Check out the Introduction
Check out Week 2 reflections
The focus of the first week of the Mindfulness Fundamentals course offered by Mindful Schools was about "Mindfulness of Breath". Breathing is the focus of many different approaches to meditation and it plays a big part in secular mindfulness as well. This week, we learned some useful tools about how to focus on our breathing during formal sitting practice. Even though I've got a good amount of experience meditating in the past, the lessons gave me some great pointers and made me aware of some things that I'd never noticed before. We also learned about using 'anchor words' to observe and make note of times when focus left the breath during meditation.
I continue to be really impressed with the curriculum on offer. All of the audio and video resources are professionally polished and the presenters do a great job of making students of the course feel welcomed and empowered to try, fail, learn, share, and try again. The staff of Mindful Schools all seem very friendly and are passionate about the work they are doing.
I've also been really happy to be a part of the online community that Mindful Schools creates through the use of discussion forums. Over 200 people are studying in my cohort, but 'home groups' of about 20(?) people are formed to foster closer communication. Members of my 'home group' are posting actively, and there's a positive and trusting vibe in the chat rooms.
I was really struck by one of my home group member's comments the other day:
I feel a bit selfish and panicked for it to be over so that I can get on with all the other things I "should be doing". I know that this practice is important, but at times I feel like I shouldn't even be taking 10 minutes to myself a day, which is insane.
I really connected with what my classmate was saying in the comment above. It's funny how I'll find myself burning away time like crazy on Twitter or Medium reading articles, sometimes for almost an hour at a time, but I often feel while sitting during meditation that I need to open my eyes right away and get back to work.
I never realized how much I keep myself busy and occupied all day. I hope that by the end of this course I'll be able to set aside those 10 minutes each day to chill out and be mindful.
Back with more next week!
Matthew Boomhower is a mid-career educator with 18 years of classroom teaching and educational leadership experience. He is Head of Innovation & Learning at an international school in Malaysia and is a proud husband and father.