‘Mindfulness and Transformation’: Key Takeaways

A wonderful write up from an event attendee who came to our 4th Annual Mindfulness event at the iconic Coventry Cathedral - Mindfulness & Personal Transformation

Last night I went to an event called ‘Mindfulness and Transformation’. The event was held at historical Coventry Cathedral and was organised by The Flame, a holistic and wellness centre in Coventry. This was the fourth annual mindfulness event. With my interest in mindfulness as a technique for managing IBS, I was keen to see what it entailed.

The event was a combination of case studies – personal accounts of mindfulness, music, meditation and talks from experts. And no, at no point was anyone sat cross legged on the floor making a ‘hmmm’ noise – mindfulness really isn’t like that at all!

I’d like to share my key takeaways from this event:

The ability to Transform using Mindfulness

Five people bravely shared their personal experiences of mindfulness. What struck me was the transformation they described. Going from feelings of anxiety, depression, no ‘off’ button, stresses/worries about the future and feeling pressure to live according to societies ‘box’ of expectations – to gaining a whole new perspective.

Mindfulness was described as providing appreciation, gratitude, a shift in priorities, changing negative thoughts to positive thoughts, overcoming long-term health issues, finding inner peace and accepting yourself for you. This is just a snippet of how mindfulness has changed five people’s lives, but the overall message was that mindfulness CAN and DOES change lives!

My favourite quote of the night came from Lucy, one of the case studies. I’ve heard the quote before and it couldn’t be more apt for the topic being discussed.

S.O.B.E.R.

Dav Panesar guided us through a present moment meditation using this acronym. I thought it was a good one to keep in mind – it’s one that can be used anywhere.

S = Stop

O = Observe

B = Breathe

E = Expand

R = Respond

More information on S.O.B.E.R. here >>>

The Power of Music

There were a variety of music acts as part of the event. Music was described as being mindful because while you’re listening, you’re focusing on the music and nothing else.

  • Mongolian throat singing. I’d not consciously come across this music genre before, but wow, what a voice. I felt transfixed listening to Xufei.

  • The guzheng – music meditation. Very relaxing to listen to.

  • Belles of Three Spires. This ladies choir were fab. We were treated to Queen and Billy Joel!

You can watch the above acts on The Flames’ Facebook page – enjoy!

‘The Mind is Tricky’

Dr Miguel Farias really knows his stuff (understatement). While mindfulness can be overwhelmingly positive, he also talked about the importance of being careful with meditation – after all ‘the mind is tricky’ (advice, he himself had received). He talked about mindfulness being a trip, not a destination and that it will affect people differently at different times.

Dr Farias discussed that mindfulness could have the reverse effect due to expectations of what mindfulness can do and feelings of failure if the desired effects aren’t achieved. In addition, he talked about science being unhelpful in seeing mindfulness as a gym for the mind – whereas minds are SO much more than a muscle!

He encouraged everyone to look at the bigger picture – meditation should be used to assist us with challenging and dealing with who we are – it should not be seen as a holiday for the mind.

Key learnings from Dr Farias’ talk:

  • The mind is tricky

  • Science can be unhelpful while trying to help

  • Embrace the different varieties of mindfulness

  • BUT – you have to persist and keep trying

I found his talk really interesting. Has anyone read ‘The Buddha Pill’? He’s the co-author of this book!

McMindfulness

The only way to know yourself, is to know yourself. Dav Panesar.

Dav’s talk focused on the importance of support and guidance in mindfulness approach. Why? Because otherwise you can end up with McMindfulness (I loved this description!) In the same way that McDonalds offer fast food, McMindfulness provides instant gratification. It provides a taste, but it’s no good in the long-term. Approaching mindfulness in this way can have the same negative effects.

Instead, mindfulness should be approached comprehensively, which leads to nourishment for the self and others. Really interesting talk and certainly gave me food for thought!

No emotions are bad

Dav finished by answering a question about emotions. His answer: No emotions are bad, they’re all a feedback mechanism. This stuck with me as something that’s important to recognise.

Well, that sums up a really fascinating evening – here’s hoping for another event next year! If there is, and anyone wants to come with, feel free

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