It’s already a couple of weeks ago but it feels like yesterday, when finally, the Launch of the Mindful Nation Scotland took place in Holyrood.
It took many months of preparations, as this was a collaboration between most of the Scottish mindfulness teacher training organisations. We came together to devise a curriculum especially tailored to the needs of the MSPs, which reflected best practice of all the organisations present. It’s due to run for the first time in October this year: four 1-hour sessions followed by another four 1-hour sessions, supported by tailored handouts and the Mindfulness Based Living book.
When it finally came to the launch (which had been cancelled two days before it was due to happen back in June, as there was a session in Parliament which was running until late in the evening), we were joined by Chris Ruane MP who was influential in bringing mindfulness into Westminster. Another special guests was Jamie Bristow, director of the Mindfulness Initiative, who is helping mindfulness to come into politics and parliaments across the world. Many others joined us in this gathering of people who together shape the field of mindfulness in Scotland, plus a handful of MSPs.
The evening consisted of a great science presentation, a beautiful practice guided by Ratnadevi of Living Mindfulness, and an overview of where and how mindfulness is making a difference in Scotland.
Speakers included: Graeme Nixon who shared information about the MSc in Mindfulness studies in the University of Aberdeen; Neil Rothwell about mindfulness in the NHS Dougie McPhail about how mindfulness is helping in the Blue Light Services; Chloe Homewood about mindfulness in businesses and Michael Bready about mindfulness for children, teenagers and at-risk youth. As the representative of the Mindfulness Association I spoke about the many things we offer.
It was a great evening of celebrating all the good things happening, and I must say I felt proud both of what we’ve accomplished in this collaboration so far, but also to be the representative of the MA. We’ve come far in nearly ten years! As we had exactly 4 minutes each to speak about our organisation (with Bill Paterson who worked so hard to make all this happen, ready to let us know when we went over time!) I wrote out what I was going to say about the MA, which you can read below.
If we thought that getting the project here was enough, we were mistaken, it’s only the beginning. Now comes the actual delivering of the courses, and the ongoing support that we’d like to offer to the MSPs as they’re steering the country in tricky times. May the benefits that come from our efforts and our practice spread in ever widening circles…
So below I’d like to share my proud words about the MA!
I’ve been with this company pretty much from the beginning nearly ten years ago, and one of the things I very much appreciate about this approach to mindfulness, is its explicit focus on kindness and compassion.
If part of mindfulness training is to become more aware of what is present in our inner environment, it’s important that we do this in a kind and caring way. For if I let a light shine on all that goes on in my head, if that wasn’t a warm and friendly light, my self critic would have a hayday and I’d have more troubles than when I started!
Another thing that distinguishes our approach is that it offers an in depth training that often takes place over several years, as we’re really wanting to support people in embedding mindfulness and compassion into the fabric of their lives.
Our version of mindfulness has emerged quite recently from Buddhism through our founding teacher Rob Nairn, and although our training is secular, we’re still closely connected with its Samye Ling roots.And as you’ve heard from Graeme, as well as an experiential pathway we also collaborate with the University of Aberdeen on an academic route.
So we have really grown over the years and over 2000 people have trained in this in depth way with us in Mindfulness, Compassion and Insight, and we continue to support many people each week and each month in their ongoing practice. We’ve also had two books published which have been well received in the field.
We offer a teacher training pathway as well as the personal and academic one, and over 400 people have successfully gone through this and are now qualified to teach, and we continue to support them with CPD and opportunities for retreat.
We feel it’s very important that everyone who wants to has access to mindfulness training and so we’ve founded a charity called the Everyone Project, which aims to bring mindfulness into marginalised communities around the UK.
It’s been a real pleasure to be involved in the field in this way over the years, and to see the real time difference it can make to people’s lives.”
With warm wishes