2. The Eight Week Mindfulness Course
Mindfulness is normally taught in a small group setting and spread over eight sessions under the guidance of a qualified mindfulness teacher. (Courses normally cost around £200 per person.)
Below is an outline of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre 8-week course as laid out in the book ‘Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
Week 1: Waking up to the Autopilot
Realise that we are often living on auto pilot.
People are encouraged to ‘wake up’ to the present moment.
Try the raisin meditation where you slowly eat a raisin noticing everything about it.
Homework - choose something from your daily routine to do slowly and mindfully.
Week 2: Keeping the Body in Mind
Realise we spend much of the time ‘living in our heads’.
Explore the difference between thinking about a sensation and experiencing it.
Try walking mindfully and think about things to be grateful for.
Week 3: The Mouse in the Maze
Recognise that the body is very sensitive to emerging unsettling feelings.
It is an early warning system which allows you to head off problems before they gain unstoppable momentum.
Re-evaluate some things in life like the television.
Week 4: Moving Beyond the Rumour Mill
See thoughts as mental events that come and go just like sounds.
This will enhance clarity and encourage a different perspective on busyness and troubles.
Think about how you can be sucked into over thinking.
Week 5: Turning Towards Difficulty
Many of life’s problems can be left to resolve themselves but some need to be faced with a spirit of openness, curiosity and compassion.
Face rather than avoid the difficulties that arise in your life from time to time.
Week 6: Trapped in the Past or Living in the Present?
Try cultivating loving kindness and acts of generosity in daily life.
Cultivate friendship towards yourself, including for what you see as your failures.
Week 7: When Did You Stop Dancing?
When we are ‘stressed’ we tend to give up the things which nourish us to make time for the more ‘pressing’ and ‘important’ things.
Make a list of all the activities you do in a normal day and indicate which nourish you and which deplete you. Reflect on how you can redress the balance.
Week 8: Your Wild and Precious Life
The final week helps people to think about weaving mindfulness into daily life, so that it’s always there when needed most.