Attached is my second assignment from the Bangor Mindfulness course which has now been marked. This is the document as submitted but with my name and copyright information added.
I got 64% which translates as a ‘B’. The marker made some kind comments about my “highly original ideas” but rightly points out that this becomes the focus of the essay and marks me down accordingly. You can judge for yourself what you think of the assignment.
In my defence I’d like to point out that my strategy of defining a model that represented how I interpreted my experiences and then relating that model to the foundations of mindfulness seemed like a reasonable strategy at the time (would I really have done something unreasonable). Perhaps it was too sophisticated an approach to take and something more straightforward was expected. I should of worked through the foundations of mindfulness and mapped my experience onto them being careful to ignore the ones that didn’t fit and embroidering ones that did. But I’m not clever enough for that! This is a theme for me – always over complicating things.
If you are reading the assignment out of the context of the course it may be useful to have a list of the foundations of mindfulness before you start. There is a list in the course hand book and there are a series of subheadings in Full Catastrophe Living. For the assignment I chose to ignore the ones in the course handbook as I couldn’t see how they relate to those in FCL although the hand book claims to be based on the FCL list. There is, for example, no “non-judging” although that could possibly be mapped to (e) in which case what does Kabat-Zinn’s “Acceptance” map to? Both lists are clearly talking about the same thing but to me (this is a personal opinion that will sound like sour grapes at not getting an ‘A+++’ ) there seems to be a lack of academic rigour here. One list contains eleven things and the other seven yet there is no explanation as to the how and why of the derived list. Perhaps I missed something – again a familiar sensation! In arrogance I believe I do a better job of linking my model to the literature than the course hand book does linking its list. You can judge for yourself.
Anyhow I hope you enjoy reading the assignment.
Foundations of Mindfulness from Course Handbook
Attitudinal foundations of mindfulness (adapted from Kabat- Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living pp33-40)
- (a) Being able to stay in the present moment, and letting go of striving to attain particular goals
- (b) Awareness of own personal internal process – body sensations, emotions, mood states, and thoughts
- (c) Awareness of actions in personal process with others, within student group, and in life and work
- (d) Ability to observe and decentre from personal processes, and describe them from a wider perspective
- (e) Development of openness to and acceptance of experience, internal and external
- (f) Friendliness, kindness, compassion towards own and others’ personal process
- (g) Interest in and curiosity about personal experience and learning process
- (h) Being patient with and accepting of own and other’s pace of development
- (i) Willingness to let go of judgements (especially critical ones) while honing the ability to discriminate between e.g. skilful(sic) and unskilful(sic) modes of mind, actions, etc.
- (j) Willingness to see experience freshly (‘beginner’s mind’), rather than through perspectives of previous learning or beliefs, and to be open to ‘not knowing’
- (k) Demonstrating trust in own (and others’) experience, and in using mindfulness to deal with difficult aspects of it
Foundations of Mindfulness from Kabat-Zinn Full Catastrophe Living
- Beginners Mind
- Letting Go