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Mindfulness is usually taught in groups and the learning of this new skill is supported by regular practice and enquiry, or investigative dialogue, within the group. The group may be open to the general public or adapted for those with a shared physical or psychological challenge (e.g. depression, anxiety, cancer, pain, eating disorders), or role (doctors, teachers, health workers, carers, parents, pregnant women).
Practice: Mindfulness is learned in a highly practical way through experience more than ‘thinking and talking’. This takes place through formal practices like seated meditation or lying down for the body-scan, and informal everyday activities such as walking and eating. The course format enables us to learn to direct our attention in a more focussed way to whatever is actually happening – which may be our breathing, the sensations in our body, thoughts and feelings. As we gradually and systematically develop our practice, we learn to relate differently to our thoughts, often noticing accompanying attitudes like patience, kindness, open-minded interest, gratitude, generosity and ease, together with less self-criticism and judging.
Enquiry Process: The enquiry process is an integral part of mindfulness training courses: a time for exploratory dialogue where, after guiding a meditation practice, the course leader invites and encourages participants to explore more fully any experiences they noticed during the practice.
Working within a group in this way can form a valuable part of the learning experience in recognising both shared and individual experiences of our common humanity.
Please be reassured that during the enquiry process, you are always at liberty not to speak - instead just to remain listening to others, and your own inner processing.
Please note: Mindfulness practice invites present-moment awareness, discovering our own habitual patterns of thoughts and emotions. It is important to know that this course is not group therapy, which in contrast would engage in sharing of stories and past experiences.