wishes Neil