– written by Fr Martin Bennett OFM Capuchin
I’ve been practising mindfulness since I did my ten-week course with a local Buddhist centre in 2004. I came to mindfulness because I felt a desire in myself to experience life in a new way – a way that was more open to awareness of the experiences of life as they unfolded. Since then, I have undertaken various mindfulness training courses and retreats. In 2016, I completed the distance learning MBSR course with Bangor as a refresher. Afterwards I found it difficult to find people to practise with and so when an opportunity arose to take part in personal practice mentoring I jumped at the chance.
A mentoring session is a very gentle experience and has evolved into its present structure as a result of a dialogue between the mentee and the mentor. My overriding experience of the process is that it is centred around the needs of the person receiving the mentoring. The mentor acts as guide and facilitator and allows the person receiving mentoring to navigate their own course.
Each session is an hour in length and I usually have one session per month, although at times I prefer to have two sessions if I am working through some more complex experiences. We begin with a short check-in to see where I am at and then move into a time of guided meditation. This mediation is always focused on what is most relevant and necessary for me right now and is based upon what I have told the mentor that I would like the session to be. After the meditation, we spend the remainder of the session reflecting on the experience – searching for the nuances at the edges of my experiences. We finish by exploring what might be helpful to me to allow my practice to deepen.
For me, the benefits have been immense. The personal practice mentoring sessions have become an island in an often turbulent and fast flowing river of experience. They have been an opportunity to deepen my practice and to weave it into the fabric of my daily life. Most of all, practice mentoring has been an opportunity to remain engaged with practice in a way that I never could have done alone. My mentor is a person I can trust and whose wisdom and generosity of spirit I deeply value.
I would highly recommend personal practice mentoring to anyone who wishes to deepen practice and integrate it into their daily lives. In short, I’d recommend it to anyone who really wants to live a mindful life.
Fr Martin Bennett OFM Capuchin is a Capuchin Franciscan Priest, Chaplain, Life Coach and Mindfulness Practitioner.
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