Mindfulness: Feedback from Craig and Richard – Week 4 – April 2019

April Fools, being 1st of April around the world. And, of course, we’ve got
a feedback video for you this week. CRAIG HASSED: That’s right. RICHARD CHAMBERS: And our final
one for this run of the course. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. CRAIG HASSED: So lots
of interesting insights, of course, from this week. And some of the
learners have been saying– they’ve been
finding are still sceptical about the
benefits, and so on. RICHARD CHAMBERS: I
think that’s a good thing to do to be sceptical and to
really sort of question things. CRAIG HASSED: And
healthy scepticism. And it’s interesting to look. When we’re sitting
down to practise, are we actually really
practicing mindfulness? Or are we sitting down
and going, come on. Where are the benefits? Give me the benefits. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yes. CRAIG HASSED: Am I
experiencing anything yet? And what we’re actually
doing is not really focusing on the mindfulness. We’re sort of constantly
comparing, criticising, our experience. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. With the kind of in the
future, or caught up in judgments and
evaluations about what’s happening, rather than actually
practicing mindfulness. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. So scepticism, in a funny kind
of way, can get in the way, because we’ve got this
constant comparing, critical kind of attitude
of that’s filtering through the whole practise. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
It’s a paradox. Isn’t it? Because all the
research does suggest that there are benefits. I mean, there is certainly a lot
of research now showing that. And a lot of people come
to mindfulness wanting to get something from it. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: To be less
stressed, or more productive, or to help with their mental
health, or whatever it is. But we almost actually have
to let go of that to actually practise fulness so that
we’re not in the future, or not comparing what’s
happening now with then. And it’s very interesting thing. Isn’t it? CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. And so lots of
interesting things that people have noticed. Ruminating less. Freedom to decide
better over actions. Sleep’s improving. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
Feeling more alert. Yeah. It’s great. CRAIG HASSED: So it’s
a whole range of things that learners are noticing. RICHARD CHAMBERS: And
some notice that once they’ve established a
meditation practise, when they don’t meditate,
they feel different. They bump or drop things,
according to one learner. Or perhaps just feel
a little bit more stressed or distracted. And that’s a good thing
to notice, I think. Once you reach
that tipping point, and there’s some momentum in
the practise, to take a day off, then the day is just
not quite as good. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. It’s an interesting question
that came up about meditation is a process of transcending
the , or going beyond the . But how will mindfulness
help in that, since we keep observing
the mind and its workings? RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yes. That’s a good question. Isn’t it? CRAIG HASSED: It is. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
Little question. Not a very profound one. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. So in a sense, the
transcending of the mind, it depends on what
we mean by that. If, for example, we
mean that the mind becomes very quiescent– RICHARD CHAMBERS: You
might want to define quiescent, for me at least. CRAIG HASSED: It stops
thinking and talking, or doing its usual thing. Then we might have
a sense of very deep and profound stillness. There can still
be a sense of very deep and profound stillness,
even though the mind still presents a thought here
and a thought there. And there’s a kind of total
sense of standing back in awareness of the thought
without any involvement in it at all. So a kind of total
non attachment. And if we mean by that,
there is a kind of– that we’re not
affected by the mind, even though the
mind might think. And in mindfulness, we do
notice if thoughts arise. We’re not necessarily
going with the thoughts. But we’re, in a sense,
totally standing back and impartial to the thoughts. RICHARD CHAMBERS: And
recognising that they’re just things that are
happening in the mind. And perhaps we’re
not our thoughts. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. The way I like to
meditate these days, I really love those choiceless
awareness practises. And I just like to sort of stop. Just sit. And not try to control
anything, and allow everything to be as it is. And now I just get
really interested. What is it that’s
aware right now? And I’m sort of turning the
awareness back on itself. And I don’t know if I’d call
it transcending anything. But that’s a very interesting
experience, and quite an interesting inquiry as well. I love that one. CRAIG HASSED: And
it’s certainly, for mindfulness, not about
being in the mind all the time. Although, we do
develop the capacity to choose which sorts
to give attention to, and which ones to leave alone. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yes. CRAIG HASSED: I mean,
the mind doesn’t become a totally redundant
piece of instrument or anything. But it’s something we can
use better as an instrument when we do it mindfully. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
What do they say? A very good tool, but not such a
good master, perhaps, the mind. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Mindful
eating is really popular too, as people continued
exploring informal practise. And there were some
really good sort of comments about really
enjoying things more, whether it was just a meal,
or eating a chocolate, and really enjoying that. Really savouring food, at
least the first mouthful, or the last mouthful,
if not the whole meal. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: I think
it’s really interesting. And, of course, mindful eating,
I mean, broadly speaking, it really includes noticing the
signals the body’s giving is. Are we actually hungry? Or are we eating cause
we’re stressed or emotional, and learning to distinguish
those things just by paying attention? To savour each mouthful. Perhaps to notice the effect
that the food has on us afterwards so that we
can start to notice if we’re eating things that are
actually good for our bodies. So it’s quite a
broad topic really. CRAIG HASSED: And if we’re
doing a mindful eating meditation, as it
were, taking one grape, and taking the whole hour
over it, for example, I mean, that’s not a kind
of usual form of eating. And we can eat mindfully. But it doesn’t have
to be slow like that. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. CRAIG HASSED: Taking
forever to chew something. So we can be eating mindfully,
which means to taste the food, to experience the
experience of eating. But it doesn’t have to be slow. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. CRAIG HASSED: In fact, if we’ve
got the idea that being mindful means always being slow, then
we’re going to miss the point. You know, if an
elite athlete who’s working incredible precision
and speed on the court, but they’re doing
it very mindfully, but the attention’s so– RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. Or a Formula One driver, or a
professional skydiver I imagine is probably pretty in
the moment as well. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. I imagine a Formula
One driver said, oh, I took up mindfulness. And I don’t get out of
second gear these days. [LAUGHING] I don’t think that’s going to go
down well with the– sponsors. RICHARD CHAMBERS: No. So the mindful eating practise
in this course was like an exercise, or even
an eating meditation. But perhaps we want to just
think about bringing 5 or 10% more mindfulness to all of
our meals, just to, perhaps, savour them, notice what
signals the body is giving us, doing things like that. CRAIG HASSED: And
movement as well. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
Mindful movement. Yeah. I mean, anything that we do
can be a mindfulness practise. We can either do it
unmindfully or mindfully. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
And things like moving around, cause we spend
so much of our day moving, eating, doing things like that. So to bring some
mindfulness to that, which just means to
pay attention and fully engage in that activity,
it’s a great way of practicing mindfulness. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Maybe
not get so injured as well on the sporting field if we’re
actually paying attention. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: And
what about emotions? A lot of questions
around that as well. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. Yeah. And look, noticing
that this is not easy. I mean, the
principles are simple. But it’s not easy. And even if we’re just aware
of the impact of holding on, we’re more aware of the
presence of non-acceptance. Even if we don’t feel like
we’re fully accepting, that’s alright. We can still bring,
paradoxically, acceptance to the fact that
there’s non acceptance. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yes. CRAIG HASSED: It’s just
noticing resistance. And it’s just like
being gentle with that. And this– and
especially with things that are deeply
entrenched, it takes time. And if we’re just becoming
more aware of what’s currently there, and how it may not
always be serving us well, then that’s a sign of progress. RICHARD CHAMBERS: But just
learning to recognise and sit with emotions I think is
also such a powerful thing. Isn’t it? CRAIG HASSED: Especially in
something like bereavement. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Oh, yeah. Well, that’s the black
belt mindfulness challenge right there. Isn’t it? I mean, strong
emotions like that are super hard just to be with. And if we maybe practise with
the less intense emotions, just learning to sit with is
a felt experience in the body, to notice and let go of the
stories that go along with it so that we’re not just
getting stuck in that emotion. I think that’s a pretty healthy
way to be with an emotion. CRAIG HASSED: Yes. That’s right. Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: And then, of
course, continuing post course. I mean, this being the week
four and final feedback video of this particular
run of the course. A lot of learners
are sort of noting, this is just the beginning
of a journey really. It’s certainly not,
mindfulness, tick. OK. Done that. What’s the next course? This is very much the beginning
of, I don’t know about you, but I think this
is a lifelong path. Isn’t it? CRAIG HASSED: Yes. RICHARD CHAMBERS: And so
learners were asking for some tips for maintaining
that practise. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. Well, look, there’s
a bunch of things. I mean there’s a very good– in step 4.13, there’s
lots of great tips there. RICHARD CHAMBERS: So just there
are some downloadable tips, aren’t there, that people could
use to maintain and establish a practise. CRAIG HASSED: Joining
with the group, or connecting with friends who
practise this helps to keep it in the forefront of their minds. RICHARD CHAMBERS: So just
googling that, perhaps, finding a group in
your local community. CRAIG HASSED: Some great apps. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
Excellent apps around now. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. So Headspace, Smiling
Mind, for example. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Calm. 10% Happier. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. And the regularity– We get into
the regularity of a practise. And you obviously can
taper it according to your day, and et cetera. RICHARD CHAMBERS: It’s scalable. Isn’t it? I mean, it might be a
20 minute meditation. Or it might just be
a few commas here and there throughout
a really busy day. I guess any practise is good. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. And remembering the benefits
of practise that we’ve actually noted. But also remembering the
cost of being unmindful. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yes. CRAIG HASSED: Just to keep that
in the forefront of their mind. Is that what we want
more of in our lives? I suspect not. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. Prioritising time. I mean, obviously
once we get busy and we get that amygdala
hijack happening, and the prefrontal
cortex turns off, and all those healthy
habits, like sleep, eating well, and drinking water
kind of go out the window. And meditation tends
to go with them. So just making sure that
we’ve prioritised that. There’s that meditator joke
that everybody should meditate for 20 minutes a day, unless
they’re too busy, in which case they should meditate
for an hour. Right? CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. RICHARD CHAMBERS: So
I think particularly on those busy days,
starting the day I like to try to start my
day with some meditation if I know I’m going
to have a big one. So that helps too. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. And, of course, we’ve
got the next run of the mindfulness, well
being, and peak performance course coming up. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yep. That starts 1st of July. So this course
starts again in July. And our follow up
course, Maintaining a Mindful Life, that starts
on the 29th of April. CRAIG HASSED: That’d
be a great follow on. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Definitely. And so if you want
to sort of continue to have access to the
materials in this course, you might want to
think about upgrading. Yeah. And please let
people know as well. If you’ve enjoyed this
course, tell your friends. Tell your family. Share it on social media,
just so other people can find their way to
doing it, because hopefully this mindfulness thing
might continue to spread. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah. Thanks, Richard. Thanks for everything. And thanks to the wonderful
team behind the scenes. Jen and Sherelle who’ve been
providing the mentoring. And Kat and Rowan and Adrian
all a fantastic team here at Monash and the
team at FutureLearn. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Beautiful. Love your shirt, by the way. CRAIG HASSED: That’s great too. Where’d you get yours? RICHARD CHAMBERS: Oh, from
The Mindfulness Store. CRAIG HASSED: Did you? RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah. The mindfulness shirt from
The Mindfulness Store. CRAIG HASSED: Oh, great. Everybody should have one. RICHARD CHAMBERS:
Everybody should.

Jerry Heath

One Comment

  1. Thank you for a great course, I will be continuing to behave in a more mindful way. I am about to start reading "The Essence of Health The Seven Pillars of Well being" by Dr Craig Hassed

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