Mindfulness & Meditation
Providing our students with the skills and techniques required to help themselves.....The Mindful Meditative Way
Mindfulness is the buzzword of the moment. It seems to be everywhere. From psychology to education, from psychotherapy to the worlds of business and management the “mindful way of doing things” is the prescribed way of achieving success and the conduit by which all of these disparate disciplines hope to move to the next level. This current wave of mindfulness arises from the work of John Kabit-Zinn an American professor who with his book “Full Catastrophe Living”, (which itself arose after his own experience of the usefulness of a series of exercises proposed by the Buddhist Monk and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh at a retreat he attended), opened up the practice of Mindfulness for the twentieth century. At a time when humanity seems to be mindless in so many of the directions it is taking Mindfulness, as proposed by Kabit-Zin and many others like him, has offered a way of becoming present to ourselves, to each other and to the transcendent dimension of life in a way that is accessible to everyone. However this way of presenting mindfulness has led to a false belief that the discipline is one that is only found in eastern traditions. In fact, all religions and cultures have taught that the mindful state is the prerequisite for beginning the meditative path, and this includes our own Judeo-Christian tradition.
Jesus Himself teaches the disciples to dwell in the present moment, having no care for tomorrow but trusting in the loving providence of the Father. In teaching them of prayer He insists they must enter the inner room of their heart and there encounter the presence of the Father who is already there, present and waiting for us in the present moment. In speaking of the Holy Spirit, the life of God within them, Jesus teaches them to perceive the presence of the Spirit as the breath of life, (pneuma), and after His resurrection breathes the Holy Spirit over them. The ancient fathers of the Chruch such as St.’s John Climacus, John Cassian, Benedict, Gregory Nazianzus, and all those coming from the desert monastic tradition, continually returned to these ideas and spoke of the necessity of developing the “art of attending to the present moment” and allows us to “Be Still and Know that I am God.” (Ps:46). Therefore the practice of Mindfulness Meditation has always been a part of our prayer tradition and we must give thanks that the modern wave of Mindfulness has woken us up to the ever ancient, ever new contemplative path that is distinctively our own as Christians, while also allowing us a space in which to dialogue with our brothers and sisters of other traditions and learn from them as they learn from us. The mindful, meditative path is the path of every Christian and indeed of every human being, and a universal invitation to know the God who IS and whose ISness of Love is revealed in the precious present moment.
In St. Colmcille’s we recognise the importance of allowing our young people an experience of this ‘precious present moment’. We recognise the importance of equipping them with the necessary skills to manage their emotions and to enable them to relax to achieve their true potential.
Our students have one period of meditation a week in our prayer room. During this time students are introduced to a variety of meditation, mindfulness, relaxation and emotional well being techniques.
Some benefits of using these techniques
Relief from stress and anxiety (meditation mitigates the effects of the “fight-or-fight” response, decreasing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline).
Decreased blood pressure and hypertension.
Lower cholesterol levels.
More efficient oxygen use by the body.
Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA.
New research is also showing that meditation restores the brain. A landmark study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that as little as eight weeks of meditation not only helped people feel calmer but also produced changes in various areas of the brain, including growth in the areas associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation.
We have put together a very valuable bank of resources for students and parents to give them an opportunity to relax and unwind from all of the worry and concerns of life. These meditations and relaxation exercises can bring calm and peace into your life.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
This is an excellent resource for breathwork, safe space, head and finger holds and tapping(EFT). https://capacitar.org/wp-content/uploads/EngCapEmergKit.pdf