THE BLOG

You Can't Learn Mindfulness by Taking a Pill

06/08/2015 17:34 BST | Updated 06/08/2016 10:59 BST

What keeps me practising mindfulness is that even if I'm not in the mood and believe me, that's often the case (mostly the case) is what I'm learning about how it impacts the brain. With a sit up you'll see the results to keep you going; you'll have some ripples down your front. With mindfulness each time you practice, you're building up an area in your brain that corresponds with the ability to pay attention. If you can learn to pay attention and not get dragged into unhelpful thoughts, you've broken the chains of slavery. Our thinking mind will beg, scream, urge, tantalize you to drag you off to wherever it wants but if you can keep focus, the benefits are biological, psychological and neurological. Boom! I bet you never connected all that with paying attention.

For those of you who've tried to study mindfulness but found it too torturing and yet still boring to each day, having to look into your own mind - especially when it's a pigsty, I understand you completely. The problem is, even if you aren't aware of the toxic thoughts in your head they're still there. You can run, you can hide, you can wish them away but they remain.

If we run away from our shadow it will follow us, if we run toward our shadow it will run away.

If you don't deal with them, you'll keep slinging your mess over everyone else and blaming them for creating yours. I have this lifelong mantra "Who can I blame?" If there's something I don't like about me, I will find an unassuming person, pin my crap on them and then give them hell and whip them like an old defunct mule. I'm extremely accomplished at pointing my finger at someone for getting me furious rather than U-turn the telescope onto myself to see who is actually the culprit. I don't think I'm alone when I say that I treat everyone around me in the way that I treat myself. We project the stuff in our minds not just onto our family and friends but the whole planet; I assume everyone's out to get me because I'm probably out to get them. We are the enemy to ourselves, everyone else is decoration.

You can't learn mindfulness by taking a pill, (I, who loves, pills, wish you could) nor can you thrust yourself upon a Reiki master/dog whisperer /juicer every time you feel your mind declare war. No one can help you except you and only you. The big yawn about this is, as with any other skill, you have to practice doing it in order to break the old habits. It's the only way you'll be able to get off cruise control and start to notice the scenery, smell the roses, taste the chocolate and hear the cry of a she-wolf. It takes gallons of willpower to get yourself to sit and practice but to be honest, I don't love lugging myself into the shower every day either. (Sometimes I skip it, don't tell anyone). Even when brushing my teeth I'm not having the time of my life so the discipline of sitting and practising each day is a personal achievement after giving myself every excuse known to man for not doing it ... my house is on fire or I have to find my missing sock immediately, especially if the house is on fire.

I'm on the road with Sane New World this autumn. Find out where I'll be.