What are the benefits of mindfulness? Below is a transcript of the conversation presented by Brighton Mindfulness Centre, where Jon Wilde and Andy Darling are interviewed by Gerard Evans and discuss the question “What are the benefits of mindfulness?”. The full one hour video can be accessed by clicking here for our main Mindfulness FAQ page. Other Mindfulness questions are answered in this and other videos on this site.
Gerard: I’m going to finish with a question that is more of a general question. Is something I have had conversations with various people about? Ultimately when people encounter anything like this their prime emotion will be what’s in it for me? So this takes us into two areas really. I think it takes us into what is in it for them? What are the benefits of mindfulness? And also I think it’s worth including within that kind of discussion. The prevailing attitude that people seem to have within the mindfulness community of not wanting to promote benefits particularly. So who would like to kick us off on that one?
Jon: I think we need to be careful about making false promises. Boris Johnson famously said I think before the last election that if you voted Tory your wife would grow bigger breasts within six months she would have a Ferrari in your garage. He wasn’t telling the truth. I think most of us will probably work that out. I can talk for my own experience which I think is really the most honest way of talking about mindfulness. And this is why I’m a teacher by the way. the reason I’m a teacher is because my friends has transformed my life to the point where I think how do I want to spend the rest of my life? I feel that if mindfulness is made such a difference to my life then pretty much anyone’s got a chance because you’re talking to a man who anxiety and depression where my ozone for many decades. I mean those were the things I called home.
Andy: It will always be so.
Jon: Yes telling myself that this is me. This is who I am. I’m this depressed anxious person. Well pretty soon after I started meditating I started to realize that there was a space opening up which meant that I no longer felt anxious or depressed or if I did it was somehow okay. That stuff was no longer that sticky. It didn’t stay with me. So I would say to anyone thinking about this which is my life is I’m quite fond of saying this and I don’t mind saying it but I say with some caution. My life now is mostly lived in a state of quiet joy. I wouldn’t say to anybody that I can guarantee you that if you meditate on a regular basis and if you learn about mindfulness that you can live your life in the state of quiet joy. But I I’ll say this. You’ve certainly got a chance. You certainly got a chance.
Gerard: Yeah me too. I want to spend the rest of my life ideally being able to help people via increasing awareness of mindfulness. Again same reason really because my life has just changed so enormously. And is quite weird because I don’t think people might notice from the outside. But what’s going on in my head has changed so completely and I’m so much more relaxed and I’m so much more able to deal with uncomfortable situations.
For example there are people in my life where I couldn’t really have dealt with them before without alcohol being involved and now that doesn’t bother me. That same situation it would have made me feel so nervous I would need a prop doesn’t make me feel nervous anymore because I have a different relationship with the signals.
Andy: It’s interesting what you both said and what I will add to that. Is something relational? Jon is talking about wanting to teach. You are talking about being able to connect. Connection probably is the word I would use there. When we are just bound up in our thinking like Jon said just our central nervous system we can’t probably connect with other people. We can’t do that. And what mindfulness has done for me is really just broadened my life out in that respect. For example there’s a lot of time we’ve all been meeting where you are around a table. It’s coming to you; it’s going to be your turn. in the past, years ago I would think oh God I’m going to prepare what I’m going to say, I have got to know what I’m going to say because if I don’t then I’m going to look terrible and all these comparisons going on. Now I joyfully don’t give a bugger. And I like what I tend to say, I feel relaxed and better things emerge. Life emerges better. I connect better with others. I don’t know if there is anything better than that.
Jon: And in terms of the little investments, in terms of time. What I talk about in terms of quiet joy. And a sense of traveling light. What does it cost me? It cost me between twenty and thirty minutes a day.
Andy: I thought you would say 20 and 30 pence.
Jon: No. The course was slightly more expensive than. But probably the best investment I ever made. Investing in a mindfulness course because I’m here now and it feels that the amount of pretense that required in terms of convincing people that you’re okay, that you’re relaxed, that you are prepared and all that stuff. And is such a massive weight to carry around. The whole thing of having to be together. Having to pretend to be together. when it’s so much easier just to do a practiced to practice something mindfulness were certainly in my experience all that stuff is now a given. I actually feel okay in all situations. I feel centered. I feel relaxed. I feel spacious stillness. And that’s all come from meditation.
Andy: Otherwise you have a false self persona we present to the world. And that takes a hell of a lot of energy and it feels bad because it’s not authentic. Mindfulness enables us to be a bit more real.
Gerard: Mindfulness gives you back yourself.