‘Mindfulness means being awake. It means really knowing what you are doing.’ Jon Kabat-Zinn

I thought it might be a good idea to finish this little newsletter series on concentration by avoiding another series of ‘try this, do that’ messages, deliberately ditch the information overload and focus instead on the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness meditation has become a thing in recent times and perhaps one reason is that it provides a natural antidote to the busyness of the modern world. Not that the ‘monkey mind’ -as the Buddhists call it- is a new phenomenon. Mental agility is one thing, but it must be balanced by the ability to be still. In mindfulness, concentration: the ability to focus on one thing and only one thing, is a key skill. It not only benefits us on a deep level but also improves our ability to pay attention, to listen and to make a difference in what we say and do and how we think and approach tasks.

We can learn to concentrate mindfully when we focus on our body, part by part, whilst sitting calmly; or our breathing, perhaps by counting our breaths slowly. We can even eat or carry out tasks mindfully.

I believe that we owe it to our children to take such practices as mindfulness very seriously and to help them develop mindful habits as early as possible so that they can take on the challenges of the world that lies ahead of them; or even simply learn to do one thing really well, in the here and now, and actually enjoy the experience as they are doing it.
It starts and ends with the breath… it always did.

J. R. Peck – Headmaster