(Back left to right) Christian O’Toole – Committee member, Gabriel Oraszvary – President, Vic Care – Committee member
(Front left to right) Bianca Otto - Committee member, Anita Wood -Treasurer, Judi Adams – Funding Co-ordinator, Patricia Reilly – Vice President & Mindfulness In Schools Facilitator, Eliza Anthony – Secretary
Peninsula Mindfulness Incorporated provides its signature Relaxation Meditation and Mindfulness Course in several locations on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria in addition to our Mindfulness in Schools (MIS) program that we run in both Primary & Secondary Schools across the Peninsula.
Attending the course, parents, managers, teachers and students, doctors, counselors and their clients, the healthy and health-challenged aged from 12 to 80 have found ways to operate in today’s stressful conditions with more calmness, clarity and happiness.
You can attend one of our courses; or, In partnership with your school, community group, government or non-government organization we will design workshops, classes, presentations or courses to suit differing situations and meet your particular needs.
The building blocks we have to work with are:
Relaxation, Mindfulness and Meditation
Relaxation is a form of training the body.
By Relaxation, we mean progressively and consciously teaching the body’s ‘bunches’ of muscles to lengthen, soften and let go of the tension we get so used to holding that we no longer notice it’s there.
Participants learn to do this by being guided through the process, and through repetition.
We practice relaxing while sitting, while standing and while walking.
Participants are able to carry over their new skills into the lying position. Thus, you can teach the body, through practicing, to be more relaxed all the time.
This not only makes you feel better; it also releases for better uses the energy you have been using to hold the muscles tight; allows the body to move more freely; and releases held emotional tension from the muscles, giving it a chance to be dealt with or let go (which can be done using mindfulness and / or meditation).
Mindfulness and Meditation are forms of training the mind.
By Mindfulness, we mean bringing the attention into the here and now; being fully present.
Once we get used to this idea, we discover it’s remarkable how much of the time we spend thinking about the past or future. We worry about things that have happened, things we’ve said or done; we get anxious about the future. Often we imagine that things were, or will be worse than they are. Sometimes we get ‘circular’ thoughts that repeat themselves over and over; sometimes these thoughts are disturbing ones.
It’s not complicated to bring one’s mind energy into the present; but it does take practice.
It’s like building ‘mind muscles’. Like going to a gym for the mind. It’s one of the practices that will make our minds fit and healthy so they work better for us.
One of the characteristics of mindfulness is that it makes us more objective. We notice and watch what’s happening and become less immersed in it. That objectivity can give us a moment in which we can decide what to do instead of reacting without thinking. This can feel enormously empowering.
Mindfulness can bring both relief and joy. Relief because of the space that develops in the mind, instead of the crowded hurly-burly of thoughts; and because gradually, through practice, one learns to direct the mind away from thoughts that are unhelpful and make us unhappy, and towards thoughts that are helpful and make us happier. And joy, because we begin to notice how wonderful each moment is! There are miracles all around us, if we can notice them. One of them is that we notice that we’re becoming more and more skilful at controlling the mind!
While we can practice Mindfulness literally all the time and anywhere (the key is to remember to do it!), the practice of Meditation is done more formally, usually in a particular place and for a defined time.
One of its aims is to give the mind a rest. As with the tension in the body, we’re usually unaware of the mind’s constant activity – we take it for granted. And we assume that it rests while we’re resting the body in sleep. In fact, it’s busy dreaming and ‘packing away’ things from the day. Imagine what would happen if we never rested the body – we would simply collapse. Similarly, our minds sometimes collapse – we get ‘burned out’, or depressed, experience an anxiety attack or even a nervous breakdown.
Meditation rests the mind by encouraging it to focus on a single ‘meditation subject’.
Often, the breathing is used, because it’s always there, and because it directs our attention internally, away from the external world. To meditate, we go to as quiet a place as we can find, organize to remain undisturbed for 10 to 20 minutes, sit in a relaxed and alert position and simply focus on the feeling of each breath, in and out. It’s restful!
There are specific ways of dealing with the interruptions to our focus that inevitably occur, particularly for the beginner. As there are particular physical exercises we can practice to train particular muscles in the body, we can gradually, with practice, train the mind to stay for longer and longer periods quietly resting on the meditation subject.