This morning in my practice I noticed a lot of thoughts about all I had to do and a lack of time in which to do it.
It has been a busy time at the Mindfulness Association this September.
We had a validation event last week and our new collaboration with the University of the West of Scotland was approved. So from January we will be delivering a second Masters degree programme training people to teach Mindfulness and Compassion. This is the culmination of five years of determined effort to get this programme off the ground, with many obstacles and knock backs along the way. However, there is still quite a lot of work left to do in finalising arrangements, some of which is quite urgent!
I feel deeply, that what the world needs is more compassion. We need to be able to step into each other’s shoes and see from other perspectives – right or left, rich or poor, black or white – so that we can communicate with understanding, rather than othering and separating off into separate groups. Our world needs us to come together to face the massive challenges of climate crisis and a lack of social justice. I was relieved to see the recent BBC documentary about the extinction crisis fronted by David Attenborough – I am so relieved to see these messages becoming so mainstream. I believe we can expect an even more radical film from Mr Attenborough – his witness statement to the world – on 28th September I am looking forward to it. Nothing calls us to come together in the name of common desire for happiness and relief from suffering, for all beings on this planet, than training in compassion. So I am truly delighted that our new Masters degree will be training more people to teach our approach of compassion based mindfulness as well as training people to teach compassion. All down in London. My deep wish is that an era of compassionate action will begin. Lots of work for us all to do there!
We continue to attempt to walk our talk at the Mindfulness Association when it comes to inclusion. We have an ethnic diversity and inclusion policy and our MAHQ team had a half day workshop together on this topic last week, as we work together as a team to recognise unconscious bias and to be as inclusive as we can be. I am delighted to be exploring this in more depth, along with several of my MA teaching colleagues, as we embark this week on the eight week Mindfulness Based Inclusion Training course developed by Dean and Aesha Francis at the Urban Mindfulness Foundation. If this is something you are interested in doing, then we have an online weekend in November on this topic. Another way to put our compassion training in to action!
On top of this, we have been making some changes to our mindfulness teacher training pathway so as to align more clearly with the updated requirements of the British Association of Mindfulness Based Approaches (BAMBA). We have developed a new booklet for training teachers to fill out as they go through their training. We will support them through the pathway and we will connect with them at the end of their pathway to go through the booket and ensure that all of BAMBA’s requirements have been met. We are trialling the new pathway this weekend in the Level 1: Teaching Skills training and there is some preparation needed, as well as written assignments to look at and to feedback on.
So it is not surprising that in my practice this morning there were quite a few intrusive thoughts about all the things I need to do and a lack of time to do it in. I noticed these repeatedly and was at first somewhat exasperated and then amused. I practiced repeatedly dropping the stories I was telling myself about what to do, in particular when and in what order, and how to do it. Dropping the storyline left space for the underlying feelings to arise: a desire for control giving rise to a compulsion to plan; an aversion to not knowing what might happen; and a fear of failure. This was uncomfortable, but on seeing the underlying feelings driving my thinking, I was able to recognise their emptiness, in this case their lack of truth. The stories I was telling myself felt quite convincing, but on exploring more deeply, they are nonsense. No-one can control what is going to happen. I have ‘failed’ many times before and it has been an opportunity to grow, so is it really a fail? After a while the compulsive planning quietened, to some extent, and I was able to finish my practice less distracted and prioritise going out for a walk in the fresh air, rather then going straight to my to do list. This is the power of insight training – looking beneath the presenting experience and recognising it’s lack of objective truth. Awesome! I think it helped that I was teaching insight at the weekend to our second year Aberdeen MSc students. A bit of a refresher for me!
What I know from my past experience is that everything gets done in time. Maybe a later time than first anticipated. So there is no need to worry that it won’t. My motivation is strong as is my habit of keeping going.
I hope that you can see under some of your storylines this week and find some peace of mind.