Q – When should I practice sitting Mindfulness and how long should I sit?
A – Three times a day if you can and for no longer than ten or fifteen minutes. Only extend this time if you instinctively ‘feel’ it would be beneficial
Q – Is this not just avoiding reality and problems?
A – On the contrary. Mindfulness is DIRECT contact with reality. It is the ultimate exposure to feelings and thoughts that cause so many of our problems.
Q – So mindfulness doesn’t really solve problems it just makes you feel calmer about them?
A – In one way, the aim of Mindfulness is not to manipulate your experience but that doesn’t mean it won’t lead to CHANGES in your life. For instance, if, through mindfulness, you see clearly that your avoidant behaviour is maintaining certain problems you are far more likely to change that.
Q – Is mindfulness a safe practice for anyone?
A – For nearly all people Mindfulness is useful or at least not harmful. However, people that suffer from schizophrenia or other serious mental diseases should be careful. If a person with a serious mental illness practiced mindfulness in a certain way – for instance with their eyes closed or for hours at a time – they might get further caught up in destructive thinking patterns. Anyone who has a serious mental illness should only practice under strict supervision or at least make sure they stick to the guidelines laid down in this booklet.
Q – What if the ‘present moment’ is horrible for me, why would I want to be more aware of it?
A – To begin with, although avoidance can bring temporary relief it usually stores up more trouble in the long run because we never learn how to cope with our feelings. But it also very important to remember that sitting Mindfully in the present moment does NOT mean that we should focus MORE on distressing thoughts or feelings.
Thoughts become more distressing if we take them into the past or future. We can then be consumed by regret or fear. To stay in the present moment gives us much less to have to deal with. We also see that our thoughts and feelings are only a PART of our actual overall experience.