Is meditation necessary for Mindfuless?? 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 “Is meditation necessary for Mindfuless?”. 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.
(This question is a follow on from the previous discussion How To Get Started With Mindfulness)
Gerard: Okay, Natalie in Cornwall who is feasibly being exposed to Ruby Wax this thoughts on mindfulness asks, Is it necessary to be mindful? Is it necessary to meditate every day?
Jon: Well I’ve heard Ruby. She recently did a radio interview where she was asked ‘to be mindful is it necessary to meditate regularly’? And she sort of laughed rather derisively and said “no, let’s not fool ourselves or any of us who have got the time to meditate regularly.”
Which I thought was an odd thing for her to be saying. Particularly she’d spent three years studying mindfulness at Bangor University.
There’s no getting away from a simple fact here which is that mindfulness is a meditation based practice. Going back to when I was saying earlier if you take the meditation out of the equation then all we’re left with is that heap of concepts.
Gerard: I found meditation to be quite — to make a core difference I understand maybe you theoretically could be present without meditation. Theoretically you can, but I found that meditation was what really kind of opened me up to the rest of it.
Andy: Undoubtedly because the opposite can be true. The sitting in itself often can be confused with some progressive practice. It’s all about the cross over. It’s about how we then take it into the rest of our lives outside because you could be brilliantly mindful while meditating. And that’s great for that time. You recharge and so on.
But it’s crucial to then to be brought into the rest of one’s life. That benefits itself and others around the world rather than a solitary practice.
Jon: Yeah absolutely. I mean one way of looking at this is that we could say that the meditation is the practice and that the rest of our day is the meditation and certainly in the time that I’ve been meditating, the time I’ve been practicing mindfulness, that’s pretty much how it’s played out.
There’s been times for example when I’ve been whisked off abroad to do a job and my practice is kind of lapsed for a few days to jet lag – to too many excuses not to meditate in a hotel room and boy do I notice the difference? But when I’m really regularly meditating and by that I mean daily….
..and I don’t mean sitting and staring at a wall for six hours. I mean doing half an hour / forty minutes; sometimes less, sometimes twenty minutes. That’s really what it feels like. It really feels as though that meditation is the practice. It’s during that meditation that I’m learning to come up against boredom and fear and irritation. Anger and all this stuff is arising in us all on a daily basis.
Andy: And that is the time when we meditate because we tend to do it with quiet around us and so on. That’s time when we see and are able to see the nature of mind. We see what our minds do. The rest is what we are doing throughout the day. So that is a fantastic opening. I can’t imagine life without meditating.
Gerard: No it’s weird, isn’t it? All or most of our lives we stayed without meditating.
Andy: And of course then perhaps if we want to be sort of hard core Buddhist, we would say we don’t over attach to the notion of meditation. But it’s not that, because that would be over attaching to the idea that the same thing will happen each time. I will get this particular thing from it because we don’t. Different things come up each time.
Jon: Yeah. I mean the risk of sounding very judgmental here but one thing I hear — I have been going to meet-up group in Brighton for a few years now. Five hundred members. Quite often I hear the words “well I haven’t got time to meditate. Just haven’t got the time.” And what I would say – and I’m wary of sounding judgemental here in saying this to people- but if you really haven’t got 20 minutes in your life to sit still twenty minutes a day in your life to sit still, you probably really need mindfulness in your life.
Andy: Yeah. What the hell are you doing though.
Gerard: We all have 24 hours a day.
Andy: I used to think that Mick Jagger had more time than anyone else. I don’t why Mick Jagger but I just thought that. It’s clearly not true but when I was very young because he seemed to be doing a lot of stuff.
Gerard: I think everybody who watches telly, everybody who works less than 24 hours a day. We’ve all got spare time. It’s really just a question of priorities I think. I think time is often a word that is used when priorities is meant.
Andy: But I think CBT approach too would be if someone said I don’t have the time, I don’t have half an hour or so. Have you got 20 minutes? No. Ten minutes? And they will end up reducing to 5 seconds. Have you got 5 seconds? I have heard people say; no I don’t have 5 seconds. I think that’s possibly when one gives up because it has to be coming from the potential practitioner.
Jon: Yeah because people sometimes ask me, so we meditate every day. Is always a massive great chore where I’m going to put me off and put me off. I’ve got to sit on my bench…
Andy: Bloody meditation!
Jon: Bloody meditation! You, know I’ve got to meditate. It’s really not like that. What tends to happen is that meditation gets kind of folded into your life. So for me choosing to sit on my bench and meditate for a half an hour a day or whatever time it is, is not unlike I will brush my teeth now or I will have a shower now. These are just daily things that I do. And so it really isn’t a thing that you kind of — it’s really shouldn’t be a chore just because you know it’s not always joyous.
I mean sometimes I tend to look at meditation almost as, meditation to me is not striving to achieve a certain state of mind. I don’t go into mindfulness thinking I want to feel blissed out – “this is going to bliss me out”. I tend to look at meditation as kind of this is me checking in on myself.
This is my time for me during the day where I can. And if boredom is there and frustration is there, I’m just noticing that. I look forward to it in the same way I look forward to going to the park. And I wish I could impress that on people more really.
Gerard: I’ve never ever in my life I don’t think that I haven’t got time to go to the pub. Maybe I have but it’s not something that crops up very regularly because I look forward to it and it’s something I know I’m going to get something out of.
I look at meditation the same way. I look forward to that time for myself. To just putting everything aside and a little bit of me time. And I would have probably scoffed at that a few years ago. But that really is how I feel about it now. So yeah we’ve all got time to eat. We’ve all got time to meditate I would suggest.
Andy: And I agree with Jon. people who say “I don’t have the time” then paradoxically they are the very people who do need….
Gerard: Who need it the most?