Secular mindfulness is a tried and tested
approach to well-being.
Every teacher brings their own approach.
More on my roots below, including
Secular mindfulness took root from the 1980s and is now a flourishing tradition in its own right, with centres of excellence, research and practice across the world.
Secular mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism. But you do not need to be religious to practice it, although you can bring your own spirituality to mindfulness, if you wish.
I have followed a Buddhist path for many years, and describe myself as “gently Buddhist”. When teaching secular mindfulness, however, I do not refer to my Buddhist practice. It supports me in the background as I continue to learn and follow (as best I can) a pathway to wisdom and compassion.
There are many sorts of mindfulness, and I encourage you to explore further if you wish to know more.
I am also inspired by the particular strand of mindfulness known as Recollective Awareness, taught by meditation teacher, Jason Siff.
Recollective Awareness is a method of meditation that welcomes every aspect of your inner experience, including thinking. Allowing the mind to rest organically where it chooses, or making choices for yourself as you go, meditation becomes ‘whatever you do when you sit to meditate’. It is defined by what your experience is, rather than an optimal state to which you aspire. Typically, you may follow your mind with gentle awareness even when it is wandering or sleepy, planning or cogitating. This encourages you to discover your authentic experience and increases your ability to feel and tolerate whatever comes along, even things you generally shun. In the process, you learn about your mind in different states.
Recollective Awareness is taught by Jason Siff in his books Unlearning Meditation (Shambhala, 2010) and Thoughts Are Not the Enemy (Shambhala, 2014). The following online site may also be helpful: Recollective Awareness.
I find this approach very helpful for busy, over-stretched people. It encompasses the world of thinking and overthinking. It includes sleepiness and over-sleepiness. It allows for the difficulty of meditating when you are stressed, or struggling to fit it in. This brings a fluidity and ease that encourages you to practice, and allows for a rich and beneficial experiences of mindfulness.
[Further links coming soon]