7/ Mindfulness

The struggle continues, unending contention between accepting, objecting, being resigned, being blithely sanguine, being angry.  The conflicted territory is the fog-shrouded, quagmire of my personal integrity.  Mindfulness has been offered to me as a technique for quelling this discord; skills that once adeptly practiced can hold together all these fractious elements in a new awareness.

On to the flat palm of my hand she places a single, large sultana.  I gaze at it, studying its ridged and wrinkled skin; its ocherous tinge.  I bite into its chewy sweetness, swallow and enjoy.

Sometimes in the classroom I would ask students to take two minutes to concentrate with closed eyes on sounds around them; or to look out through a classroom window at the scene beyond.  The general idea would be then to get them to articulate their perceptions – or, at least what they imagined I might like them to have heard, or felt, had they  suspended resistance to school, college, the rest of the world, for long enough to approach this exercise seriously - in pellucid prose.  Theatre workshops that I’ve taken part in have proposed a similar intensity of deliberate attention and conscious awareness, an impartial curiosity about themselves and their surroundings, as a routine practice of drama training. 

Maybe such activities now have acquired a name, a label, a certain status.  Various techniques distinguished that may be subjected to academic research and analysis.  Benefits scientifically weighed.  Aspiring mindfulness teachers can now routinely enrol on courses with accreditation awarded by mainstream training and education institutions.  Legitimacy granted.  Suitability trialed for a western mindset. 

An excellent starter from Psychological Inquiry, an international journal for the advancement of psychological theory, Mindfulness: Theoretical Foundations and Evidence for its Salutary Effects. 

I shall plunder them all.....

 Brown, Kirk Warren, Ryan, Richard M. and Creswell, J. David (2007) 'Mindfulness: Theoretical Foundations and Evidence for its Salutary Effects', Psychological Inquiry, 18:4, 211 – 237
  Chiesa A (2012) ’The Difficulty of Defining Mindfulness: Current Thought and Critical Issues’, Review: Springer Science+Business Media LLC
•  Baer R (2003) ‘Mindfulness Training as a Clinical Intervention: a Conceptual and Empirical Review’, American Psychological Association, 10:2, 125 -143

© Benog Brady Bates


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