Today I am preparing for another long weekend of Mindfulness Teacher Training. I’ve been doing this now for over a year, started last June.
My first experience was rather scary, flying out to Nepal to spend ten days in a Buddhist monastery. My first real introduction to mindful living, meditation and living in silence.
The routine was pretty harsh, getting up by about 5 in the morning. Shower and walk silently for tea. Then meditation for just over an hour. Breakfast, then more meditation, teachings and tea break. Followed by more meditation, teachings, lunch and then the same in the evening all the way up to 8.30 at night.
No meat, no talking at meals, no technology, no phone and early to bed. Oh and sharing the bathroom with I don’t even know how many others, including waking up to a monk brushing his teeth while I was trying to get into the shower. What an experience, I loved it even though it was so out of my comfort zone. I learnt so much about myself and more about living mindfully.
I continued my Mindfulness Training in the UK when I returned, some of it I do in London and some I do in Scotland. Mainly training in Buddhist centers but my training is non religious.
This weekend I am traveling up to Samye Ling in Scotland to complete the final weekend of my Mindfulness Teacher Training. I guess I am a bit nervous because to be a mindfulness instructor, teacher, facilitator or however you like to name it, there are certain expectations. Probably more from me than anyone else.
Mindfulness is a way of life and to be able to teach others you really need to embody the whole practice. I feel I am way off being totally mindful, that can be a tall order. On the other hand, mindfulness is also about self compassion and actually that is probably the most important thing for me. To be given the permission to be kind to myself and to teach others how to be self compassionate is what I love about this practice.
We are always harsh on ourselves, it’s almost impossible to be nice to ourselves and if we are, it’s often referred to as selfish.
I found mindfulness so important to me when I was going through my divorce and I still rely on my practice to keep me grounded. When I neglect my daily practice I notice things start to become less enjoyable, I am more stressed and I am not aware of the the day passing because I am less aware.
So as I make my way up to Scotland to spend three days in one of the most peaceful places I know, I am preparing to deepen my practice and hopefully share with others what I learn. Turning off the technology and being in the moment, with no distractions, perfect.