Broadly, meditation is anything you do that is improving the condition of your mind – instilling good mental habits, increasing calmness and clarity, developing insight and perceptiveness, together with the associated health benefits. This may be seated on chairs or cushions, standing still or walking, or lying down.
Mindfulness is being more aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and actions moment by moment. By cultivating our ability to be mindful more of the time, we can begin to respond to our inner life, our experiences and to other people and events in a way which helps us and others, rather than reacting according to habitual patterns which may not be helpful.
MbCT: Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy
One of the most popular clinical applications of Mindfulness, MBCT sets out to change the meaning attached to sensations and observations. This happens in mindfulness anyway, but a clinical environment is recommended when there are complicating medical issues so that vulnerable clients are properly supported..
MbSR: Mindfulness-based Stress Relief
The breakthrough of Mindfulness into western medical practice, this version of Mindfulness uses yoga exercises and other techniques to changes the relationship the client has with whatever is stressing them. All the original Zen aspects of the practice were stripped away, leaving the pure technique to do its work.
The sessions you do yourself, as meditation time and as mindfulness games or exercises, are your practice – you decide what will be useful to you, what you enjoy and get benefit from, and what you have the time and opportunity to do. It can be time set aside exclusively, or another activity such as preparing food, taking a shower or giving a massage can be made part of your practice.
The teachings of Gautama Siddharta, who became known as “The Buddha” – meaning the awakened one, around the 5th century BC. What he taught was neither a religion nor a philosophy, more a set of techniques for health and happiness. He spoke of ‘Sati’ in his teachings, which translates from the original Pali into modern languages as ‘Awareness’ or ‘Mindfulness’.
The essence of Zen Buddhism (full explanation and history) is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly through personal experience, without being misled by logical thought or language. We agree wholeheartedly with this approach, and make our courses as experiential as possible, with techniques such as feedback groups and journalling to really embed the experiences gained.
The Rinzai Zen tradition extends back 2500 yrs and has a tradition of teaching mindfulness and meditation for wellbeing both in and outside of the monastic setting. The core meditation practices we teach have over 2,500 years of validation.