Meditation and Mindfulness: Our Approach

School of Happy is a meditation and mindfulness school that believes in creating a space for you to experience meditation and mindfulness in your way.  We teach a range of techniques and methods so that most people will find a style that suits them.

Meditation has a reputation as serious business for serious people.  And while meditation can be serious, and should be at times, we like to look at it like this: meditation shouldn’t be another thing stressing you out, lurking and taunting you from your to-do list.  It should be something you want to do, because you enjoy it (well, most of the time – there are some times you won’t, but that is another discussion).   Being told to ‘be present’ and ‘be in the moment’ isn’t very helpful when you are stressed out, or feeling emotional pain, or just trying to juggle the one million plates we need to juggle these days just to get the bare bones of life done.

So with that in mind, we take a realistic approach to meditation.  This approach that allows you to build a meditation practice in to your life, which may be at bursting point as it is.  And above all, we believe that if you like doing something, you won’t need a kick in the pants to keep it up, you will naturally gravitate towards your practice as and when you need to.

Q&A with Fiona Lambden

I think it was the permission to sit, by myself and close my eyes.  Essentially, I look at it like me-time.  Me-time with benefits
I have dabbled in and out for years, but I developed a more regular meditation practice in 2011
It’s the ever-evolving nature of meditation, I suppose.  And the benefits of a regular practice are really worth it.
This is a good one.  It’s the everyday things.  I don’t take things personally as much.  And that intersects across a wide range of interactions with people, such as road rage, an annoyed spouse, a grumpy child.  I’m less stressed. And sometimes I am able to look up from my day and notice the beautiful nature of the moment I am in.  I feel like I am more able to go with the flow, and to accept change. However one of the most profound and unexpected benefits has been the ability to accept myself, my life and my practice, which are all flawed but that is ok!  I am a perfectionist, so that is quite a big shift for me
I love that I can share my knowledge with others, to help them create a practice that is right for them.  I love seeing the way people evolve and the light bulb moments they have.
Finding the time is a big challenge.   I also find that I can tend to get addicted to the ‘perfect sit’.  I can get cross if my meditation experience has been less than what I think it should be.  Essentially I am still a bit of a control-freak!
I have two young children so I don’t have much of a rock’n’roll life at the moment.  So I would have to say it’s knitting, lying on my hammock (and I am very lucky if I get 5 minutes a day), drinking tea and laughing.

What is Meditation?

At the School of Happy, we believe that meditation is anything that happens while you are meditating. We can notice what we are thinking, feeling and sensing. We may find ourselves down memory lane, or having a chat with someone, or just seeing random thoughts flick past. We may think of nothing, we may fall asleep. Meditation is a place for all experiences to occur. This includes feelings of emotional pain, being uncomfortable, annoyed, or just restless.

But this is all meditation. What separates it from daily life is the permission you give yourself to notice and observe your thoughts and emotions. This promotes self-awareness and self-acceptance and a more mindful way of living. And hopefully, as you meditate, you will feel your mind naturally come to a more restful, peaceful place. At School of Happy, we want everyone to experience meditation in a way that is comfortable. The room will be set up for people to sit comfortably in chairs. If this is not your thing, you can lie on the floor, or sit on the floor, stand and even walk. We don’t believe in a prescriptive practice, so can do whatever you like!

Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness

Here are some general benefits of meditation:

  • Stress relief – stress activates the ‘fight or flight’ area of our brain, while meditation helps to activate the ‘rest and digest’ area of our brain.
  • Creativity – Meditation can allow us to filter out other mental processes during times of creative thinking, allowing more creative ideas to flourish. You may find that the nagging voice of self-doubt that can be present in the creative process is pushed to the back.
  • Greater ability to focus – Meditation can help us stay on task and exercise self-control. It helps us to maintain moments of mindfulness and to try and stay present.
  • Anxiety – Meditation can have a positive effect on levels of anxiety.