Before the New Year started, I was having a discussion about New Year’s Resolutions with a dear friend of mine. My friend was kind enough to share with me what they were wishing to grow more of in the New Year: Calmness, Compassion, Courage and Capability. We spoke about how it was nice that they all began with C, and what these words meant to us. The following day I was doing some general mindfulness reading and by coincidence I came across a wonderful list of 8 ‘C’ Words that included three of my friend’s resolutions! …

So often the idea of mindfulness and meditation is caught up with benefits and expectations; of improving focus, increasing productivity, relieving stress… the list goes on. There may be a pressure to clear your mind, and a sense that there is a right or wrong way to meditate. However, you might like this more gentle analogy for your next meditation.

Treat the meditation like seeing a friend in a crowd. You don’t have to push everyone else out of the way, in the same way you don’t have to rid your mind of distractions. You can acknowledge their presence, and meet them with kindness and enthusiasm. You can ask them how they are with openness and curiosity. And when you are swept away by the crowd, your friend will still be there on your return.

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In case you had forgotten what a crowd looks like… @ Trinity Backs, Cambridge

Written by Caryn Yeow, January 2021

It goes without saying that 2020 was no walk in the park — in fact, walks in the park may just have been one of the only things we could enjoy with one another!

However you found the past year, we hope that you can take some time to sit with some appreciation for yourself. You have lived through an unimaginable year, and that deserves more credit. Just by signing up to receive this letter from us, you have made a commitment to mindfulness, however big or small, and have become part of a loving community. …

Our meditation practice can sometimes be perceived as solitary, isolated or even self-centred. You might have an image of the Buddha sitting alone under the Bodhi tree for days on end in order to reach enlightenment, or see mindfulness being marketed for your own wellbeing, focus and checking in with yourself. After all, in our meditation practice, we often focus inwards; on our breath, body and our thoughts and feelings.

However, in the face of global challenges, we might find ourselves feeling disconnected and helpless, or lack motivation to stick to our practice. Perhaps it feels like you’re being passive when you take time to just ‘be’ rather than ‘do’, or there just might not be anyone holding you accountable. …

You may have heard the phrase before: feelings are like the weather. It can be easy to get caught up in them, or feel like they will never end. But just like the weather, feelings come and go — and while they are around, they might have something to tell us. Observing our emotions mindfully, with a sense of curiosity and openness, can allow us to savour positive feelings and not become overwhelmed by negative ones. With mindfulness, we can learn to be okay with whatever we are feeling and take care while increasing our resilience.

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Mindfulness is here to support you, come rain or shine 🌦

You might like to try the following exercise to explore your feelings through meditation, using the acronym R A I N suggested by psychologist, author and meditation teacher Tara…


Mindfulness After Cam

A community for University of Cambridge Alumni to learn, maintain and grow their mindfulness practice.

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