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Guidance on Mindfulness for Children and Teens

Katherine Weare & Melli O'Brien






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Guidance on Mindfulness for Children and Teens

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 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

evidence-based practice.

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.

It's foundational.

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

called Breathworks.

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.

Ah, wonderful.

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's inauthentic.

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.

But yeah.

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.

Move around.

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.

Finger breathing.

I like it.

Finger breathing.

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.

Thank you.

And look forward to connecting

again, sometime in the future.

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The Mindfulness Summit  null Playlist · 23 tracks

The Mindfulness Summit

Playlist · 23 tracks4.9

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