There is something exciting and fresh about a new school year. In fact, often times, I have thought of September as being my January 1st. It is a time of new books and blank pages waiting to be filled and devoured. This year is no different! A new cohort started the MSc in Studies in Mindfulness with the University of Aberdeen and I was asked to attend the weekend as a past pupil and to present a session on the MSc from a student’s perspective. What a fantastic experience!

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           A New School Year

The weekend was held at Samye Ling and it was taught by Fay Adams, Choden and Heather Regan-Addis from the Mindfulness Association, and Dr. David McMurtry and Linda Craig from the University of Aberdeen. Attending this weekend as part of the ‘team’ was an enriching experience that offered a brand new perspective. As a student who has completed these courses and written the assignments, hearing the first weekend of teachings without the pressure of having to ‘write it all down’ was a breath of fresh air. It was amazing to see just how far my cohort has come. We really have learned a lot. However, more importantly, the lessons have stuck. All of the work has paid off.

Meeting the new students was inspiring, as well. There were so many wonderful conversations that took place and I truly felt the ever expanding community of the MSc. Seeing all of the new faces reminded me of my fellow cohorts and I felt a pang to have them near me as I moved from practice sessions to lectures on referencing. Moreover, when it came time to deliver my session on the student’s perspective, I could hear the stories and imagine the sensory overload that gripped all of us, this time last year. What an exhilerating time it was. I will cherish it always .I will be starting my new Uni year at Samye Ling in two weeks time. I can hardly wait to see my friends, drink my horlicks and chat in the cafe at the end of the days. My books are bought and my pencils are sharpened.

Also, as part of my September ritual, I plan on dropping the question of ‘What is my Motivation?’ into my sitting practice. What is the driving force that will sustain my practice during those cold, dark weeks of winter. What will keep me focused through the long hours of school work, domestic chores and indeed, my job? Perhaps, we can all refelect on our motivation this September.

Heather sent me some meditation advice that she received from Lama Yeshe on Holy Isle. I don’t know about you, but any bits of advice on meditation from such a wise Rinpoche is always welcome!!

You Don’t Need To Do Anything About Your Chattering Mind. You Will Never Win!

1. Learn to relax physically

2. Sit in an upright posture, like a cobra’s head

3. Let go of the past and come into the present

4. Let go of the furture and come into the present

5. Be patient with the wandering mind

6. It doesn’t matter if thoughts arise, rejoice, just don’t get involved! Then, the past and future can’t cause suffering!

After I left Samye Ling, Heather and I drove down to HQ in Whaley Bridge where I met the lovely, vibrant Hannah Gilbert! She has just started working in the office a few days a week and we are already having a giggle and enjoying lunches together. Last night we went down to the local pub for a night cap. We were two strangers in this village, yet the couple who were running the place and all of the locals made sure to chat with us. We felt welcome in our environment and we marvelled at the truth that seemed to be so evident: Human beings are fundamentally good. We all want connection. We all need warmth and common ground. Thank you Whaley Bridge for holding us safe, last night.


Jane, Heather and Hannah in HQ

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