Author Topic: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?  (Read 5142 times)

Mungo

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Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« on: May 18, 2011, 07:17:58 AM »
There has been an increasing number of articles in the media lately that address the (perceived?) growing problem of violence in society schools and prisons. In yesterdays paper the front page was a story titled "TERROR TOTS". It was about the number of prep students being suspended from classes due to unruly behaviour both verbal and physical. Prep here is kind of pre preschool and is for the purpose of "conditioning" kids to integrate easier into primary school. Other stories I have read state that some prison staff are quite concerned for their own safety due to diminished powers of authority. Part of the problem I think is the governments "nanny state" we live in that teachers and prison staff have less power of autonomous authority than ever and the "trouble makers" take advantage of this. There is also some budget/government policies that are trying to get more money for mental health which is good - to a point. It seems that the money spent on mental health is aimed more at the symptoms and is weighted more to the psychiatry and medicinal solutions to the problems. To me this seems to suggest a bandaid patchup solution rather than addressing the root causes, which of course can be diverse and difficult to ascertain. It also may suggest that these so called trouble makers have something inherently wrong with them as opposed to the general conforming society of assimilation into the net profit generator system. There is of course the individuals that do have legitimate serious problems but is confusing to apply a zero tolerance across the board and then give the teachers guards etc reduced powers. I also appreciate that this is a huge problem that cant just simply be fixed overnight.

I have been doing a little poking around into the various associations/organisations that deal with mindfulness based practice. In the US especially there are a number of programs that deal with prisoners and young people (schools and detention centres) even for the dying and from what I have found it does seem to produce positive results. I have found hardly anything in Australia (prison dharma network have 2 - brisbane and hobart) particularly school based programs although there is the Karuna hospice for palliative care. One of the parents at my daughters school have suggested something similar but was told it was too "religious" and funnily enough one of our friends daughters (grade 7) was pulled up for being disruptive in religious education class when she asked why they only teach about god and jesus and nothing about buddha or vishnu or mohammed etc. It doesnt need to be religious at all and doesnt need a saffron robed monk to shuffle in and teach the dharma. Physical education is aimed more at sporting achievements and skills on the field here yet there is nothing about awareness of body image/health biomechanics or how kids should or shouldnt feel about their physicality. I think mindfulness based practice could help kids address their confidence or lack of, their feelings and perception of both themselves and how they treat others and the repercussions actions can bring. Its no magic cure of course but I believe it would be a good step. (end of greatly condensed rant).

Do any of your cities/states overseas have any programs like what I am trying to describe and do they show any improvement or progress?

PeaceAll....
You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep

Matthew

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Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 08:46:59 AM »
This was the research project I was working on, currently shelved. The plan was to provide increased emotional intelligence and resilience training including through using mindfulness to a large urban population including all the schoolkids.

There are programs in the UK. Cambridge University did a study and are teaching mindfulness trainers. The Hawn foundation (Goldie Hawn) does this in the US, Canada and is just starting in the UK.

Sounds like some of the attitudes over there are rather backwards Mungo.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Andrew

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Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 09:02:08 AM »
The Cambridge University connection sounds interesting Matthew, did they publish the course outline/material at all? I'm teaching my 3 boys to meditate, and it would be good to have a name like that to drop into conversations with the (christian) wife, "Don't worry love, no Buddha stuff here, Cambridge University approved this is!"

love

Andrew

getting it done

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 09:32:38 AM »
No you have to pay to qualify with them. Don't think they plan to release the stuff for free :(
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Morning Dew

Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 01:48:39 PM »
As far as i know there is nothing organised in Sweden or Danmark. Im trying to teach my wife how to keep her practice alive/daily. She lacks discipline and moral. She wants to do it but after 2-3 days she falls out of it. I asked her to promise me to practice every day for 5 minutes. She said 5 is too short she will try 15-20 minutes instead. I said that she is free to meditate for 3 hours if that is her will but only to promise me that she will do the first 5 minutes every day :) the rest is up to herself.
She agreed with this.

May we all be free from greed and ignorance

D

Mungo

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Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2011, 02:41:39 AM »
This was the research project I was working on, currently shelved. The plan was to provide increased emotional intelligence and resilience training including through using mindfulness to a large urban population including all the schoolkids.

There are programs in the UK. Cambridge University did a study and are teaching mindfulness trainers. The Hawn foundation (Goldie Hawn) does this in the US, Canada and is just starting in the UK.

Sounds like some of the attitudes over there are rather backwards Mungo.

Its a start I guess which is good. Currently shelved? Lack of interest, resources, funding? There was a story I read a while ago from a program in the US (I think). The teacher had a class of intellectually impaired kids - one with aspergers and had a kind of nervous tic that he was very self conscious of. The exercise was to walk around the class tables holding a dingaling type bell and concentrate on not making it ring. The other kids were snickering and whispering that he could never do it. It took all his concentration but he slowly achieved the whole lap without letting the bell ring. At the end he jumped for joy exclaiming I did it! I did it!

The being backwards bit would be a huge understatement unfortunately. We are chronologically advanced though - its almost lunchtime tomorrow here.

My partner (unmarried - living in sin haha) sometimes seems to be monkey mind personified. Apart from formal sitting practice which she doesnt do her altruism, ethics and general spirituality are second to none. She is sort of more the new agey airy fairy (her words) type - into bardon hermetics type stuff and I couldn't ask for a better teacher of true selfless compassion. I did get her to read mindfulness in plain english which she found very informative. She says her biggest hurdles is getting angry about getting angry and laziness to practicing any sitting.

Im not teaching my daughter any particular formal meditation techniques but am sort of "planting the seeds" at the moment by getting her to be inquisitive, investigative and trying to make it fun. I have shown her a mindfulness of eating exercise that I read about - we get a sultana (or anything really) and really look at it as if it was the first one ever seen, see the bumpiness, feel the texture, how does it smell. Then put it in your mouth and just let it sit. Find where the taste part of the tongue is felt and feel the saliva increasing as the sultana swells. Chew it slowly feeling it mush up and the taste fill the mouth. Swallow feeling it go down the throat. Get another and see that it looks the same but is completely different. Its funny now sometimes when I see her eating ice cream this way. I have also recently been able to teach her my hiccup remedy. She was complaining that she hates hiccuping (whilst hiccuping). I told her to go somewhere quiet (room toilet etc) sit down and concentrate/pay close attention on breathing, trying to get a full long slow breath in and a long slow breath out ignoring the hiccups and just breath. She came back out about a minute later and I asked did it work? Yes she said smiling. Then she asked what hiccups are which was hard to answer. A couple of months ago she was sitting drawing and went over and said Mum, do I have a good imagination. Mum says yes. Daughter says but whats good about it. Mum says you are very creative. Daughter says No I mean why is it good to have an imagination - whats it good for? I still can't quite answer this one.

Be Well All.
You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep

Andrew

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Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2011, 03:43:39 AM »
Good work Mungo, mindfullness sultana eating! Nice. I will try that one on the kids!

Nothing like having to teach a child to find out what you really believe! My oldest is 11 and starting to get depressed at having to go to school. I find that hard as I hated school for all 12 years! Cried on the very first day apparently and it didn't get better...

I teach them to meditate and watch their emotions, to open up their breathing and become very still. I'm not sure how much success they are having, but they keep asking for more lessons so the interest factor is high. The youngest calls it 'floating in jesus' (they go to a Baptist school and their mother takes them to church). It is a war of examples at the moment, I try to outdo her on the peaceful scale, which is, well, I guess we will see! I actually suspect that the wife tolerates meditation only because she has seen changes in me.

To be honest the teaching of meditation to kids is hard because it is so subtle, so simple yet elusive in application. I don't understand so much myself, and kids want all the answers now!

May all be peaceful and happy!

Andrew



 

 
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Alexanderjohn

Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2011, 04:45:36 AM »
Quote
No I mean why is it good to have an imagination - whats it good for?

I do love the beautifully simple curiosity of a child, we have much to learn from your daughter mungo!  :D

Mungo

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Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2011, 06:07:41 AM »
Haha Andrew - I to cried on my first day - when my mum and grandad dropped me off at class I escaped out a side door and when they got back to the car I was waiting there crying. It didn't get better for me either. I had few if any friends and was teased quite a bit. Even way back then my reaction was rebellious, was one of I dont care what they say, this really sucks but it is the way it is. Though I had no idea what causation was I used to walk to school and try to stop spontaneously without thinking and then just stand there for a minute or two just to try and change the way my day would turn out. I then realised I had no way to confirm if it worked or not.

Thats great about your boys practice and the interest they have.

There is absolutely no reason that a devout christian (or anyone) can not practice meditation. As far as Im concerned all genuine religions in the simplest form are a contemplative practice involving wisdom and compassion not just blind faith. How many kids know what religion actually is? Meditation is not confined to any doctrine.

She is one of my best teachers AlexanderJohn - Thanks

You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 06:22:28 AM »

There is absolutely no reason that a devout christian (or anyone) can not practice meditation. As far as Im concerned all genuine religions in the simplest form are a contemplative practice involving wisdom and compassion not just blind faith. How many kids know what religion actually is? Meditation is not confined to any doctrine.


You can't wake someone who is pretending to be awake either! I don't hold any hope of teaching her anything, well.. yes I do, but I know I have buckley's! You may or may not be surprised to know how much anything deviating from the norm threatens 'the faithful'...oh, yes, you do- the OP!

I just try and let it go. (That and buy random books about biblical and jewish meditation and leave them lying around the house! :D Let it go, bah, yeah right!)

A
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Mungo

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Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2011, 07:15:23 AM »
If anyone is interested here is a couple of links that are sort of what I am looking for. The gubberment here has more pressing issues though at the moment - that of the new dangerous craze of "planking" and helping pensioners out by getting them all tv set top boxes sheesh.

http://www.dhammabrothers.com/Synopsis.htm

http://mindfulnessinstitute.ca/MindfulnessResources/RelatedWebsites.aspx

http://mindfulschools.org/
You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2011, 07:29:18 AM »
Mindful Planking Classes? That could get government backing...think of all the lives they could save. Oh yeah, maybe one. Sounds like public service thinking to me!

Andrew
getting it done

Quardamon

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Re: Mindfulness based practice - just for the buddhish?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2011, 06:53:06 PM »
Hi Mungo,

You might want to check the video "Facing the Demons". It is awesome. (I saw the full version.)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQlMxYqu6Do
Terry O'Connell, the police officer in that trailer, is the same as on the website:
http://www.restorativejustice.org/leading/oconnel
He has written a handbook on organising and leading such meetings between criminals and victimes.
Furthermore see:
http://www.realjustice.org/

Real Justice (in this sense), also named Resorative Justice, is a variant of Family Group Conferencing, that originated in the contact between white social workers and Maori, in New Zealand.


 

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