Sunday, October 27, 2013
I started a mindfulness course last week. Normally these classes cost between 300 - 800 euor's per course of 8 classes. Which is extremely expensive.
However the local course center which uses volunteer teachers offers a Mindfulness course this autumn and it costs a lot less, only about 50 euro's.
I've read a book or two about mindfulness and I've always been 'curious' about it. So this was my chance to follow a course and see how I like it, get an impression of what it it - Mindfulness is a big trend here - without having to pay a lot of money. I figured that if I get a good impression of it I can always still take a class with another teacher. At least then I'll have an idea of what I'm getting into.
The class was last Thursday and though the teacher strikes me as a bit weird (during the open day of the course center he told me a lotl about his relationships and his past, for example) I think he taught the first lesson well.
We learned two homework exercises: one is a 'meditation' (though he prefers to call it 'exercise' not 'meditation') on the breath: just sit still for 20 minutes and follow the feeling and movement of the breath. 'Just' is a bit of an understatement because for me, and for most people, it's not that easy to SIT STILL for 20 minutes and focus on one's breathing.
The other exercise to do at home was to lie down and do a 'body scan'. It means you rest and focus on the breath again for a few minutes and then focus on feeling the toes of your left foot. After a few breaths / a few minutes of attention on those toes, feel the upper part of the foot. Then the sole of the foot. Then the calf (upper and lower part), knee, thigh, and so on. Scanning all of the body like that. It should take about 40 minutes, in class we did twenty and that was plenty for me.
We also did an exercise tasting a tangerine. With closed eyes we were asked to hold up our hand and the teacher put a tangerine in it. First we were asked to touch and feel it with both hands. Then to smell it. Then to listen to it! Then to open our eyes and take a good look at it. Then we were allowed to peel it and take one part in our mouth, but no biting or chewing yet. Feeling / noticing what that was like. Then, we got permission to bite, again paying a lot of attention to all that there was to notice.
It was a good and interesting morning. I've done a lot of training of this type, meditation, yoga and so on. But in the past months / years I have slacked with that practice, so it was good to have this experience.
We're supposed to do 2x 24 minutes of the breathing exercise and one bodyscan per day. That is a lot, for me. So I made it an 'other goal' to do these exercises 4 times a week, while still trying to do them, or part of them, daily.
What I noticed so far is that this type of exercise helps to be more calm and 'still'. And that afterwards, all experiences are more intense; one's consciousness (well, mine, anyway) becomes 'sharper', so to speak, you get more aware of everything because of the exercises.