Where does mindfulness fit in?
In my work as a family lawyer I realised early on that although the law could provide remedies, it usually worked best as part of wider changes in how clients felt about their situation. I became involved in various initiatives to explore how to make the transition through separation be more three dimensional and about 30 years ago also trained as a mediator.
For the last 30 years I have been in a Zen Buddhist group which helped me navigate the challenge of running a business and helping clients going through stressful times. I was interested to see the increasing popularity of contemporary mindfulness with a close link to evidence based positive outcomes from the practices.
In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine, founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course at the University of Massachusetts to help people deal with chronic pain and stress. Buddhist practices were among the elements it drew from. Mindfulness ideas and practices are now used in medicine to help treat a variety of conditions and to promote physical and mental wellbeing. MBSR and similar courses are now widely applied in the NHS, schools and business as well as for individuals.
I decided to explore this approach and attended an 8 week mindfulness course in 2012 to find out more. I’ve since completed training as a mindfulness teacher.
Mindfulness fosters being aware of what is going on in the present moment, rather than getting drawn into regret about the past or anxiety about the future. It can help us to respond creatively and compassionately, rather than reacting unconsciously or habitually.
A very helpful approach when dealing with the stress and challenges that separation generates.