Mindfulness

(73 Posts)

Just wondering if anyone would be interested in an ongoing thread about Mindfulness? Either interested newbies or those, like me, hoping to stick to their practice a bit more regularly!
I've found it so helpful in getting rid of anxiety, but I want to really make it part of my everysay routine. Anyone else? smile

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 11:00:43

I've found it so helpful in getting rid of anxiety

Really? Can you elaborate? What do you do and how does it help?

I don't know anything about "mindfulness", but if it's a form of meditation, I'm all for that.

Salbertina Wed 12-Jun-13 11:28:22

Yes, definitely interested. In fact had started a thread on v same thing yesterday but never posted...

A real refuge for me- "you are not your thoughts" my new mantra! Still after several years of reading on this /meditating etc find it hard to sit for longer than a few mins. Much easier for me to be mindful on the move-walking, running.. But think am avoiding my demons this way, need to sit with them in order to deal with them

Ok - in brief, the aspects of it that have helped me with anxiety are:
1) learning to 'stay in the present moment' rather than letting your mind get caught up in a spiral of negative thoughts and feelings. That sounds easier said than done, but regular mindfulness meditation sessions, plus constantly reminding yourself to 'be here now' really help.
2) Learning that your thoughts are just thoughts, they are not 'reality' (and sometimes they are not even true!) Instead of mentally reacting to your thoughts or trying to fight them or distract yourself from them, recognise them and acknowledge them for what they are ('Ah - there's an anxious thought!') and let them go.
3) We are constantly dominated and led by our tendency to like or dislike (I.e. judge) everything (places, ideas, people, opinions etc.) all the time. It is very releasing to recognise and try to resist this tendency!
There's lots more, and plenty of books on the subject. I recommend the ones by Jon Kabat-Zinn - he makes a lot of sense. I'm quite good at remembering to apply the general ideas but less good at being regular with my meditation!

Oh - x-posts Salbertina! Yes, the thoughts thing is key for me too. I almost laugh at myself now when I catch my 'monkey mind' going down those bad routes!
I've just installed a 'mindfulness bell' app on my phone. A bit of a gimmick perhaps, but it's meant to remind you to be mindful when it rings at intervals through the day. It's a gong sound - very Zen wink.

Lambeau Wed 12-Jun-13 12:04:18

What a great thread.

I am also trying to catch my monkey mind and do better at some times than others.

I have been working on the idea that all events are neutral and that it is up to us to interpret them however we like.

And oh how refreshing it is to give yourself permission to not have to have an opinion on everything. I had no idea how exhausting that was.

Lambeau Wed 12-Jun-13 12:05:22

Loving the mindfulness bell. I would love to sound it in the middle of some meetings wink

I'm actually having more trouble than usual with my monkey mind today as it is chattering about the phone call I'm waiting for, telling me whether or not I've got the job I was interviewed for yesterday! Come to think of it, maybe that's why I chose today to start this thread grin! <breathes deeply and tries not to jump at random noises>

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 13:12:17

See, that all does make perfect sense & I can see why it would help, holmes. Anxiety is rooted in intrusive thoughts - so controlling them by being calm & not rising to them is the answer, I think.

It bothers me sometimes that people think meditation is a bit woo. I don't think it is - deep relaxation and calming of our jumbled thoughts is underestimated in terms of health benefits, I reckon.

I shall look out your book recommendation. Thanks smile

(And crossing my fingers for your job interview result!)

Thanks! Glad you think it sounds like sense.

Well, I got the job smile. I was going to ask if people found meditation easy to get into. I still find it quite hard to focus.

elfycat Wed 12-Jun-13 20:15:34

Well done on getting your job smile

I've been doing meditations for about 11 years, but would say I'm still a beginner. I don't take the time to do them all of the time and some of them are connected to woo (sorry) and others are just for calmness or introspection.

I've been having a daily meditation for the last week and am not full of panic/stress/monkeys about a Literature Exam tomorrow (though I do need to look at a couple of poems tonight).

Once the exam is over I would like to work more with mindfulness. I had a dabble about 8 years ago but it didn't take and while I use some of the principles of observation and acceptance I probably need a bit more post-DC. I haven't had PND but I have been suffering from post natal irritation/stress and just about keeping on top of it. I'd like to work on being able to let that go.

Wow elfycat - 11 years! Do you mind me asking what branch of woo grin?

elfycat Wed 12-Jun-13 22:04:51

LOL, not at all. I took a crystal healing diploma 2004-6 with lots of meditating about energy (to put this in perspective I was working as a theatre nurse and needed ... balance. Polar opposite ends of the healing spectrum huh?). I do not come across as particularly woo if you met me.

I'm just finishing off my qualification homework to become a Bach remedy (and general essences ie Bush flower etc) therapist.

Both come under the title of 'vibrational healing' and there's quite a bit of sensing how energy in the body feels while meditating. But I also meditate without so much wooness.

I haven't really tried doing much crystal healing, except where asked. This Bach thing I could see myself doing for a living.

But I'm not always very good at meditating. Sometimes I just can't settle or find myself composing shopping and to-do lists and then I know that I'd be better off getting up and getting on. Mindfulness might be a way to do both. Do you think you can shop mindfully in Asda? grin

EllieArroway Thu 13-Jun-13 00:21:08

See - this is where I check out.

Deep meditation and relaxation has value. Involving "energy" is completely unscientific and meaningless. What "energy"? Kinetic? Chemical? What a shame meditation is infected with unscientific rubbish.

Elfy Please show some responsibility and refuse to attempt to "heal" anyone with crystals. This kind of thing can prove very dangerous.

Thank you for drawing my attention to "mindfulness", though holmes. It sounds interesting.

elfycat Thu 13-Jun-13 06:35:20

I'm not going to fill this thread with woo. I'm interested in deep relaxation for relaxation's sake, the same as the next person. I simply answered a question.

Next time I'll pm the person who asks. But just out of interest since my energy healing is, for you, a load of nonsense just how is it dangerous? I'm not an alternative practitioner. I've sent clients to doctors because I can tell they have a medical need (one person was diabetic, I can't diagnose or treat her for that). I refused to heal someone with a mental health illness because they were not complying with their medication and suggested they also needed to speak with their doctor.

So from your point of view if I can help the scientifically researched percentage of the population who can benefit from the placebo effect what is your problem?

Eek - didn't want to derail the mindfulness thread by asking about 'woo'. Sorry - I was just curious! Ellie - do come back and chat if you get into Mindfulness or just want to know more (not that I'm any kind of expert!)

I'm going to really try to meditate every day from now on. New job doesn't start until September and the kids are at school, so I really have no excuse!

Lambeau Thu 13-Jun-13 14:32:59

When you are meditating do you count breaths to focus you or are you able to 'control' your monkey mind (if that is the right word)?

I have tried to get into meditating a few times and never stuck at it but I would like to try again. The method I was using was to start with focusing on the breath entering and leaving the body, counting to 10. This was to give a beginner something to focus on.

Do you have any other tips for getting started with meditating? I would love to try again.

Yes that's what I do too, focus on the breath. I don't count because I feel like that is 'thinking' in some way iyswim. Given that I want to switch off my inner chatter, I kind of feel that giving it numbers to say instead is kind of cheating! I'm sure it helps for some people though.
I find I am easily distracted, more by physical things than intrusive thoughts, when I'm meditating - a sound, an itch, the feeling of my heart beating etc. Hard to switch those off!

elfycat Thu 13-Jun-13 15:04:32

One guided meditation group I went to had us concentrate on the way the air / felt at the nostril. We had to try to let no other thought apart from that experience into our mind.

If we did start thinking of anything else we had to forgive ourself for the lack of focus and go back to the feel of the air. If the thought returned we had to do the same and promise the thought that we would return to give it time later, but not now.

If the same thought returned again we were supposed to let it be and concentrate back on the breath but observe why we couldn't let the thought do. Trying to be detached from any emotion and observing the language and word choice, positive or negative. Or consider what is happening in your day that makes it important to think of this NOW.

This is the basis of the meditations I do. Not daily but I'm adding this onto the things I need to do each day from today. but i'll forgive myself if I miss it

Lambeau Fri 14-Jun-13 14:43:38

Thanks for the responses. I like the idea of focusing on the breath at the nostril.

I am very much a beginner and find myself just about getting there and then my monkey mind jumps in saying 'ooh am I doing it? I think I am, I'm meditating' which quite clearly is not the point. grin

Forgiveness is definitely key to progress.

Exactly, Lambeau. I think the idea is to lead the mind gently but firmly back to the breath, as though escorting a small, wayward child!

Kione Sat 29-Jun-13 09:10:33

Just found this thread, and I practice mindfulness and meditation. The way I do it is ro think that we are a peaceful soul and external events interfere with this peace and make us stressed etc. so when you feel like that, think that you ARE a peaceful soul. I do meditation and love it, really helped with my PMS and helps to root the idea of being peaceful soul.
Shopping at Tesco's the other day was a real challenge to my peaceful soul tho grin I have to master that!
I will download the gong thing on my phone!

The gong helped me out this morning actually. I was doing my 5k Parkrun and was red-faced and knackered by about 3k. Gong went off and I slowed my breathing, relaxed into it a bit and felt much better for the last 2k!

I've been looking for a thread like this. I took a mindfulness course to help with my anxiety during pregnancy. It helped me by giving me a different perspective on my thoughts and giving me tools ( meditation and being present) to help manage it.

This has helped as well since the birth. However, I am struggling with tiredness and self doubt. My 10 week old DD (she's a PFB smile) is still breastfeeding every 3 hours through the night and I am still anemic from a PPH. This leaves me with very little energy to interact with DD. I'm trying not to judge myself as DD appears to be doing well by any external measure. However I keep worrying over whether I'm doing the right thing ie is she sleeping too much/too little am I overstimulating her/neglecting her because I forgot to talk to her for an hour.

After reading a lot on different and conflicting childrearing experts, I've come to the conclusion nobody really knows but will fight their corner viciously anyways. This has helped me feel better but I am plagued by random thoughts of doubt I'm hurting her by not following the advice of these experts.

I don't get much time for meditation and often fall asleep when I do (which I am happy with as I need the sleep as much as the meditation).

Any tips for getting through the early days mindfully?

Mindfulness sounds a lot like the practice of contemplative prayer!

As for childrearing what you find is that fashions change every few years so going with what works for you with your personality and your baby and family and lifestyle is fine. When mine were little Christopher Green (Toddler Taming etc) worked well for me but I'm sure that I would be regarded as a very bad mother for using his techniques. My three have turned out ok.

Guilt is normal in motherhood but if you are having more than just random thoughts of doubt then it might be worth chatting to your health visitor.

Well... I hadn't discovered mindfulness in the very early days with my dc. It took me a while. Also, my anxiety was very much about my own health and state of mind, rather than about my dc or my parenting skills/choices iyswim.
But I think that mindfulness meditation would very much help with resisting that anxiety which can arise when you are worried about doing the right thing and beset by different advice and opinions from all sides.

Sorry - pressed send too soon! It sounds as though you are doing a great job with your pfb. At 10 weeks she needs you close, but I don't think you need to be worrying about lack of stimulation etc at this stage. Any rest and time you can give yourself will be beneficial to her really - happy mum, happy baby and all that! I say this with the benefit of hindsight of course - if and when you have baby number 2 and have to share your attention between baby and older sister, you'll look back and think what a lot of attention your pfb had by comparison! Be kind to yourself and try to find time for short meditations. smile

harrietspy Mon 01-Jul-13 13:31:03

Hello! I've been practising mindfulness for about six months and am definitely interested in joining your thread. It's helped me more than anything else I've ever tried. I wish I'd known about it when my dcs were little!

I get up before the dc to practice in the mornings but it feels like I need to 'up the dose'. I'd like to try to be more mindful during the day. I did a wonderful 8 week mindfulness course run locally and I loved the structure and companionship that our weekly meeting provided. I'm thinking about working through the Mark Williams Mindfulness book just to get that sense of focus again.

There's an irony here. My mumsnettery is often incredibly unmindful and I've been thinking about stepping away from the internet for a while. But it would be interesting to see if it's possible for me to be on mumsnet mindfully!

I know exactly what you mean about unmindful mumsnettery Harriet! I kind of use it to 'switch off', and as a means of task-avoidance too. Plus I think some of the threads I read are not really very edifying and don't encourage me to approach life with equanimity grin. I've stepped away from it for a while sometimes, but always come crawling back!
As far as my own practice goes, I really want to get more consistent. I have big lapses, usually when life is going well, then come back to it when I'm feeling a bit stressed or down. Silly really - it means I never get much 'deeper' into it.

TheGreen & Holmes thanks for the reassuring replies. I am trying to let go of the monkey mind anxiety through meditation. My mantra lately is: "thoughts are not facts, even the ones that say they are facts."

Harriet I also find myself pretty mindless on the Internet. I have given up surfing news sites as they just seem to fuel my distractedness and negativity and I feel better for it (though I have the occasional lapse). I was inspired by this article, ironically from a news site:
m.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli

Google is another problem instead of just being with and observing my baby I find myself googling all my worries about herhmm.

That's a really interesting article. If I apply that thinking to my use of MN, I wonder about the number of things I've read that might have affected my attitude to things, without me even realising!

I was wondering if those of you with children of school age have ever tried encouraging them towards mindfulness. My dd (7) has trouble getting to sleep sometimes. She says she can't stop thinking about things. I explained how to focus on her breath - hopefully she will find it helpful.

harrietspy Mon 01-Jul-13 19:28:59

holmes I was thinking about getting a mindfulness for kids cd for my dsons for exactly that reason. smile

Ooh - I didn't know they existed! My two did a class called 'relax kids' at school for a while, which sounded a bit mindfulness-related.

harrietspy Tue 02-Jul-13 09:22:22

I'm v keen because ds1 has inherited my anxious streak and ds2 has aspergers and mindfulness/meditation can be really good for both. smile

ClockWatchingLady Tue 02-Jul-13 13:11:18

Hello everyone. I'm very excited to find this thread (& trying not to identify too much with the excitement, etc...).

I've been attempting to use mindfulness meditation in recent months, initially to deal with anxiety/feeling low and regretful, etc., although it's gradually becoming a little more of a mindset, beyond being a way to deal with feeling crap.

As well as attempting to calm/slow (or even just watch) my monkey mind (and I think my monkey might be on performance enhancing drugs), I feel like I'm very (painfully) slowly trying to learn to accept things as they are, even if that's not how I "want" them to be. At least in individual moments. There are lots of things I desperately wish I could change, and these are the things which I wake in a cold sweat thinking about at 3am, which I need to learn to just accept. I'm trying to learn (with varied success) to lie still in the dark and just be with the images/thoughts/fears/regrets, rather than trying to reason them away, or getting up and watching TV, or googling stuff, which I know makes things worse in the long run.

I definitely agree with you, Nuralagusregina and Holmes, about the effect of using the internet (in certain ways at least). It's really interesting to see that news article. I remember reading (on one of my many endless link-following sprees) that you can predict if someone is depressed by the pattern of their internet use. That made a lot of sense to me. It sometimes feels that so many aspects of society - my own outlook most definitely included - feed off a non-mindful (e.g., judgmental, forward- and backward-looking) approach that trying to maintain even tiny moments of mindfulness is a constant struggle.

As others have said, I'm using by Jon Kabat-Zinn (his CDs and book Full Catastrophe Living).

Somehow I find it very reassuring to find a thread like this one where others are trying to tread a similar path.

Hope everyone's having a good day (or moment).

ClockWatchingLady Tue 02-Jul-13 13:16:51

I've just re-read my post and it's reminding me how difficult I find it to talk sensibly about mindfulness (didn't some Zen teacher once say "open your mouth and you're wrong"?).

Anyway, how ridiculous is it to finish by encouraging everyone to make a judgment about the quality of their day?! Sorry about that.

BurntCheeseStinks Tue 02-Jul-13 13:35:47

My DD is 12 weeks old, and I have the same anxieties about missing some important advice and not giving her everything she needs, or not doing things 'right' which will somehow mess things up for the months ahead etc etc. I have used mindfulness in a very basic way. For example, I go out for a walk with her, and if I catch myself thinking things like 'what time did she last feed? Will she need feeding before the health visitor comes or while she's here? If she's sleeping now does that mean she'll be awake and grumpy and the health visitor will think I'm a crap mum?....' like I was this morning, I just stop myself and try and notice current things. So this morning I noticed the view, the lovely greenery, my DD's breathing and snuffles, my footsteps etc, until I was able to naturally think, " this is so nice, I am so lucky to be out for a walk with my baby, I have a baby!" and felt SO much more relaxed and content.

I find it helps to just remind myself to think in the present sometimes. It helps if you are doing something eg walking as you really couldn't be doing anything else so there's no point in your mind rushing forward to the next thing on the to do list. It takes practice I find. Hope that helps!

ClockWatchingLady - grin at making us judge our day! I identify with much of what you said in your post. I was thinking about posting a list of the things I try to do/ things I find helpful about Mindfulness and the aspects I find difficult. I wonder if we have similarities there. Back with my list soon...

Oh - BurntCheese that's exactly the kind of thing I try to do too. It's so easy to let your mind wander off onto worries and plans, isn't it?

BurntCheeseStinks Tue 02-Jul-13 16:21:02

It really is. I appreciate that this is a bit of a simplistic view of mindfulness though so I might try one of those books!

Ok...
Mindfulness things I try to do:
Regularly meditate, focussing on my breath, for 10-20 mins
Be aware of my thoughts, particularly negative spirals of thought, but also the tendency to 'like' or 'dislike' or judge everything all the time
Draw my attention to my breath regularly during the day
Eat mindfully (I am normally a ridiculously fast eater)
Deal with my children mindfully
Concentrate on what I'm doing when I'm doing it (e.g. driving!)

Things I find hard to do:
To avoid regarding mindfulness as (yet) another thing to think about/judge myself for not doing!
To stick to my practice through good times as well as bad
To avoid the feeling of wanting to 'get somewhere' with my meditation instead of just doing it
Itches and fidgets when I'm meditating

More will probably come to mind...

blue2 Tue 02-Jul-13 17:59:26

My DS (aged 15) has suffered from TMJD for the last 18 months or so. Its a problem with his jaw (and associated headaches - terrible pain etc etc).

His consultant referred him to a psychcologist as it was being set off by anxiety. She has got him into mindfulness and has suggested this book by Prof Mark Williams. It also comes with a CD.

Book

He has his GCSEs next summer, so am hoping that a crash 8 week course in mindfulness over the summer will give him some 'tools' to help him through the stress of his exams.

If anyone has had any experience 'teaching' mindfulness to teenagers, please let me know!

harrietspy Tue 02-Jul-13 22:20:44

blue2 I use the Mark Williams cd regularly, along with some other longer guided body scans (Jon Kabat Zinn mainly). Hope it's useful. smile

harrietspy Tue 02-Jul-13 22:22:24

ps I'm not a teenager and have no experience of teaching mindfulness to teenagers but Mark Williams' approach is very accessible.

blue2 Tue 02-Jul-13 23:11:04

Its what this lady recommended as being the most 'accessible' way to learn about mindfulness for young people.

I think young people are put under so much pressure that its a very useful tool for them to have - whether they have a stress related ailment or not.

I'm going to search out this app with the gong!

Cheeseatmidnight Tue 02-Jul-13 23:19:55

Shamelessly page marking in bed to read tomorrow envy

MrsTwgtwf Tue 02-Jul-13 23:23:36

Even more shamelessly marking my place. smile

Nice to see so many people interested! I've got some cd's too, but haven't really got into using them. I prefer to read the books, then do the meditations myself. I bet they are good for young people though.
Have any of you tried the body scan meditation (in Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, and maybe Mark Williams' too)? I find it a good thing to do if I feel like I'm not going to be able to settle well for a sitting one. Helpful for relaxing before sleep too.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 03-Jul-13 11:52:27

Hello again.

Thanks for the list, Holmes. I attempt to do many of those things too (with wildly varying success). Also, like you, I find it very difficult to keep up the practice in the good times. When things are going well, it's so very easy to buy into and identify with all those lovely positive thoughts... then when things get worse and the thoughts turn anxious I'm screwed because I've got too embroiled in thinking again.

Going to try to keep going this time....

I use JKZ's body scan CD sometimes. It's 45 minutes long, though, so I often do his 20 minute lying down meditation, or silence with bells, instead. Are the Mark Williams CDs similar (for anyone who's used both)?

Blue2 - TMJD sounds tough for your son and you. Glad he got a referral. I agree it would be great to get into doing mindfulness as a teenager - it could set him up with a great outlook and "mental tools" for life. I too would have thought most of the resources would be fine for a 15 year old. I have a friend who works in the NHS and ran a mindfulness group for teenagers (for different reasons - mental health issues I think, although can't recall details) with quite a lot of success. I'll ask next time I see her.

blue2 Wed 03-Jul-13 19:20:57

Clock - I'd be interested in hearing how she got on and the subsequent success rate - if she knew.

I have yet to listen to the CD, but might put it on tonight to hear what it says. I'm a terrible sleeper, so it may well send me off to the land of nod!

That sounds interesting. I'm keen to pass on some ideas about mindfulness to my children but am wary of putting them off! It's a shame that the 'relax kids' thing they did at school doesn't seem to be an ongoing thing. It would be so great if kids were taught this kind of thing early on - it would be such a help for exam stress etc when they get a bit older.

harrietspy Wed 03-Jul-13 22:06:51

clock the Mark Williams meditations are about 10 minutes each. I don't manage to do the JKZ 40 min one very often because I also freewrite for 20 mins in the morning before the dc are up and I can't fit in a 40 min meditation and a 20 min write just yet. smile Usually I do a 20 min JKZ or 2 Mark Williams ones back to back.

I say 'before the dc are up' but sometimes ds2 will come and lift up my arm and snuggle next to me during a body scan...

I also use cds that came with the excellent Breathworks mindfulness course I did breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/ . They run courses in several parts of the country and the founder, Vidalmaya Sona (sp?) is bringing out a book called Mindfulness for Health with Mark Williams soon. The course was amazing and I'm planning to take it again next year. (Apols if I already said this upthread but I can't stress how helpful it was).

holmes I completely agree about how useful it would be for mindfulness to be taught in schools.

I circled around mindfulness for several years and read a lot about it but I am so grateful that it's part of my daily life now. I did a very scary teaching event today and it was so helpful to focus on my breathing.

I definitely want to expand my practice. I feel like I'm at the very, very beginning of waking up. I reckon I'm 'awake' for about 2% of the day... grin

ClockWatchingLady Thu 04-Jul-13 10:26:28

Harriet - thanks for the Breathworks link. I've just followed it and discovered one of the course locations is about a mile from where I live. I'm going to negotiate the timings for childcare with DP and see if I can sign up to a course.

Thank you so much to whoever recommended The Compassionate Mind. It's amazing.

ClockWatchingLady Wed 17-Jul-13 12:51:39

Hello. How's everyone doing?
I don't want Holmes' excellent thread to slide!
smile

ClockWatchingLady Wed 17-Jul-13 12:52:30

I'm doing some mindful sweating for my practice today.

Thanks Clockwatchinglady! Maybe everyone is too busy being mindful to post on the thread wink. I am still working my way through The Compassionate Mind. It's an absolute revelation to me, and a brilliant companion to Mindfulness. It really helps make sense of why our minds and thoughts tyrannise us in the way they do, and offers ways to get out of those frames of mind. Fascinating too.

misskatamari Thu 18-Jul-13 12:40:35

Hello,

Just joining the thread smile it's great to find one on mindfulness!

I've suffered with anxiety for a few years and along with acupuncture have found meditation one if the best things for helping it.

I started by going to a meditation course at my local Buddhist centre and we do middle way meditation - which basically involves focusing your mind at the centre of your body (sometimes by visualising a bright object there).

I've started looking into mindfulness and have been reading the power of now which is about focusing on the present and being mindful.

I do struggle with daily meditations and am hoping to start doing it more frequently. I'm 11 weeks pregnant and have had awful "morning" sickness so just haven't been up to meditating recently as I've felt too rubbish but now I'm starting to feel better I really want to try and do it daily, so this tread should be good motivation!

Just a quick questions - what is "woo"? I saw it mentioned up the thread and not too sure what it means (still new to mumsnet and the vast array of acronyms!)

Hi Misskatamari! 'Woo' is a general and usually rather scathing term used on MN for anything mystical or supernatural, or new-agey. I must admit, I tend to side firmly with the sceptics in matters of 'woo'. One of the things which attracts me to Mindfulness and makes me respect Buddhism more than other paths of 'enlightenment'/self help is their relative lack of woo!

misskatamari Thu 18-Jul-13 13:33:21

Thanks Holmes - I figured it meant as much! I'm a science teacher but am pretty open minded about things so probably abit "woo" as well smile

ClockWatchingLady Fri 19-Jul-13 22:30:19

I think the "woo" thing is quite interesting in relation to mindfulness.

I'd say that I've always tend to be relatively evidence-based and committed, at least in theory, to attempts at logical reasoning (in relation to most matters, anyway). I'm a scientist by training. I've also been pretty much a devout Dawkinsist ( wink ) when it comes to religious views (which I've tended to think of as mostly pretty "woo" tbh).

However... I think mindfulness practice has led me to be much more sceptical about the limits of mental reasoning in general. I'm not even sure about the whole idea of logical thought any more. Thoughts are just so... well, I don't even know what they are. None of this convinces me that my auntie Mabel is haunting my garden shed, or that there's a big bearded bloke in the sky telling us all what to do (I do apologise if any of these comments causes offence to anyone). However, I do increasingly get the sense that none of us has a clue what's really going on. And I suppose this makes me a lot less inclined to think that I'm right, that anyone else is wrong, or that talking or thinking about any of it is likely to clear up any of the issues.

Anyone else find that mindfulness practice has affected them this way?

CoteDAzur Fri 19-Jul-13 22:34:54

What are you people talking about re "monkey mind"?

I've never heard of that term before in my rather long life.

ClockWatchingLady Fri 19-Jul-13 22:46:06

In my understanding "monkey mind" refers to the observation that, when you watch what your mind is doing, it resembles the chattering and leaping around of a monkey. Someone else will probably express it better.

Monkey mind is a concept from Buddhism. Buddha is supposed to have said that it is as though the human mind is full of chattering, shrieking monkeys, all jumping around and clamouring for attention. The 'monkeys' are our thoughts and worries and most of us have little control over them. They jump in and out of our heads so much that we have an almost constant internal dialogue, or mind chatter. This is why it is so hard to be mindful, or remain in the moment and be properly aware of the here and now.

Oh and about the 'woo', Clockwatchinglady - I feel similarly to you. I wouldn't say that mindfulness has made me feel any more tolerant of woo, but I'm aware that mindfulness itself, and certainly meditation, might seem a bit woo to many people. It was a relief to me to realise how un-woo meditation could be - effectively that it just meant 'paying attention'. It's interesting what you say about human thought though. This 'Compassionate Mind' book I've just read has certainly challenged me in that area.

CoteDAzur Sat 20-Jul-13 17:26:28

Thank you, Holmes. I now read about it a bit and there seems to be doubt as to whether the Buddha actually said such a thing, since it is not in any scripture.

In the last year, I read two books on the subject of mindfulness which people on this thread might find interesting. One is Echart Tolle's The Power Of Now, which is rubbish written by a bum who knows nothing on the subject of thought and brain. The other is My Stroke Of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, who was a brain scientist in her 30s when she had a stroke. It is a brilliant insight into human consciousness and explains what "mindfullness" and "monkey mind" actually are in a fascinating way. I really recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject.

Well I wonder how much anyone really knows about what the Buddha actually said, but I can certainly relate to the concept of the monkey mind. Interesting what you say about the Power of Now - I haven't read it, but have seen it recommended by lots of people.

CoteDAzur Mon 22-Jul-13 14:26:29

The Power Of Now is written by a homeless bum who has spent two years on a park bench and "thought" about this stuff. That is the extent of his claim to authority on the subject of the mind, brain, and thought.

Much of what he says is not only spectacularly wrong but also hilarious. For example, did you know that period pain is our bodies' tuning into the collective suffering of women in all history? hmm grin

The whole book is one long drivel aiming to convince people that their analytical left brain should be stifled and not used unless you need to solve a math problem. I find it quite alarming that it was a Bestseller.

Wow - that sounds utterly ridiculous. Unlike Paul Gilbert, who wrote The Compassionate Mind, and seems like a brilliant scientist and a thoroughly nice bloke.

CoteDAzur Mon 22-Jul-13 21:18:05

Oh it's truly singular.

You are a "compulsive thinker" suffering from "dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking" and PMS is your "pain-body in its cumulative aspect", acting on the cumulative suffering of all women through history.

Did you know that when you stop thinking and just "live in the present" (i.e. stare at flowers and clouds all day) your body will age at a much slower rate because its "molecular structure becomes less dense"? hmm grin (WTH does that even mean?!?)

Did you know that "even a stone has rudimentary consciousness or its atoms would disperse"? shock grin

Oh yes, those are actual quotes from this bestseller.

Ummm... goodness. I'm almost tempted to read it just for a laugh! grin Probably not though... Thanks for the warning!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now