2Lesson 4 – Being Here Now Objectives Lesson Flow Home Practice To explain how ‘autopilot’ prevents us from being alive and awake to our experience in the here and nowTo learn to appreciate and savour the pleasantTo learn how to respond rather than react to the unpleasantTo learn how a .b can quickly bring our attention into the here and now, and help us to respond rather than react to what it difficultObjectivesLesson FlowTexting .b to a friendSitting like a statueMindful mouthfulMaltesersRed hot chilli peppersHome PracticeResourcesWe often function on autopilotA great part of our day is lived unconsciouslyWe miss out on the rich experience of being aliveWe make things that are ‘bad’ even worse by overreacting through habitSavouring what is pleasantLet’s savour in detail the experience of eating chocolate:See it, touch it, smell it, taste it. Be alive to it all.Practise not slipping back into autopilot as you eat itDealing skilfully with what is unpleasantWhat happens if we experience things we don’t like?Turn towards the sensations of discomfortNotice them as they arise moment by momentBreathe into themLearning to .bHere’s a tool toHelp you savour the presentHelp you deal with the bad
3Präsent sein – hier und jetzt Vom Reagieren zum bewussten Handeln 4. StundePräsent sein – hier und jetztOne way of starting this lesson that gives a certain dramatic effect is to place a tissue on each desk before the pupils enter. You may even like to put one Malteser on each tissue and ask the pupils to wait outside the classroom until you tell them to come in. Instruct them outside that they are to enter silently and just notice their reactions as they see what’s on the desks. Obviously the idea of actually achieving silence in these circumstances may be idealistic, and putting out the Maltesers in advance may be providing too much temptation for some groups.Last lesson, we looked at the habit of worry and how we can deal with it.One of the things that we can notice about worry is that it’s all about the past or the future – some past event that we’re perhaps regretting or some event that we’re anticipating and worrying might happen in the future.We can spend our whole mental lives shuttling between past and future and missing the gift that’s available to us in the present. This was the message of Oogway to Po in Kung Fu Panda.And that’s what this lesson is all about – BEING HERE NOW in the present moment, and how we can learn to find our home in it, even if things aren’t going how we’d like them to. Today’s lesson is perhaps the most important one that we’ve had so far. Ultimately it’s about how to be fully alive.Vom Reagieren zum bewussten Handeln
4Autopilot Wir verpassen was schön ist. Wir verschlimmern was schwierig ist.What does the term “autopilot” mean? [Plane flying itself without a human being in control.]When we look we can see that we spend much of our lives on autopilot, doing whatever we’re doing without thinking or noticing very much, without being awake to what’s happening in the moment. It’s almost as if we’re sleepwalking.What activities do we tend to do on autopilot? [Eating, brushing teeth, going to the loo.]Where are our minds when we’re on autopilot? [Thinking about past or future, or somewhere else from where we are. Worrying etc.]What’s it like being on autopilot? [Numb, unconscious, time passes without us being aware, experiences are bland, sleep-walking.]Please fill in answers to the question “Since waking up this morning, what have you done on autopilot?” in the Student Booklet. [lesson 4]Being on autopilot means that:We miss the good – we don’t notice the richness of each moment. Virginia Woolf once said that “A great part of every day is not lived consciously”We magnify the bad – we overreact by catastrophising and getting caught in negative feedback loops. We also try to push the bad away, which only feeds it.Brain scientists say that “The mind is like teflon for pleasant experiences and velcro for unpleasant ones”. We overlook the good ones and obsess about the bad ones.
5How can we practise ‘savouring’, or put another way, how can we put the ‘mmm’ back into experience? [CLICK][Discuss – introduce words like: enjoying, relishing, tasting.]One way of seeing ‘savouring’ is as turning the searchlight of attention and exploration to small details of our experience that we would normally rush past without noticing. Savouring connects us with the actual raw experience of the present, and so helps to wake us up out of auto-pilot.Savouring also has an APPRECIATIVE quality, which again connects us with the alive texture of our experience and helps our minds to feel more bright and fresh.Why don’t you experiment now with what it’s like to savour the qualities of your next few in-breaths and out-breaths?What was that like? How did that feel?The word savouring is often associated with our sense of TASTE. Think about just how often we eat on autopilot and don’t really pay attention to or enjoy what we’re eating. Consider how Po ate those peaches in the clip I showed you. He was eating mindlessly. We’re going to practise eating mindfully, and whilst I don’t have peaches here for you today, I do have chocolate.You can begin by noticing what effects the word chocolate and the image have on your mind and body. See if it brings a certain mood into your mind. See if brings memories, a speeding up of your heart-beat and thinking, or a change in the feel of your mouth and tongue.I’m going to be asking you to savour the experience of being given and then eating one of these objects really slowly, so that you try to catch as many of the small details of the experience as you can, so that you can really savour it.
6So, to begin with, I’m going to place one of the objects on the desk in front of you. When I do, I’d like you to look at it very carefully as if you’ve never seen one before. Really get to know what it looks like, the quality of its surface, the way the light reflects off it… [Point out other details that occur to you.]When you’re ready, slowly pick it up and examine this object still more closely. Feel its weight and what it feels like in your fingers and on the palm of your hand.Smell it and notice what effect the smell has on you.And now, very slowly, raise the object to your lips. Feel what it’s like when it touches your lips. Then feel the first taste of it in your mouth. How does it feel on your tongue? What’s the initial quality of it in your mouth before the taste hits you? What does that taste feel like?As we talked about in our first lesson, we’re using the two skills of ATTENTION and EXPLORATION / INVESTIGATION to help us to get to know this object.You may choose not to bite the object yet, but just to be mindful of how the taste changes as it sits in your mouth.If or when you do choose to bite, do so slowly, and see how aware you can be of the experience of each bite – how it feels, what the taste is like, how it changes moment by moment etc.What is chewing like? What’s swallowing like? Can you be aware of all the reflexes and movements involved in swallowing?See if you can stay mindful after you have swallowed it. What’s that experience like? What does your mind do as you get to the end of eating the object? Where does your attention go? Why?After they have finished, discussion and enquiry:How was that experience? What did you notice? What was it like to eat slowly and mindfully, rather than on autopilot? What happened to your enjoyment levels? Where was your attention focused and how did that feel?So we can see how savouring really helps us to enjoy experiences more fully in a way that can connect us with the present moment.Please fill in the first row of boxes relating to the ‘taste’ exercise in the Student Booklet.
7Aber das Leben ist nicht immer nur schön. Achtsam sein heißt nicht nur, den leckeren Saft des Lebens zu genießen, sondern auch geschickter mit den schwierigen, unangenehmen Kernen umzugehen.What’s more, life’s not always going to feel wonderful. As well as pleasant experiences we have unpleasant ones.Being mindful is not just savouring the juice of life, but dealing more intelligently with its stressful pips.What do you think I mean by this?How can we deal more intelligently with the bad times?
8Am Anfang stehen winzige, unauffällige Körperempfindungen – angenehme oder auchunangenehme.It all begins with tiny tingles of liking and disliking…As we’re sitting here we can feel the body is alive with tingling and fizzing and buzzing sensations… and we’re learning to tune into these… the feet on the floor… the hands.When you like something these physical tingling sensations become more pleasant, the body is telling us that we want more of this.When we have an experience that is unpleasant, these physical tinglings give us the opposite message… get rid… avoid! But our bodies usually do this without our knowing.For example, when you saw the Maltesers, what did you feel and what do you think was happening in your body? [Prompt for mouth watering, stirring in the belly, excitement.] What did these sensations make you want to do? [Eat chocolate, want more.]What might you begin to notice in your body when faced with something you DON’T LIKE, e.g not just a food (Brussels sprouts?), but a person or a situation. [Prompt for shortening of breath, tightening of shoulders, increasing of heart rate.]You may never have noticed these sensations but, believe me, they have been driving your behaviour since the moment you were born and are completely automatic.
9„Wir tanzen wie Marionetten an den Fäden unserer Impulse.“ What this means is that for much of the time we dance like puppets on the strings of our impulses. We are controlled much more than we are aware by these tingles of liking and disliking. These bodily systems have evolved to drive behaviour that promotes survival… they move us away from danger and threats and towards safety and reproduction.In other words, much more of our behaviour than we realise is an automatic response to pleasant and unpleasant sensory experience.[Check that they understand the meaning of the sentence on the slide.]
10Häufig reagieren wir „automatisch“. Nicht mögenIgitt!Wir reagierenTo make it even simpler, when something happens that we don’t like we often react out of habit.Häufig reagieren wir „automatisch“.
11Die Freiheit entwickeln, bewusst zu handeln. Nicht mögenIgitt!AchtsamkeitWir reagierenBewusstes HandelnBut we don’t HAVE to react. We don’t have to be like puppets if we can see the strings that are tugging us.If we can NOTICE the way we are reacting automatically then we can start to break free from it. Developing mindfulness helps us to become aware of this reactivity, at the level of physical sensations. This can bring us out of autopilot and give us the freedom to respond rather than react.[Click through to explain.]So, when you find yourself in a situation that is unpleasant, difficult or uncomfortable… being with someone you find difficult, being under pressure in an exam, having to do something you don’t enjoy…. try noticing how your body is reacting to these situations, and you may find you can choose how to respond.Die Freiheit entwickeln, bewusst zu handeln.
12“”Zwischen Reiz und Reaktion gibt es einen Raum. In diesem Raum liegt unsere Macht, unsere Reaktion zu wählen. In unserer Reaktion liegen unser Wachstum und unsere Freiheit.Victor FranklYou can’t control what happens to you, but you CAN decide how to respond to it.One of the most inspiring descriptions of this freedom to choose a response is in the writings of the Austrian brain scientist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl. He was a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, where all sorts of terrible things were done. He noticed that whilst people couldn’t change what the Nazis were doing to them, some did manage to choose the way they responded. In the book that he wrote about his experiences, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, he said:“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
13automatisch reagieren So, at a much simpler and less threatening level, let’s see if you can RESPOND to something unpleasant, rather than REACT to it. Let’s try this out by exploring something that you’re less likely to say Yum about.automatisch reagierenoderEnough of the theory. Are we going to be puppets and react, or are we going to cut the strings and be free to respond and to CHOOSE how we want to be?Red hot chilli exercise [Though you could do this with an onion too.]Show them a red chilli pepper. [Hold it up and ask them straight away to notice their reaction to the sight of this.]Have one chilli already chopped into small pieces so that everyone can have a piece.Ask them again to notice their reactions to the prospect of this. Give them each a piece, ask them to study it – look at it closely, feel it, smell it etc..Then when ready ask them to lift it to lips and feel texture there. Then in mouth, feeling on tongue, initial taste. Very slow chewing and eating. The changes in taste as they do this, feelings of swallowing. After-taste etc. Encourage them to turn TOWARDS any sensations of discomfort , any stinging sensations for example. Remind them of David Attenborough mode.Tell them not to touch their eyes once they have touched the chilli!Whilst doing this, they should pay close attention to how their minds are reacting. Is it more the idea of what they’re eating that they are reacting to? Does the Yuk have different intensities and qualities at different moments? Can they feel the pull of the puppet-strings? What’s it like just to notice the reactions, but not need to get lost in them?If they are really uncomfortable they can also:Let their attention drop into the lower half of the body.Become aware of their breathing. They may notice that their breathing has shortened. Remember that “what you can breathe with you can be with”.bewusst handeln
14Introduce this as one of the core practices of the course. It’s a technique for stopping, waking up out of autopilot, and enabling you to be present with whatever is happening right now... whether it’s yum, yuk or you’re not sure.
15Bodenkontakt – Spüre deine Füße. „Be” – Sei bewusst und präsent. Stopp: Halte an.Bodenkontakt – Spüre deine Füße.During the day, there usually isn’t time to do a lengthy meditation exercise. Instead, you can do a brief .b to freshen your awareness, change mental gear, and wake up to exactly what’s going on in the moment.Doing a .b is a quick way to help your brain change mode – from Thinking / Doing to Sensing / Being [Remind them of the slide about this at the end of Lesson 3]. The basics of mindfulness are summed up in this practice. Shifting mode, or changing the gear of the mind is the “Core Skill” of mindfulness. Doing a “.b” is the way to achieve this..b is a portable 4-step exercise:STOP whatever you’re doing, maybe noticing you’ve been in autopilot.FEEL YOUR FEET on the ground. Let this ground / anchor you.FEEL THE SENSATIONS OF BREATHING as it moves through your body.Practise BEING – relaxing into the present moment, BEING HERE NOW!Check they understand. Try it out together.If there’s room in the classroom, you might like to try the following exercise:Ask the pupils to stand up and spread around the room. They should then start to walk around the room as if they are busy, late and stressed. Obviously they should also take care not to bump into each other!At a certain point, you clap your hands, or blow a whistle or equivalent, and they should stop and should do a ‘.b’Then repeat, until the contrasting modes of hurrying and of “.being” are clear and established, and the pupils have a sense of what it feels like to do this.Hear their feedback on what they noticed and how it felt.(Bauch-)atmung„Be” – Sei bewusst und präsent.
16„Aufwach”-Übungen der Woche NB The Home practices will take longer to explain & set up and DO this week.But before clicking in the boxes to explain, ask them how the Beditation has been going. What have they noticed? Has it helped them sleep?Read through the instructions in the student booklet with them [maybe they take it in turns to read one sentence each round the class?].Leave time for them to arrange .b buddies. Stress that they should only text .b to their buddy once a day. If they get a .b whilst walking, for example, they don’t need to physically stop walking - though of course they could – but rather bring their attention to their breath, to their moving feet, to their surroundings. Receiving a .b is simply an invitation to step out of autopilot.The letters in the Mindful Mouthful chart in the Booklet stand for Breakfast, Lunch, Tea, Snack.Encourage them really to go for it with these home practices. They’re half way through the course and if they can give time to doing these practices they’re likely really to notice a positive difference in how they feel during the week.
17Some other quotations about present moment awareness that you might like to use and discuss with pupils:The living moment is everything. D.H. LawrenceRejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee. MontaigneNothing ever gets anywhere. The earth keeps turning round and gets nowhere. The moment is the only thing that counts. Jean Cocteau, Professional Secrets, 1922Let the credit card companies market as they will, the only thing that's priceless is Now. Caleb Baylor HiveEternity is not something that begins after you are dead. It is going on all the time. Charlotte Perkins GilmanForever is composed of nows. Emily DickinsonCould we see when and where we are to meet again, we would be more tender when we bid our friends goodbye. Marie Louise De La RameeThe other day a man asked me what I thought was the best time of life. "Why," I answered without a thought, "now.“ David GraysonIt is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis. Margaret BonnanoYesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present. Babatunde OlatunjiFinish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Ralph Waldo EmersonI have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is. Alan Watts