Mindfulness is the process of stepping out of automatic pilot and paying attention to how we are and how things are in the present moment with compassion and without judgement. It sounds so simple and yet it is a discipline, a practice that needs nurtured day-by-day throughout our lives. Mindfulness has its origins in ancient Buddhism and forms one step on the path of awakening along with wisdom and compassion. However, it has gained in popularity over the past two decades primarily due to the increase in scientific research to back it and also the development of positive psychology, the understanding now that the brain can change (neuroplasticity). Many secular Mindfulness programs have since been developed and have been proven to help people from all walks of life and with different health conditions such as stress/ anxiety and chronic pain. Whilst meditations form the foundation of the practice, Mindfulness is also a practice of becoming more conscious of our world in daily life, whether feeling our feet while walking through the park or practicing deep listening while a friend shares their news. Dedicated, consistent practice eventually can bring about changes in our actions and reactions and bring more compassion into our communications and ways of being.
I came to Mindfulness as a mum of two young children, looking for gentle ways of parenting and relating to my husband during this transformative stage in our lives. I particularly wanted to find a way to let go of habits which I perceived to be unhelpful at the time. From a young age I always knew that “there was something else out there” and it wasn't until parenthood that a good friend encouraged me to follow my heart towards spiritual development and practice. Initially I tried to practice alone and read books by influential Buddhist and secular teachers. Eventually however I recognised the importance of practicing with a group and luckily found the Poppy Seed Sangha in North Fife which is like a second home to me now. Many years on I now co-facilitate the group with a few others. Poppy Seed Sangha is held in the gentle Zen tradition of Plum Village and Thich Nhat Hanh and I am now an ordained member of his core community "Tiep Hien". It is a very beautiful practice, inclusive, engaged and progressive and at the same time full of light and joy.
A Taste of Mindfulness - **Next Course starts Weds 9th March 2022**
This is my 4-week introduction to Mindfulness! Learning Mindfulness can help us find more ease and stability in the present moment, increase our enjoyment of life and reduce anxiety and stress. We will cover the basics of mindfulness practice including seated meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating and also look at bringing mindfulness into our lives and relationships and establishing a home practice. I will draw on teachings from my Zen Buddhist spiritual practice but also from other streams of mindfulness including my training in mindfulness and compassion with the Mindfulness Association. Classes last 1hr15 and take place once a week over 4 weeks. Please see the link below for more information and booking.
"Having done a previous short course two years ago, I found this an excellent reminder of the basic concepts of Mindfulness. I was much more comfortable with you as a teacher, I felt much more on your wavelength than the previous teachers so therefore enjoyed it much more." Catriona Marshall
"A good introduction and I enjoyed the different themes. Orla is an excellent teacher who exudes calm and confidence. The balance of some practice and conversation was great, I've come away with some very useful tips and things to practice." Gillian Naughton
"A well presented, practical and wide ranging overview of the many ways to practice mindfulness." Andrew Ramponi
"It was an excellent course, I learnt a lot about mindfulness and Orla was a brilliant teacher." Jill Woods
Poppy Seed Sangha
Weekly mindfulness practice group which meets on a Thursday evening at Westbank Natural Health Centre in Strathmiglo, North Fife. You can find out lots more information at the links below. We practice mindfulness and meditation rooted in the gentle Zen Buddhist tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and warmly welcome new practitioners to join us in nurturing seeds of happiness and calm together throughout the year. We are blessed with a beautiful orchard and garden at Westbank and enjoy spending time outdoors whenever we can. Currently offered on Zoom.
I have recorded a series of guided meditations on Vimeo to allow you to practice alongside me at home. You can access them on the Vimeo app or at this link on your PC. Enjoy!
“Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home."
Thich Nhat Hanh