I have just enjoyed a wonderful week in Bridlington, with Rob Nairn and his sister Margaret. We stayed in Helen’s holiday chalets and spent some very happy evenings talking over past times.
We reflected back over the start of the Mindfulness Association and marvelled about what it has become a decade later. It was a delight to spend this time with my friend and mentor, with lots of gratitude and laughter shared between us.
One of the first times I attended a teaching with Rob, was at the Whaley Bridge Mechanics Institute, two minutes walk from my house. I marvelled then, as I do now, at Rob’s intricate knowledge of the subtle working of the human mind and at his ability to communicate it in such an articulate and common sense way.
At that time in the Mechanics Institute Rob’s teachings were a revelation to me. And having followed them for 15 years they have transformed my life beyond my wildest imaginings. But those imaginings started there.
I have a vivid memory of watching Rob giving teachings and experiencing the arising of the thought ‘That has got to be the coolest job in the world.’ At that time I had no idea that I would ever teach mindfulness myself.
And I couldn’t have got to where I am now without Rob’s support. In my darkest moments from my decade or so of teaching, when I experienced the imposter syndrome most intensely, when I thought I couldn’t go on it was this support that got me through. I would think to myself, ‘Rob thinks I’m OK to do this, so it must be OK.’
So I have immense gratitude and was incredibly moved to be sat beside Rob again as we taught insight together in the beautiful Scarborough Samye Dzong this last weekend.
The insight teachings have such great power, to get to the root of an issue. Mindfulness is just not sufficient to do this. Mindfulness enables us to see what is unfolding in the conscious mind. Compassion enables us to hold what unfolds in our experience and not be overwhelmed. But Insight enables us to see deeper into the subliminal activity of the mind. With practice we begin to see how we buy into the involuntary activity of the subliminal mind and so take our thinking and feeling deadly seriously. Insight training loosens this buying in, so that we begin to have a choice not to buy in to our habitual patterns. As Rob said at the weekend, we recognise that ‘We don’t have to’ follow the usual habitual patterns that prevent our freedom and cause us to suffer.
I am so delighted that we have written these teachings down in the ‘From Mindfulness to Insight’ book, so that Rob’s genius is available for all who want to read about it.
I am so delighted that Rob is here with us to speak at our conference later this week, on Thursday evening and Saturday morning and in London at the end of the month. It is a rare and precious opportunity to receive these teachings from Rob himself.
If you have done Mindfulness and Compassion training with the MA, then you can go on to do our Insight training. If you haven’t done these (or even if you have!) but have some Mindfulness or other meditation experience you can do the ‘Access to Insight’ retreat with myself and Choden in December and then you can do the Insight course after that!
Our Insight training is unique and transformative, even if I do say so myself. It has transformed my life so much for the better. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and check ‘Is this really my life?’. I am a truly fortunate human being.
Heather is leading the first course in our series of Mindfulness training – Level 1 Mindfulness Course – Being Present – 25-27 October 2019. The weekend can be attended as the beginning of a four weekend course, or taken in isolation as a taster or a retreat.