Mindfulness is taught in a highly systematic way. In order to train the mind, students of mindfulness begin by focusing their attention on one object, most often the sensations of breathing. Naturally the mind will wander, becoming distracted by thoughts, sounds, and emotions etc. The practice involves training our attention again and again to come back to the present moment. Gradually, the mind will become quieter and more concentrated, and students will be able to maintain present-moment awareness for longer periods of time. Accompanying this training of attention is the cultivation of non-reactivity and non-judgment.
Although the work has only recently begun, the early feedback is very promising. Participants have noticed improvements in concentration, sleeping patterns, and self-control, as well as reductions in anxiety and agitation. Indeed, one participant described the mindfulness sessions as “brilliant, absolutely brilliant.” In this work, as in any mindfulness programme for young people, we have found that nourishing a strong intention and motivation for the participants to engage is of fundamental importance. The final results will be published in 2016/2017.