At the beginning of this term, I noticed on the University LookUP page a short course called ‘Mindfulness Meditation’. I’ve always been intrigued by meditation so I signed up and gave it a go! We’ve been meeting once a week for the last 6 weeks and we had the final session yesterday. (It was completely free and run by the University). The sessions lasted for about an hour and a half a time. There was about 10 of us in the group, and the course leaders lead us through several meditative practices. So I though I’d tell you how it went.
The key concepet was ‘mindfulness’, which means being aware of the present moment. There is no ‘right’ way to meditate as there is nothing to ‘achieve’, except being in the present. A meditation can be as easy as sitting on a chair or lying on the ground, with the eyes closed, and simply breathing.
I enjoyed doing the exercises. By closing my eyes and giving myself the time to be still, I realised how many thoughts were running through my mind and that my thoughts are always filled with ‘to do’ lists.
Overall, the aim of the course was not to achieve enlightenment, but simply to recognise who we are. An emphasis was placed on acceptance, particularly on accepting that things often aren’t as we’d like them to be. It made me realise how much we dwell on the future and the past, and in doing so forget that ‘now’ is the most important moment. The past is just a memory and the future hasn’t happened.
Being a student can be a particularly stressful time especially as deadlines approach, and so we become lost in thought, constantly planning what we’ll be doing tomorrow. But, just for a moment today, why not take note of what is right in front of you – sights, sounds, smells and feelings – so you can escape (briefly) from ‘autopilot’ mode.