Image courtesy of Sam Bottrill

When Jon Kabat-Zinn came to London last month, TMI’s Sam Bottrill (lecturer and supervisor) had this lovely picture taken with him.

Some more of us managed to get tickets to the sold out event organised by Action for Happiness at Friends’ House, Euston, London but only Sam got a pic with the man credited with bringing mindfulness to a secular audience more than 30 years ago.

All 1000 of us seemed to raise our hands when he asked if we had a meditation practice of some sort. Kabat-Zinn claimed that 25 years ago, not only would the room not have been filled but just one or two hands might have gone up.

Kabat-Zinn’s approach was filled with acceptance. He corrected himself a few times when he felt he was being didactic rephrasing it so he was only ever saying, “This is what works for me.” For him, that’s sitting on the floor, cross-legged, first thing each morning.

When he led us all in a group mindfulness meditation, I was able to accept the part of my brain screaming, “Jon Kabat-Zinn’s leading us in a mindfulness meditation!” and let it go.

In the past, daily morning meditation had felt too much but Kabat-Zinn’s willingness to just be with “the full emotional landscape” and the way he radiated calm and compassion made me commit more to it.

I stuck the orange dot I was given in exchange for my ticket onto my bedroom light switch to remind me to meditate first thing each morning. While I already had a practice, several weeks on, this first thing addition has revolutionised it for me. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, it definitely impacts my whole day for the better.

Whatever your practice, notice what works for you. When does it bring you most peace? How can you build on that?

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