I have been delighted by the recent buzz of interest in the mindfulness program that I will begin teaching this weekend. I am looking forward to introducing a full group to mindfulness and to Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. For details of future courses, please visit my website.
The pre-course meetings I arrange with individuals before they embark upon a mindfulness program are important. Wherever possible I seek to meet everyone before Session 1. If we can't meet face to face, then a phone call is scheduled.
These meetings give participants the opportunity to meet me, and put a face to a name - most often people will approach me by email, and we exchange information (me about the course, them about themselves) - meeting in the flesh can be really helpful, making easier to walk into the room to join a group for the first time.
One of the things I spend some time considering with anyone who approaches me wanting to learn mindfulness, is what it is that has brought them here. We are all of us on a journey. And we come to mindfulness at different times. Mostly, I think, at precisely the right time. One of the things I often find myself saying to those who express interest in the courses I teach is that it's not my intention to 'sell' the program. My aim is to give people information about what the program comprises, and to think with them about how it might be useful to them.
For that's why I do what I do: I want to make mindfulness skills accessible. I want others to benefit from that which I've found invaluable. It's not for me to tell anyone that mindfulness is what they need. Mindfulness is not a cure. It's not a fix. It's not a solution. But it does work. Theory alone is worthless, but the program, if digested and absorbed fully can, and does, change people's lives.
So, in asking someone why it is that they are interested in mindfulness, I am confident I know part of the answer ahead of time. The majority of people who approach me have tried other things. Plenty of people have tried lots of things. Mindfulness is, if you like, the last chance saloon. But it's not all as glib as it sounds. The point is, people have tried to cure their ills in the usual fashion - and found that their usual toolbox is ill-equipped to deal with some of the things that are apt to keep us awake at night.
The hustle bustle of the overactive mind, busy doing doing doing until it can do no more. I meet people on the brink of burnout. They know it, and I know it. They're sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. And this is the golden moment. They are ready and willing to try something different. Anything. (As long as it works). So - after the all-important disclaimers - that this won't (by itself) change your life, or your personality, or mend your relationships... people arrive at the decision to commit to a course.
And the next chapter has already begun...
Refuge to a man is the mind, refuge to the mind is mindfulness - Buddha