In the four months since this class began, my whole outlook to it has changed. I was concerned about making such a commitment, afraid it would become too demanding. Like you, I’ve got lots of stuff to do—more than ever
It turns out I can’t wait for those meeting three times a week. I need them as much as anyone.
What we get in that thirty minutes isn’t spectacular at all—more like a raft carrying us from day to unpredictable day—and that’s the point. It’s typical in our society to overlook this, trying to avoid life’s uncertainty, to hope for the best. I mean, reality’s so damn heavy. Putting it out of mind does make you feel better for a while—or at least numb—but if you’re willing to really accept change and ditch denial, then life becomes something special: a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
Which is what we’re doing in Mindfulness Live. I log on to Zoom a few minutes before midday. The names in the waiting room are familiar now, and the faces. We know each other; we know we’re all different. Some enjoy Covid restrictions. Some hate them. There’s no disagreement, no judgment, no opinion. You’re not expected to feel what everyone else feels. This is a safe place for you to accept what you feel, and be accepted for it. You don’t get this sort of support too often.
The half-hour’s easy. You just listen. First, there’s ten minutes of guided mindfulness. I pride myself on always finding a new angle on the breath. Mindfulness is about taking time, not taking shortcuts.
Then I give a ten-minute talk—always about basics. So far we’ve looked at automaticity, thinking, motivation, empathy, self-compassion—the list goes on. These are things I’ve pondered all my life—I promise they’re worth the effort, and they’ll come up again and again. They’re fundamental.
Mindfulness is a continual reexamination of mind and body from as many angles as possible, a reminder that none of them is absolute.
We finish with ten minutes of guided reflection, and there’s a chat after for anyone who’d like to stay.
It’s just half an hour in the middle of the day, to remind ourselves to wake up to the unfathomable display of cause and effect, contingency and love, that we call life.