Buzz about mindfulness circulates in conversations and in bookstores, but what is it for real? When you stop and feel capable to realise what you do and think, without cluttering anything – from your mindset to your actions.
That’s why you get the unique opportunity to get on the glass floor of Tower Bridge to relax and rehearse your consciousness – while looking down and ahead, you see the city rushing for another busy eight ours or so. The leader of the workshops is Tamara Russel, who has used her experience taken from psychology and martial arts to develop a training programme.
“I was presenting these techniques to people with very chaotic minds, bankers, lawyers, people from the City,” she said.
“Many of them, when sat down and told to just breathe and relax, would just not agree – they just can’t sit in one place for too long. But as the time goes, they start to cooperate, and they notice changes,” Tamara Russel, the workshop leader says.
“There were cases of people with mental disorders too – and if anybody tells me it’s too hard to just stop and do it, I will tell them – if they could do it, then everybody can.”
Let’s look down, through the glass, once again. People, boats and cars moving can be a metaphor for your mind: observe them, let tem go. You can’t keep them. You feel your thoughts, they stay, then they tumble back into the world.
Despite this little exercise, Tamara shared three tricks to use in everyday life: slowing the movement and rhythm while walking, using the everyday tools (like a computer mouse) slowly and consciously, and stepping aside from the buzz of the phone – simple prioritising gone mindful.
Does she practice these? Of course, and she’s been setting herself little goals per week. “This week I decided to slow down on the tube and let people pass in front of me, avoing that reaction of a typical Londoner,” she laughs. “Even people around me were surprised to see that somebody actually lets them pass through – that rarely happens, so most of them were thinking, what is going on?” she summarises.
So what did we take out of it?
Emi said, “For me, what she proposes is to terminate the automatic response to the day-to-day routine in a kind of ‘over-occupied’ and very stressed society – thanks to the technology everywhere and anytime.”
Kasia said, “If you’re unable to sit still and you’re constantly stressed, such a workshop will help you stop in the middle and reconsider what you’re doing. Is it necessary to pick up the phone while you’re in the middle of something else? Also, you’ll become more connected to yourself, conscious and thoughtful. The glass floor experience makes it absolutely insane. You look ahead – you’re away from the middle of the Square Mile, busy and overcrowded. Look down – people passing you by, rushing somewhere – and suddenly you just focus on yourself, have fuller realisation of your own body and free your mind from almost obsessive-compulsive thoughts like ‘get things done’ and ‘oh my days this workload is too much’. It does calm you down and gives you a moment to take a breath that you need.”