For Adults

Come and Join us to Explore

There are two training routes:

  • 2-day training
  • Online training 7 x 1.25 hours + delivery sessions ( 2 x 2.5 hours)

Eligibility:

Applicants will usually have their own established mindfulness practice, have attended a Level 1 training to teach mindfulness to adults and have some experience of teaching mindfulness to adults

Next course dates:

From June 2020 for online training

The Present for Adults course trainers:

  • Sarah Silverton
  • Emma Naisbett
  • Katie Norfolk
  • Helen Marsh
  • Faiy Rushton
  • Mariel Jones 
  • Andrea Baqai

Following the principles of cumulative incremental experiential learning for well-being applied across The Present Courses, we have been developing and piloting The Present Course for busy adults.

Rationale

The approach and course structure has arisen from eight years of working with school populations (primarily but other workplace settings too) to introduce them to mindfulness. We have offered MBSR,  .b Foundations, Finding Peace in a Frantic World and a compressed version of MBSR as options to meet their needs over the years.

Some of the key factors we found with this workplace group were:

  • They were not clear why they were coming to a mindfulness course and sometimes seemed actively resistant
  • They expressed their busyness with strongly held beliefs that they had no available time to do anything extra (including practising mindfulness)
  • They were often encouraged to come to the course by school/managers and hadn’t truly volunteered
  • Their motivation, when they had some, was often to do with supporting the children rather than learning something for themselves.
  • The course content was better received when they could see clearly how this might work in the classroom/everyday life.
  • There was sometimes concern about expressing anything that might suggest they weren’t coping in front of colleagues and senior management team/line managers
  • They reliably didn’t practise at home, despite agreeing to this at the start of the course.

We found regularly that by week four or five they may have only participated in the practises during the classes and didn’t have a strong enough experiential base to begin to look at being with difficulty and the content of the second half of the course.

What we did find was that as soon as people found where mindfulness might be relevant for them – and this could be widely variable but almost certainly something they valued in their life – their motivation changed considerably and then they were more willing to practise and engage in the learning.  This might be quite late in the course though, so leaving little time to develop a sustainable practice for when the course ended.

The Present has slightly different initial intentions to a traditional eight-week course because of this. The early weeks are explicitly about discovering how things already are in life. Looking at experience with interest, curiosity and friendliness but with no need to make changes, just build awareness and mindful attitudes as we step back or “decentre” to see things more clearly.  I anticipate that this will mean that people find their own motivation to practise much earlier.

The focus is also predominantly on everyday life (“eyes open” practising with only minimal formal/”eyes closed” practices initially. Weaving in neuroscience understanding intends to offer a clear rationale for building mindful awareness, connected directly to experience of noticing and encouraging people to engage with learning to live well as a human being.

It’s been our experience over the last few years that participants, on all kinds of mindfulness courses, tend to hear us saying that there is a way to “do mindfulness well”, no matter how much we don’t actually say this and express interest and acceptance in all sorts of experience. They also hear that practising mindfulness in their everyday life is somehow secondary to formal practice. My experience is that even people who do practise regularly rely a lot on recordings to practice, not building autonomy in their practice or allowing their practice to support them as well as they might, and more often than not, leave their practice on their cushion rather than actively bringing mindful awareness into their daily life. This, coupled with increased challenges in everyone’s busy lives to slow down and find time to practise, seems to create quite a lot of shame and lack of openness with talking about things as they really are. Watching the guilty eyes drop when we ask about home practice is a well-known experience for mindfulness teachers! This approach really encourages people to recognise how it actually isfor them.

The course offers practises and reflective questions to support the development of friendly awareness towards themselves and their experience, building clear noticing and attitudes of beginner’s mind and acceptance during the classes and between classes in their lives. Awareness leading to choices to practice more formally as motivation and intention grow.  The practice time is at least equivalent to Finding Peace in a Frantic World and .b Foundations but people are describing spending more time practising as they find a wider range of opportunities to “show up” with their experience. Themes (here and now, focusing, coming home to the human body, coming home to the human mind, connection, noticing choice and change) offer “windows” to explore from different views through the eight-weeks. What is it like to experience things just like this?  Am I here/focusing or not? If not, where does my mind tend to go? What is my experience of connection in my life? How and why might mindfulness practise support me? 

This course is intended for people who, we have reason to believe, will not be able to commit to (even) twenty minutes of daily formal practice. The Present for Adults is intended as an “early-doors” style of learning but also perhaps a way to deepen practice for those who have attended a traditional eight-week course and now want to live more mindfully.

 If you are a trained mindfulness teacher with some experience and would like to join this training please be in touch with Sarah on sarah@thepresentcourses.org.