We feel it is important to have a picture of why we facilitate mindfulness classes at home and on yoga holidays but have not covered the full spectrum of potential reasons for people to attend mindfulness classes. I think it is safe to say that we are all in search of finding peace of mind and a little respite away from suffering of our daily lives, if only for a short time. I feel we put all our energy into facilitating mindfulness classes because we care.
When we set our intention to teach mindfulness practices to groups of participants we are effectively creating a safe container that has certain ground rules such as, safety, respect, confidentiality, trust, integrity and commitment. The environment inside this container then becomes a place for participants to embark on a journey personally and as a group to learn about themselves and the other group members through the practices of mindfulness. The participants are encouraged to see that they are the experts of their own direct experience and that the processes of mind that we are investigating fall into a continuum of experience that everybody in the group can relate to. As we move through the core practices of mindfulness we see that the attitude of kindness and feeling of compassion naturally begins to grow in each person as they learn to relate to each other and the experiences that naturally unfold in the moment in a kind and responsive way. Kindness and curiosity is the attitude that we have been exploring and cultivating through the practices as a group and towards ourselves. As the participants move through the mindfulness practices together they begin to notice that a lot of the time they are not present and spend a lot of time on automatic pilot or just going through the motions of everyday life, ignoring the impact that experience is having on them physically and emotionally. This realisation of not being present and spending time in past experiences or fantasising in the moment or perhaps worrying about the future that has not arrived yet, has a huge impact on the group and on every person. So you could say that as facilitators of mindfulness practices we have created an environment where everybody can see that habitually most of the time we are not present and that we can do something about it by learning to share our own experiences.
When everybody becomes aware that automatic pilot seems to be our default mental state of awareness far too often, then we can begin to promote engagement in the process of learning with willingness and openness from each other.