Mindfulness and Mediation Part 1

October 21st, 2015

P1090087I have been becoming increasingly interested in mindfulness recently. This comes from a number of sources. Firstly, it is difficult to pick up a newspaper or read any HR press without there being some reference to it’s positive impact on employees and the number of books and papers on the subject have exploded. What I have read suggests that there is a growing body of evidence to support it’s beneficial impact on such things as stress, well-being, absence and leadership. Secondly, it links to developments in neuroscience and to some of the concepts I was exposed to during a recent course I completed on neuroscience for coaches. Thirdly, as a newbie to yoga I have personally experienced the “feel good factor” following the meditation bit at the end of the yoga class. So I have been thinking about how mindfulness might be helpful in the context of mediation practice.

A definition of mindfulness that I came across really resonated with me; “mindfulness is the awareness that comes from paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgementally to things as they are.”  If I can sustain that during a mediation session then I will be doing my job as a mediator very well.  If the individuals concerned can do likewise then this would help enormously in achieving understanding and resolution.

To me this definition relates to a number of the key principles of mediation.

  • I do of course try to pay attention and practice deep empathetic listening throughout a mediation. As with all skills this gets better with practice but it is still hard to sustain for long periods of time, so anything that can help would be very welcome.
  • Acting in an impartial and non-judgemental way is what any good mediator will strive to achieve.
  • In order for parties to move on from a conflict situation there is often a need for some sort of acceptance that things are as they are. Once this happens, this is often the moment when the parties can start to look to the future.
  • If I am maintaining attention, deeply listening and remaining calm then this will impact on the parties as our own emotional state impacts on those around us. This will help the parties to feel more at ease in what will invariably be a difficult and emotional situation.
  • The importance of the parties feeling as though they have been listened to and understood should not be underestimated.

So this got me thinking that perhaps mindfulness will further enhance my ability to pay full attention, remain non-judgemental and to create the right environment for the parties.  As a result I have decided to do my own bit of unscientific research;  I have decided to embark on an eight week mindfulness programme and then review how this may impact on my mediation skills and practice. Part II of this blog will follow on completion of my eight week programme.


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