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A basic mindfulness practice

A new podcast from the November 2014 Spa Road Anxiety weekend where Alistair taught a very simple form of mindfulness to help work with anxious states. This is a recording of the guided practice, lasting c.

Scarborough and London

Looking ahead to 2015 (gulp!) we have some new London courses at the lovely Spa Road Centre and excitingly some new venues: namely, Scarborough (finally, a course in the North of the Country) and Jersey and Dublin.

how the 'B' road of breath leads to the landscape of life

Of course, if it were that easy to sit in bliss then we’d all be doing it. So what is it in the samadhi practice that allows this transition from left to right?

the liberation of boredom and the step to the right.

One of the first things we did on the Island was stand in the darkness on the bobbing, black jetty that stretches some 30 metres out into the inky sea (bright with phosphorescent plankton on that evening) and imagine how it would be to throw our mobile phones into the water.

The magic island and the big task

I got back last weekend from our annual Mindsprings retreat up on Holy Island, off the coast of Arran in Western Scotland.

resist MacMindfulness and become the Resistance!

I’ve been meaning to write about Suzanne Moore’s thought-provoking article in the Guardian last month.

You can often spot the speed at which columnists write their offerings by the bagginess of their style and this article is no different, bouncing about as it does between a critique of secular mindfulness, Marina Abramovic and the corporate hue of Adriana Huffington. But, nonetheless, Moore poses several key questions which I think are crucial for practitioners to ponder.

  1. Why is mindfulness so popular now in this particular historical moment, characterised as it is in Europe and America by grim austerity in the wake of financial collapse, regressive political tides and a seemingly bleak Middle East meltdown?
  2. How mindful are we of the creep of ‘MacMindfulness’ and the neutering of this radical practice into a sort of dissociated safe-space from the aforementioned bleakness? Moore calls this the “commodifying of blankness”
  3. If we are wary of mindfulness being co-opted by late capitalism as an efficient ‘pill’ that allows us to blank-out the excesses of exploitation, degradation and impoverishment that are being carried out around us, how can we ensure that mindfulness stays connected to the very radical potential of its original Buddhist roots?
  4. What is that radical potential and how much do we have to subscribe to the Buddhist belief that suffering comes from greed, hatred and ignorance to unlock it? How can we answer Moore’s central critique: “ This neutered, apolitical [mindfulness] … lets go of the idea we can change the world; it merely helps us function better in it”.

These are chunky questions but are more necessary than ever.

Discuss, while walking

It’s the first morning home and my feet are remarkably spry. Winchester in Hampshire to Brighton in East Sussex. That’s three English counties and 75 miles in six days.

Very pleased to announce a weekend workshop at the lovely Isis Centre in Jersey.

We're running a mindfulness or rather "Beingfulness" weekend there for the first time. Mindsprings in the Channel Islands... Can't wait.

Gallery

Apologies firstly for the long lacuna on this site.