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Absolute Healing Blog

Introducing Focussed mindfulness

Posted in Professional development on 11/06/2013

Introducing Focussed mindfulness

Focussed Mindfulness©.  

Mindfulness is age-old. It was practiced at least 2500 years ago by Buddhists, is a feature of every major religion and it is now adopted, in a secular form, by an increasing number of Westerners as a simple meditation exercise. In the 1980s it was reported in the US to be useful for depression and chronic pain and it was recommended in the UK by the NHS (NICE guidelines) as beneficial for depression and stress in 2010. Research continues apace and it is now recognised as effective at increasing concentration, reducing stress, helping with chronic pain, and reducing the symptoms of IBS and high blood pressure. It is being introduced into schools and businesses to boost well-being and performance.

Mindfulness is accessible to all, there is no need to attach any religious interpretation to the process. It is simply a way of training the thinking mind to quieten and focus on the here and now. It helps to practice regularly (ideally daily) and it improves sleep, lifts mood and brings a sense of equanimity and peace.

Modern mindfulness is based on the teachings of Kabat-Zinn who developed an 8 week programme involving guided meditations, breathing and yoga. The programme trains students to become increasingly aware of a consciousness that is separate from the thinking mind and through this to gain a sense of peace and acceptance and a more objective perspective of themselves: They can learn to observe the workings of their thinking mind and choose to step back from it. There is no doubting the benefits of this practice. The problem is that it asks for a considerable commitment from its students and it takes time for the benefits to be felt.

The form of mindfulness that I practice, and teach, termed Focussed Mindfulness, is from a different root to that practiced by Kabat-Zinn and his followers. It is based on the teachings of Ramana: An Indian saint and spiritual guide. He was born a Hindu and from the age of 11 he experienced and began to teach a new form of spiritual practice termed Self-inquiry. He died in the 1940s but his followers brought his practice to the West and have put their own spin on his teachings. As a result there are a growing number of modern day gurus who are having an increasing influence on the spiritual development of people in the West. I have been lucky enough to have been taught by three of these: Gangaji, Byron Katie, Andrew Cohen and Brandon Bays.

Focussed Mindfulness has been born out of my own practice, my learning from my clients and the teachings of these Gurus and also Byron Katie over the past 6 years. I have taught my techniques to dozens of practitioners, some of whom have studied with me for several years now, and I use them daily with my clients. The results are profound and are experienced immediately: People notice a shift in their perspective on life and in their thinking. They feel freer, happier and more compassionate. It is gentle, life changing and makes complete sense to them.

How it works is discussed in the course and I won’t go into it at length here. But briefly, it accesses the issue in the subconscious that is causing ‘stuckness’. It helps to use the analogy of a computer to explain what is going on.  Early events in our lives can lead to us taking on beliefs about ourselves and about life. These beliefs become hard-wired into our programming and affect how we react and no amount of rationalising by the thinking mind will permanently erase them. Focussed Mindfulness uses tools of self-inquiry that allow us to access these beliefs, make them conscious and then see them from an enlightened perspective. Magic then happens and we are free to delete the old programme or modify it to one that is true for us today.

My students and clients will testify to the power of this approach. I do believe that it is an evolutionary step beyond practical mindfulness and more suited to the majority of clients who are seeking coaching or therapy. The tools are quickly learned so clients leave each coaching or therapy session having made a huge shift in their emotional health and so are freer to heal, change the way they relate to the world and vision a future that is congruent with their enlightened selves. The added advantage of the Focussed Mindfulness tools is that they are easy to use between sessions and where clients do this they begin to change entrenched habits and enjoy more rapid and sustained progress.

It is important that Focussed Mindfulness practitioners have a deeply experiential understanding of the tools so they can apply them with trust and flexibility. Where this is lacking the benefits experienced by clients will be more limited. The course therefore demands commitment and a willingness to develop a personal practice. It involves up to 10 workshops, individual supervision and peer group sessions to develop confidence and experience of the tools and a requirement to write a reflective diary . The rewards, however, are enormous as you can see from the testimonials below which are from my current and past students.

 

‘While observing the pain release process it became clear that people were helped to recognise the link between their physical and emotional pain. It is a very simple mindfulness exercise that changes the client’s perspective on their suffering. The process brings about a feeling of peace and freedom and allows them to gain some insight into how they can see their pain in a healthier way.

 

I have watched this process in action a number of times and can say that the results were quite extraordinary; the clients afterwards looked relaxed and amazed at the power of their experience.

 

It is quick and simple to learn so the client can practice the technique in the comfort of their own home. It reduces the need for medication and combines well with other therapies. Clare Walters who presents the course is very professional and supportive in her teaching methodology, which made the learning a pleasant experience.

 

I cannot recommend this process highly enough for anyone working with people in emotional or physical pain. If you only attend one workshop this year make it this one’.

Stephen BaileyMedical Acupuncturist, Registered Osteopath, Sports Injury Specialist

 

'Probably THE most valuable tool I have for my own development and the sense of peace and love I get from doing it is second to none.' (life coach)

 

' I have benefitted enormously and been able to address some difficult issues. Some very profound personal healing.' (counsellor)

'I have a deeper understanding of my life’s purpose and its impact on those around me when I live it fully.’ (Homeopath)

 

©Clare Walters 2013

 

 

Bibliography

 

Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1991. ISBN 0-385-30312-2.Kabat-Zinn

The Diamind in your pocket. Gangaji

Loving What is. Byron Katie

The Journey. Brandon Bays

Living Enlightenment: A Call for Evolution Beyond Ego(2002), Andrew Cohen  ISBN 1-883929-30-X