How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
Benefits of Mindfulness: Mindful Living Can Change Your Life
Mindfulness 101: A Beginner's Guide
In this interview Katherine discusses why mindfulness in school is important and shows how mindfulness makes learning more effective.
I'm your host Melli O'Brien.
And with me today is
Professor Katherine Weare.
Katherine is Professor Emeritus at the
Universities of Exeter and Southampton,
where she's working to develop and
evaluate Mindfulness in Schools programs.
So wonderful work that she does.
Her overall field is social and
emotional learning and mental
health and wellbeing in schools.
She is known as an international
expert on evidence-based practice
and has written some of the leading
books in this area, books that have
informed policy and practice in
many countries around the world.
So I am so, so grateful to have you
as part of the summit, Katherine.
Thank you for being here.
It's a pleasure to be here.
I'm not quite sure where here
is, but my guess is here is
where we are, so we're here.
We're very here.
We're here now.
And I would love, I love
the work that you do.
It's such important work.
And I would love to have you explain to
our listeners what exactly your capacity
is in the Mindfulness In Schools Program?
So what, what role do you play
in the rolling out of these,
these programs in schools?
Well, you've given me a nice
write up at the beginning.
I hope what I've got to say
is as good as the write up.
As you say, I'm, official title,
I guess, is a emeritus professor
at two universities in the UK.
But in fact, I took early retirement
from the University of South Hampton
where I worked about seven years ago.
So I could get on with my work.
I always say, and my work I
decided then was going to be
about mindfulness in schools.
So I'm a freelance consultant really,
but based in the networks around
two universities, I know of lots
of wider international networks.
And my work is, is kind of hybrid
fusion kind of things that I do.
I am very interested in
I think it's important that we
base what we do in what works,
but I therefore do research around
this, including the tough end of
randomized control trials and so on.
But I'm aware that evidence
is much wider than that.
So we work along qualitative lines
and looking at people's subjective
experience of mindfulness.
I also teach mindfulness.
I'm a properly trained
mindfulness teacher, trained
at the University of Exeter.
So I teach it to teachers
and to a range of groups.
I'm actually currently involved with
developing this work for parents
of adoptive children, because I
have three adopted children myself.
So I teach it and I work with schools
that are developing this work.
I also spend a great deal of time
writing and advocating for mindfulness.
So I'll be on committees with our
Parliament, for example, who has just
recommended mindfulness for the education
of all teachers and all doctors.
And I was fortunate to be on the
groups that helped that to happen.
So I do a kind of range of things,
really all around mindfulness and
the wider work or wellbeing, social
and emotional learning and education.
I guess more broadly, you'd say
I'm involved in this work for
young people and for those who
work with them and care for them.
Because you can't divorce the needs
of the staff and the parents and the
adults around young people from the
needs of the young people themselves.
So it's a kind of holistic approach
to mindfulness for young people in
a whole range of settings is what
I, what I do or what I am, I guess.
And you're involved in a couple
of different organizations in
mindfulness, in schools, aren't you?
The Plum Village and
.B Program and another
Mind and Life.
I'm involved in through those
three programs, particularly.
I've advised the .B program
and I'm a trained .B teacher.
.B ,as we'll probably get to shortly,
is the main UK program on mindfulness
in schools, which can actually
be found right across the world.
I am currently writing a lovely curriculum
with the Plum Village monastics.
This is a group who are working under
the direction of Thich Nhat Hanh,
who's the second most famous Zen master
in the world after the Dalai Lama.
And we're producing a recipe book of their
basic practices for using schools because
so many people will go to Plum Village
or, or one of the educators retreats.
And come away saying that was
really lovely, I feel inspired,
but I don't know what to do.
So we've taken their most basic
practices and we're turning
it into a teaching manual.
And I'm currently also getting more
involved with the work of Mind and
Life who, their particular slant on
it is around compassion in schools
and working to develop work around
a curriculum called Call to Care.
So that's the other, that's the
third program that I'm kind of
actually practically involved with.
And I saw in a, in a presentation that
you did recently for Mind House Park,
you stated that mindfulness could
be the missing key for education.
Could you talk a little bit about that?
Why you, why, why is mindfulness
in schools so important?
Well, mindfulness, as you said
already Has a whole range of benefits.
It's very hard sometimes to pin
down exactly what it does because
it literally permeates everything
about life once you get into it.
It's a, it's a kind of core.
And therefore, once you start practicing
mindfulness yourself, you find that
its impact has been on everything about
what you do, who you are and so on.
And in the same way where schools
start to help their young people
practice mindfulness, it's been found
that there are all kinds of benefits.
And what's particularly exciting
for all schools is to discover that
mindfulness can really help with learning.
Because if we can get that across
to schools, you're really starting
to, to get this stuff cooking.
It can help with learning by helping
people to focus, to pay attention, to
be,you know, with they're learning, to
become aware of their own blocks and their
own difficulties and to work through that.
So we know that mindfulness really can
help with improving, you know, the tough
stuff, like tests and examinations.
So that's great.
It also impacts on well-being, mental
health, how you feel about yourself.
So in a sense, it gets
young people ready to learn.
Because we know that if you're
not ready to learn, if you're
preoccupied, if you're stressed
and so on, you can't learn anyway.
So it also works with staff.
We know that staff are better
teachers, if they practice mindfulness.
They actually improve their hard skills
of paying attention to the class, to
keeping on track, to being more tuned to
their class and to remember what they're
doing and to manage their own impulses,
to, you know, respond to difficulties
coming at them more effectively.
So if you're finding teaching
difficult, if the kids are playing up,
you take time as you still yourself.
These are, these are basic
classroom management skills.
And the great thing about mindfulness
is that you don't have to turn into
yet another initiative and spend,
you know, hours, a week on it.
There's a relatively short amount
of time getting the basic skills.
You can do that in six, eight sessions,
and then a small amount of regular
practice for you and for your class, and
so on, have really big effects on all of
these core things that schools are about.
Teachers sometimes worry
that this is going to be a
distraction from their main task.
It's yet another thing to do.
We have to emphasize that this
is not yet another initiative
that's a kind of separate thing.
It permeates everything.
So it is a key.
Or another image I've used, which has
been popular is, mindfulness is the
WD 40 of education, a mindful WD 40.
I don't know if you have it in Australia?
We do, we do.
It's a kind of lubricant that unsticks
things and it's kind of memorable that,
you know, that kind of a small burst
of this really unsticks something.
And I guess that's really where,
where mindfulness is just so helpful.
I like that the WD 40.
And I've lived in a lot of rusty houses.
So I get it.
Yes, it's a simple image, but
it kind of gets to the point.
This is not going to be
onerous any length of time.
And, I'm, I'm curious to know Katherine,
how, how your journey's unfolded.
How was it that you came to mindfulness
personally and, and, and then, you
know, from there ended up being so
interested in mindfulness in schools.
Well, yeah, most people in mindfulness,
you find have a, have a personal story.
I guess people stories, but there's
usually some kind of trigger or whatever.
Well, I've, I've always been into
yoga and tiny bits of meditation,
but it was what I was going to do
later when I retired, was my idea.
I was going to become a
guru when I moved to retire.
You know, one day, one day I'm
going to become still and here.
But right now I've got a lot of
these emails and I've got to, you
know, do something about my career.
So I was, I was going along in
universities really as part of
management structure, pressurized job.
You know, being very "successful" in
commerce, academically and managerially.
And then like so many
people, I, I hit the buffers.
And in my case, hitting the buffers
took the form of a mysterious
illness, which is called CRPS,
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
It's a strange auto immune condition.
No one knows where it comes from.
It might be caused by stress and so
on, but it's basically intractable.
It's nothing that medical science
really knows anything about doing.
And it was basically pain for which
there was no analgesics and so on.
So I was absolutely stuck and I couldn't
even walk properly without pain.
I know all the things I like
doing, you know, I was a horse ride
ride with a mother of three kids.
I was a very active person.
All of this suddenly
was becoming impossible.
And it's no exaggeration to
say I felt quite suicidal.
I really couldn't see the point.
I didn't have to go on like that.
And fortunately, and fortunately,
one of the consultants I was working
with in the pain clinic, just off
the cuff said, well, you're always
going to be stuck with these pain.
It's going to completely
screw your life up yet.
But there is this organization
I've heard of who is doing
something around mindfulness.
I don't know what they do, but have a go.
So I kind of rushed out of there and
Googled and found out about mindfulness,
hooked up with a local teacher who's
later to become a friend and so on,
but I found, and to instantly find
out about this though, I went for a
session with this guy and immediately
found it incredibly helpful.
And personally and went on
several short courses that he ran.
He ran eight week courses.
And I got so into it that I wound up, as I
say, taking early retirement and training
myself to be a mindfulness teacher.
So that was, that was my trigger.
And I'm glad to say, and I don't, I
say this cautiously because sometimes
people think mindfulness is a kind
of panacea and will get rid of
all aches and pains we experience.
But for me, it hugely helped.
A, with acceptance of this, but
actually more hopefully, in fact, with
actually reducing the pain and I really
have very little pain now at all.
It just doesn't interfere
with my life at all.
And of course I discovered that as
well as the reason why you wash up
in a mindfulness center or course, it
had all kinds of huge impacts on the
rest of everything I was trying to do.
So it was just transformative, really.
So that's my journey.
And then did you, so you did your
mindfulness teacher training then,
and then did you start teaching
those same courses that you
were initially a participant on?
I'm trying to teach.
The mindfulness training at the
University of Exeter is really quite
rigorous and trained you to teach the
eight week course, which is, you know,
a manualized course, and I was trained
to teach mindfulness based stress
reduction and mindfulness based therapy.
So I love the hard skills
of doing those sessions.
And yeah, I taught some courses and
it was fantastically interesting
to see people transformed.
So we just, you know, if anyone out
there is wondering about doing an
eight week course, yeah, absolutely.
It's a really good starting point.
I couldn't agree more.
Really solid stuff.
Beautifully constructive and it's great.
And I also couldn't emphasize enough
to anyone who's thinking they'd like
to teach this stuff to get trained
yourself first, to go to a reputable
program and get properly trained
because it's not as easy as it looks.
It can look that, but it's not.
But for me, particularly, teaching
the eight week course was never
going to be the main thing I did.
So I do teach this and I'm trained
to teach the .B courses as well.
I'm working with Plum Village
to work on their practices.
But I particularly, I guess
spend my time awareness raising.
So I do quite a lot of
short things, you know.
I'll do a one day awareness raising
thing or a keynote or so on and be
really advocating for this work in
a whole range of other contexts.
So I don't always do as much
teaching of it, in the sense of
that eight week structured courses.
I'd like to, but whenever I get the
opportunity, I'll go back and touch base
again, because it is just so helpful.
And then from, from that point in
your journey, you ended up moving
from, from teaching those programs
into mindfulness in schools.
What was, what was that
part of the journey?
Well, that part of the journey was
hitting the point in the UK when
this stuff was just starting really.
There wasn't much mindfulness
in schools around that time.
And oddly enough, when I went
on the mindfulness training, it
hadn't really occurred to me that
this would be particularly linked
with what I was doing in schools
around mental health and wellbeing.
Why it didn't, I don't know why.
I was having a real block, but it just
kind of came upon me that this was an
integral part of the wellbeing agenda.
And at the time I got, I got wind
of a conference that was starting
in the UK, the firstMindfulness
in Schools program conference,
which was quite small at the time.
At the school of one of the guys
who was working on the program.
And I was cheeky enough to email him
and said, hi, you don't know me at all.
But you really need me on your program
and you really need me to do a conference
and help people to make the link
between the mindfulness you're doing
with them and the wellbeing, especially
most course planning I know about.
So I kind of got my foot in the
door by being, well, pushy really.
And of course, when I got there, started
making friends with people and was in
on the ground floor of that particular
program just as it was starting.
And that was really exciting.
And I sat through the .B course several
times and helped them write their
guidelines and their manual and so on from
the point of view of being a participant,
but also someone who is used to writing
curriculum and whole school materials.
So that's how I started in that.
And so to delve a little bit deeper
into the Mindfulness in Schools
program, how, how does a typical
Mindfulness in Schools program work?
How regularly does it run?
You know, is it over eight
weeks like the other programs?
And what kind of activities
do, Are young people doing?
Well, as I said, I've been
working three programs.
And I could tell you a little
bit about, about, about them.
Just to start perhaps with what the
typical program would do because these,
the Plum Village, .B and Call to Care
are, you know, fairly mainstream, well
evidenced well-constructed programs.
So like any program, they will be
based around some core practices, which
particularly will focus on the breath.
Mindfulness focuses on the breath,
not for its own sake, but because
it's a nice little portable anchor.
So any program will do something
around being with your breathing,
nothing to change, but just to be
with, notice the in-breath and the
out-breath, and then work on more
awareness in the body, getting more
aware of what's happening in your body.
It's sometimes called body scan,
where you take your awareness
around different parts of your body.
There'll be practices around being in
the here and now through things like
eating and walking more mindfully and
then spreading out into everyday life.
So you gradually invite your class
to become more aware of how they eat
lunch and how they eat their dinner
and how they relate to the world.
We know what it's like to walk
a small bit of, of your daily
walk to school mindfully.
And gradually encourage your
class and yourself to spread
mindfulness into everyday life.
Now that's, that's the core, I think,
of any good mindfulness program.
Often with particular emphasis on getting
on with other people and relationships
and feeling more connected to others.
More specifically though, programs for
young people and .B and Plum Village
are very good examples to this, we'll
be making sure that it is easy and
that it's fun because getting young
people to sit quietly on a cushion for
40 minutes is a recipe for disaster.
And a lot of adults too.
It's interesting how many adults really
rather, like, for example, the .B program,
because it's kind of quicker and edgier
than the classical eight week course.
So mindfulness is not all about sitting.
So you might, you'll do a
little practice, but with young
children it would be very short.
With teenagers it'll
still be pretty short.
And you will find ways to make it fun.
For example, if you're doing the awareness
of the body with the .B program, rather
than kind of systematically working
through the body, in that very formal,
you know, from the feet up kind of way,
a nice exercise is to invite them to
take their awareness into the thumb of
their left hand or the toe of their right
foot, the ear lobe, and then get class,
perhaps while they're sitting quietly
to call out different bits of the body.
And, you know, the class
moves awareness around it.
Obviously sometimes lots of
laughter because, you know, kids
are kids and if they laugh being
with the laughter and so on.
So that would be a kind of young person
friendly way of doing a body scan.
You might, if you're doing mindful eating,
for example, as well as your traditional
raisin, which may not go down well with
your class, if they're a bit food adverse,
you would probably bring in chocolate.
And that's fun looking at
what happens when you say to a
class, you know, wait for it.
Being aware of the need to
eat arising, you can imagine
the liveliness that creates.
And sometimes we also use hot chili,
which is fun and gets the kids
reacting, talking about their reactions.
Some of them were saying,
Oh, I'm not having that.
Oh no, my mum will come
down and tell you off.
Other kids are yeah, bring it on.
Give me the really big one.
And it's just so much grist to the middle.
So you take a basic mindfulness
practice, but do it in a way
that's good classroom teaching.
It's fun, it's lively
and just keep it light.
This is not about, you know, mindfulness
should not about be about being miserable.
Plum Village are very good on that.
They, when they do mindful walking,
it's not all about attention in the
soles of the feet, taking it slowly.
With a Plum Village mindful walk, you walk
at a normal pace and you're in the world.
You're looking at the
sights, the sounds and so on.
So it's not about doing
weird, introverted stuff.
It's just about paying more
attention to things you do naturally.
And what, what happens to children
when they practice mindfulness?
What are the, what are the benefits?
What happens to them?
Well, what literally happens to them
is that their brains are rewiring and
actually kids like knowing about that.
It's quite interesting to get
into this, partly through science
and talking about physiology
and neuroscience and brain scans.
What is literally happening at the
level of the brain is that the bits
of the brain, that are connected
with all things we want to be like
paying better attention, like being
kind to ourselves, like managing
our emotions, literally grow.
The neural pathways get more complex
and the areas have more blood flow.
And the bits of the brain that we...
I won't say don't want, because we
need, we need things like anxiety
and concern that, you know, we're,
we're prime to be prey animals.
So with the bits of the brain that
are about staying well need to
be activated, if you're attacked.
You need to be there.
But in everyday life, these
get in the way very often.
So those bits of the brain tend
to diminish and be less reactive.
So the hostility, anxiety parts of
the brain reduce in size and their
less easily triggered by ordinary
events, which is really helpful.
And at the subjective level,
because obviously you can't see
your brain rewiring, you will be
experiencing those kinds of impacts.
So you will be gradually feeling calmer,
more in control, more able to make better
decisions, to manage your impulses,
to get on with other people better, to
be more attuned, to, to others, to be
more compassionate and to be more kind.
And kids will report
this and so will staff.
That, that this has all kinds of
impacts on their ability to sit
still in class and pay attention, to
learn, to manage their own behavior.
One kid said, rather memorably when
he was asked what mindfulness did.
He said, it stops me doing all that
stupid stuff I do and I like it.
Which I thought was as good as
definition of what mindfulness
does, if anything else, really.
And in terms of kind of, what, if you
measure this, these hard outcomes with
your various instruments and so on,
you will be measuring improvements in
learning and mental health outcomes,
like depression, stress, anxiety,
greater wellbeing and even side effects
around sleep and eating and so on.
And this is equally true for the
teachers, for the school staff
as it is for the young people.
So a real wide range of benefits.
And I know that a really important,
I know that a really important
part of the Mindfulness in Schools
programs, isn't all about just
teaching the kids and teenagers.
It's also, I understand very much
about teaching the, the teachers and
the carers about mindfulness as well.
Can you talk a little bit about
the importance of that and
how that plays a role in the
Mindfulness in Schools programs.
Starting with the staff
is absolutely basic.
When people come at you with,
how do we teach mindfulness?
They usually mean, how can I make
sure someone else learns mindfulness
because it'll do them good.
And the first, the first thing is just
to turn that around and say, well,
if it's so good for the other person,
perhaps it would be really good for you.
Perhaps you can start with yourself.
And so those schools sometimes come to
mindful waning a curriculum very quickly,
you kind of help them to reflect on the
kind of whole school, whole staff approach
and start from where the staff are.
Again, a memorable image
is that of an oxygen mask.
You know, if you're in an airplane and
the oxygen goes, you put your own mask
on first, before you put it on kid..
And it's saying you can't look up after
other people, you can't help other
people to be still and present and pay
attention if you can't do it yourself.
It's just superficial.
It just, it just plain doesn't work.
Here's what we know, people who
are not trained to mindfulness
effectively are not good teachers.
They don't have those beneficial outcomes.
If you're just reading a script or they
bought a book off Amazon and they're
reading it out, it just doesn't work.
So always start with the staff.
Same, if a parent says, how can
I teach my child mindfulness?
You say, well, how about yourself first?
And all the benefits that that will
have for you and your family life.
So you always deflect
it back to the person.
And to help people to experience those
benefits for themselves in their own life
before they decide that it's going to
be fantastic and good for other people.
But, you know, as I mentioned
already, that the great thing is
it does impact on school stuff.
On their wellbeing, on their mental
health, and also really significantly
on these core things that they're
trying to do, like teach effectively,
manage effectively, be good
leaders, get through their day in a
better, more effective, calmer way.
So it's absolutely
foundational really for staff.
I've yet to find any staff
who do mindfulness, who'd say,
well, that was a waste of time.
I just want to learn to teach the kids.
It's very transformative once you start.
And so that's such an important message.
And I'm so glad that we brought that
up, that, you know, mindfulness is
something that if you want to teach it,
you really have to embody it and find
out what it's about for yourself first.
And for those people who hear that
message and heed that message, and also
would like to know some kind of potential
practices or ways of teaching mindfulness
to kids, are there any exercises
or any tips or any other thoughts
that you could offer them on that?
Yeah, I'm not part of the brigade
that says you must never teach
anything to kids until you've
done a two year diploma in this.
And I'm, I'm keen that if people go on
a course and learn simple little, two,
three minute exercises, that they feel
capable of practicing those themselves
regularly, and that is the first thing
to do, and then teach those to the class.
So I could run through one in a moment.
So there are things to do.
But I think it's quite important if
you want to get into everything deeper
like some people might take, say, 20
minutes, that you do train properly.
Because even if it's a 20 minutes
sit, can bring up all kinds of
stuff that you're not expecting.
And if you've not experienced from
the inside yourself, all these
weird paradoxes of you get there by
not trying, when you focus on the
emotions, sometimes it gets worse.
You know, you asked me to, I
thought this was going to make
me feel calm and now I'm crying.
Or when this brought up how I was
feeling, my dog died last week.
Is that okay to think about it?
And if you've not done these, these things
and you don't know the deep stuff, that
even at 20 minutes, it can bring up, it
can be a traumatic sit . So by all means,
I would say if you read a book or do a
little CD, do little practices yourself,
share them cautiously with your class.
A big caveat, unless their teenage,
unless you're a parent and they're
teenagers, do which kids keep
right away from this, just do it
yourself and get through those years.
Do not try to force teenagers.
Is it from personal experience?
Well, I didn't, I wasn't
dumb enough to try.
I'd be very well, you know.
You know, you can just
tell it'll really be hard.
But I do get people say, how can
I teach my teenager mindfulness?
And I think, don't.
But with younger kids,
and if you're a teacher.
For me, you get into some short practices.
But if you want to do more,
just you go and get properly
trained by a good program.
Make sure that, you know, you do.
And so do you have a practice,
that you could share with us?
I do, I do.
That would be wonderful.
It's very simple.
And this, this, I think would be an
example of something that you would find
it hard to trigger terrible problems with.
I say that cautiously because yeah.
But it's, it's very simple.
So, you know, a reasonably safe thing.
It involves having two hands.
So I guess, you know, like most people
do, but if, for some reason you don't,
some other way for what is needed.
And actually that's a serious point
that obviously if you're teaching a
class, you do need to be aware of any
difficulties people have or disabilities,
but it's assuming that that's, you
know, you've got people in front of
you with two hands, with 10 fingers.
This practice is a very
simple stilling one.
And it involves, first of all,
also do it with me, Me,lissa.
Do it with me.
I got my two hands ready.
Your hands are ready.
Let's start that with feet on the floor.
So nice sense of feet flat
on the floor, feeling contact
between your feet and the floor.
Bottom in contact with your chair and
feeling that sense of just being here
now and all those points of contact.
And you can, if you like, and you
have already Mellissa, shut your eyes,
but if you're watching this, just
shut your eyes or have a soft gaze.
And you're taking your right
hand and your index finger.
What we're going to do is to gently
run the index finger up the outside
of starting with the left thumb on
the in-breath, and then down the
inside of the thumb on the out-breath.
And we're going to carry
this on across the fingers.
So up the outside of the
index finger on the in-breath.
And down on the out-breath.
In-breath, middle finger.
Out-breath down the other
side of the middle finger.
And now carrying on at your own pace.
So however your breathing is for you.
And just as we have time,
changing when you get to the end
of one hand to the other hand.
Moving up the outside of the
little finger or the thumb, doesn't
matter, and down the other side.
So five more breaths.
If you're watching this and
you're finished, just putting
your hands quiet in your lap.
But no hurry.
Then when you're ready,
just opening the eyes.
If you want to stretch your fingers
and have a wiggle, that's fine.
Very simple that one.
Just one hand, if you've
already got less time.
That's a lovely practice.
It's very grounding.
What people quite like about that practice
is that it anchors the mind and the breath
to something concrete, to the fingers.
Sometimes being asked to simply
sit and count your breath or follow
your breath, you can lose it by
breath two really, if you're..
Well, I was going to say if you're
not practiced, but actually even
if you are, you get distracted.
Whereas something about combining
breath, the finger, there's the movement.
Most people manage to kind
of keep it together for that.
And it's great.
You can do it under the desk if
you're in a meeting and you do...
You just need a moment.
You just want to spend the
time more productively than
listening to somebody go on.
So you've got your breath.
You've got somewhere in your
body that you can focus on.
Very terribly simple, finger breathing.
I like it.
I'm going to use that.
And so I just have two
more questions for you.
And the first thing that I would
like to know is just for any, you
know, young people, teachers, parents
out there who want to know more
about bringing mindfulness into
their schools, where could they find
some more information about that?
Well, it would depend obviously
what country you're in.
There's a very good mindfulness
group online called the Mindfulness
in Education Network, MIEN.
Mindfulness in Education Network.
Mindfulness in Education Network.
So if you Google that, and if
you're in a part of the world where
there's not much going on and you
could ask a question, say, Anybody
know what's happening around here?
And it will put you instantly in touch
with folks who are around the world or
in your country who are working on that.
Now, if you were in the UK and you
Googled Mindfulness in Education or
Mindfulness in Schools, you would
come straight up with the ,B program,
and that's a good place to start.
Although there are others.
You might find it harder for example
to dig around and find Plum Village.
So I think going on that network
will put you in touch with whatever's
appropriate in your area and give
you immediate access to people.
If you said, what's the most basic
books or I've got five-year-olds.
You know, you will, in my experience,
be quite overwhelmed with the kindness
of people who are really keen to welcome
you into that mindfulness community.
And so, and give you a bit of
direction, because there's a lot of
stuff out there and it's confusing.
So I would recommend start with
the Mindfulness in Education
Network and just asking your
question, see what happens next.
I just have one final question
for you, which is, you know, it's
being said that mindfulness has the
capacity to change the world from
the inside out one person at a time.
And I'm wondering from your perspective,
I know that you've done a lot of, you
know, looking into the evidence-based
research on what's happening, what's
happening in, not only people in
schools, but people of all ages and
drawing on your own experience of
what's happened to you in your life.
What do you think the world would
be like if mindfulness really truly
went mainstream, and I'm talking,
you know, a billion, 2 billion
people practicing mindfulness.
What kind of a world do you
think that would create?
Well, if people were really practicing
mindfulness and I don't mean mindfulness,
the commodity, you know, mindfulness,
the I'm doing this to get on further
in my job and be better focused.
Someone's called it mindfulness.
So real mindfulness, real authentic
mindfulness, which brings kindness and
compassion as well as focus, I think
would be absolutely transformative.
I think it would be built around,
you'd have a world well built around
a sense of connection, with people
realizing that the other person is just
like them, that there are no barriers.
There is.,that these artificial
distinctions we make of age and race
and country are, in a sense, just
words and that we are all human beings.
We all have the same needs.
We have the same wants.
And it would really help to build
that sense of responsibility and
connection between people and
other people and I think between
people and the planet, really.
People and other sentient beings,
that sense of connection with life
and how precious this world is.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen master I
was talking about, when he's asked
about whether he, as a Buddhist,
believes in reincarnation and so on.
And he says, I don't know about that.
I don't know about any other worlds.
I just know about this one and I'm
on this planet now and I want to
make this planet the best it can be.
And I think that's a really useful way
to think about, about this building
empathic connection with others
and with the whole world really.
Thank you so much.
I think that's a beautiful note to end on.
And I'm so, so grateful for your time.
I really appreciate it.
And it's been wonderful
connecting with you.
Is there anything else that you'd like to
share with the listeners before we close?
No, I think that's probably
all that's, you know, it'll do.
All sorts of things will occur
to me later, but just to wish
everyone out there all the luck
and all fun with their practice.
and just one final thought.
Just keep it light.
This should not be a chore.
If it's a chore, just
go do something else.
You know, don't don't, don't get into it.
Just, just enjoy.
Just keep it fun and let
the practice do the work.
This is not a struggle.
This is not striving.
This is, this should be fun.
Thank you so much, Katherine, for
the work that you do and for your
time, I wish you all the best.
And look forward to connecting
again, sometime in the future.
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