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Mindfulness supports you to study and thrive

 

Mindfulness is...

• A well researched and effective approach to improving well-being 
• An entirely secular approach to meditation
• A natural human impulse to be aware, alert and centred
• An umbrella term for practices which develop these qualities

 

Benefits include …

• Clearer and calmer body and mind (thinking and emotions)
• Resourceful responses to stress and anxiety
• Staying alert, aware and focused under pressure
• Feeling more confident and resilient
• Growing understanding of yourself and others

 

Mindfulness involves …

• Learning a series of short secular meditations
• Developing a regular ‘practice’ (much like learning a language, musical instrument, or going to the gym)
• Attending a mindfulness course, such as the ones offered in our current timetable
• Time and willingness to practice between 15-30 minutes daily

 

 

 

Frequently asked questions - about mindfulness meditation

Is meditation the same as relaxation?
You may find overlaps with other hobbies or disciplines which encourage awareness, such as some kinds of sports, creative work such as writing or music, bodywork practices (e.g. yoga or tai chi), contemplative prayer, emotional or psychological self-reflection. However, every different system holds its gems. It is likely that you will discover something new and different in the mindfulness approach (if only because you are also doing it in this particular situation, at this time, with this teacher).

 

Does meditation involve emptying my mind?
You may experience moments of clarity and calm, in which thoughts quieten down and dissolve. However, meditation always involves and includes your thinking capacity. Mindfulness is about learning to accept what happens inside you in a self-accepting way, not getting rid of it or suppressing it.

 

Do I need to sit cross-legged?
The course is taught seated on chairs. If you would like to trying using a stool or cushion, you can ask advice from the teacher. In general,  you can practice meditation seated in the chair or lying on your back on the floor. The principle is that you are aiming to "fall awake”, not fall asleep! So a relaxed but alert position is ideal.

 

Suppose I experience strange symptoms when I meditate?
Some people experience interesting things when they meditate. Many of these are completely normal, and often enjoyable.  For example, you may feel unusual body senses such as tingling, heat, your hands and feet seeming to change size, etc.  Some people experience vivid imagery such as spontaneous colours and images. If you have questions about your experience, feel free to raise them during the class, or (if you want more privacy) by catching your teacher just before or after a class (or see below for email information).

 

Can meditation ever cause damage?
Meditation is about discovering what is already within you, and listening to it more deeply in a caring, non-judgemental way. If you have fears that your thoughts and emotions will overwhelm you when you meditate, it may not be the right time for you to learn mindfulness meditation. If in doubt, please talk it over with your college nurse or tutor before you start the course. If you are worried or concerned about your experience as you start to meditate regularly, please contact your meditation teacher (Elizabeth English) by booking for an initial phone consultation on our Google signup document here. You can also email your meditation teacher (in term time only) on mindfulness@admin.cam.ac.uk.