How even gloom over Brexit can be put in perspective
In light of the uncertainty and utter dismay many people feel over Brexit, it would sound trite to suggest that mindfulness is the answer. But our exposure to mindfulness in this country is often trite. I can't tell you the number of people I've talked to over the last few years who have endured hardships - a job loss, bullying at the workplace etc - only to be offered "mindfulness classes" by their human resources department. "Don't worry, be happy," the HR departments seem to say.
But mindfulness has never been an invitation to be stupid. If there is something unpleasant in your environment that's within your power to fix, by all means do so. Or, as I like to say, if you're cold put on a jumper. There's no point in being mindful of a growing risk of hypothermia.
Rather, the Buddhist concept of acceptance, which is so important to this kind of meditation, simply means that one accepts that certain thoughts, emotions, sensations and experiences are present. Acceptance is the opposite of the "don't worry, be happy" school of positive thinking. It means you allow yourself a full experience of your emotions, rather than run away from them through vice or distraction.
So I'm not advising anybody to "not worry" or to "be happy" about what's happened to our country or our collapsing political parties. Although keeping calm is probably still good advice. Be active. Read, vote and educate yourself and, within the privacy of your own home, practice mindfulness. Sit still. Breathe and notice your breath. Scan your body and thoughts. Be aware of what you're experiencing. Notice if your thoughts come in the form of pictures or internal dialogue. Whatever your politics and whatever your reaction, take this opportunity to learn about yourself.
Remember what they used to say about death and taxes? Now, with the renegotiation of taxation laws, even this is an uncertainty. Ultimately, it's a reminder that the only thing one can ever be truly certain about is the here and now. Be mindful of that.
- Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at https://www.facebook.com/ Belfast Hypnosis/?ref=hl/?ref=hl