Committing to Practice
“Practice as if your life depended on it for in many ways, it does. For then you will be able to live more fully the life that you have, and live it as if it truly mattered”
Committing to practice: set your intentions
In this exercise we will be exploring and setting your intentions for practice after the course.
We will be working on how you will keep the knowledge and practice alive, and in order to do that we need positive reasons to keep practicing. But it is more than that, there is something quite fundamentally important about why you are doing this course, why you chose to come, and to continued to come.
As the first part of the exercise, take a moment to find a deliberate posture, and take a couple of mindful breaths. Take a moment to ground and be present. Then ask yourself:
What is it that is most important to me in my life that this practice could help with?
Let the answer come to you. No rush. Once done, write it down. Sit still some more, let the question resonate deeper, and see if anything else comes up. Write this down also.
The answer you have given yourself can serve as an anchor for when you need to motivate yourself to practice. When the busy-ness of everyday life overtakes you, or your mood is low and tired, remind yourself of why this is important to you, and practice. Even if it is just for a minute. Practice.
To make the practice easier for you, you can draw up a plan and set some intentions for yourself. So think back of all the practices we have done over the last 6 weeks – the official meditations: the bodyscan, the body and breath, the sound and thoughts, the sitting with the difficult, the befriending meditation. And all the informal practices: the breathing space, eating mindfully, mindful walking, doing a routine activity mindfully, noticing the thoughts, feelings, body-sensations and impulses to act when something pleasant or unpleasant is happening, conducting random acts of kindness.
Ask yourself, and write down what and how are you going to practice? Keep it realistic, no need to commit to something you wish you would do but know you will not. Be kind and forgiving to yourself. Ensure you do not make this just another thing ‘to do’ – make sure it is a time and an attitude that nourishes you.
 Quote is from Mark Williams, the founding director of the Oxford Minfulness Centre and author of ‘a Mindful way through depression’ and ‘Finding peace in a frantic world’