Living Well Integrative Health Center

2176 Windsor Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (902) 406-1500

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On Mindfulness

October 20, 2014

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention on purpose to the present moment without judgement. Cultivating a mindful practice is one way that we can really help ourselves learn to listen to what we need emotionally, physically and intellectually.

If we are able to see ourselves accurately we would see that there us more right with us than wrong. We would also see that essentially everything we need is already present inside each and every one of us. We know ourselves better than anyone else yet often we can't access this. We suffer with this being human thing. So often we torture ourselves with doubts, worries, indecision and living a life or lifestyle that we don't really think we want or need.

Often we are not present with what is here, depriving ourselves of the joy of living now and with confidence in the person we are. Somewhere deep within each of us is a knowledge of what makes us strong, healthy and happy. How many of our thoughts throughout the day are actual replays of events or hurts gone past, needs not met? How often do we worry about what is to come or of a future we can't predict? How much time do you waste getting caught up in your judging thoughts, gripping emotions or strong physical pains?

When we are able to be present, to access intentionally, at our call what it feels like in our bodies, to feel what we are feeling and are able to identify what are minds are thinking, we start to become in tune with what it takes to steady the mind and to listen to ourselves better. Once we are aware of ourselves, we can begin to work with what  is there.

How would you feel if you were to experience yourself as steady, strong, flexible and balanced? What would it be like to be able to know what you think, to feel how you feel and to let that inform you of what you need and how you want to live this one precious life? How would your life be different?

I took 23 meditation classes before my mid thirties. I always had the perception (or judgement), that I wasn't doing it "right" or that I couldn't sit as calmly as I was "supposed" to. Mindfulness and insight meditation training changed my experience of meditation. Once you have trained and practiced, you can never go back to how you were yet you were there all along. It's a strange paradox. Mindfulness practice informs all aspects of my life and without it I would be living a life without the consistent depth of enjoyment that I do and the low points would be more difficult to bare. To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, 'meditation and awareness are great but useless without logic and reasoning'. The basis of the Mindfulness classes I am holding at Living Well embrace the structure and principles taught to me through the wonderful instructors from the University Of Massachusetts Medical School's Center for Mindfulness. I was fortunate enough to study as well with John Kabat-Zinn who developed MBSR my formal training. My class however also involves a structured component to help learn how to use the awareness you cultivate to inform you of how you want to live day to day though use of discussion and home exercises. It is liberating if you choose it to be. The classes are held once a week for 2 hours for a total of 8 weeks. Although one might think they would never enjoy a group setting thinking it's unlikely to be intimate and secure, you are wrong! People only tend to share the process and the struggles. You share as much or as little as you wish, but what becomes very obvious, and is only possible in a diverse group of people, is that we are all human. In that humanness we all love, lose, struggle, joy, pain and hope in much the same ways. Being fully awake for this human experience is a different way to be with what is. Please call reception to sign up for the next 8 week class.

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