“The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgement, character, and will. No one is master of himself if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence. But it is easier to define this ideal than to give practical directions for bringing it about.”
–”Principles of Psychology” (1890)
So said William James in 1890. Fast forward (and we mean ‘fast!’) 100 years and that practical component has come to life. William James was talking about what we now call “Mindfulness”.
His prophecy for an education in attention-training has been made more relevant by the Information Age. Thanks to the limitless supply of virtual media, the mind has never been more cluttered. The effects on young people are noticeable: short attention, weakened recall and memory, technology addiction, increased levels of boredom and a striking resistance to silence. Students have a hard time sitting still, and in that restlessness lack a space for processing the world and their place in it.
“.b Mindfulness” is a program designed for students who wish to gain that space. It provides a variety of intuitive tools that build attention and greater self awareness. The course is comprised of 9 meetings (one hour) that are engaging and practice based, with aims to help young people gain a quiet mind, better concentration, reduced stress, and more energy.
“.b” literally means: Full Stop. Breathe. Be. Meetings are carefully crafted for the young adult audience, with a healthy mix of Mindfulness theory, sharing-discussion and guided meditation activities. The end result of each meeting is a simple clarity that gains in momentum with each succession of “practice!”
Some key .b Mindfulness topics include:
- Strong Silence (vs. weak silence, as in “be quiet!”)
- Productive Habits (and choosing over those more debilitating!)
- Practicing Non-Judgement (observing, noticing, not judging)
- Recognizing Worry (and understanding its roots)
- Thinking vs. Being (short-circuiting non-stop mind-chatter)
- Practicing Gratitude (a by-product of “being here now”)
- Neuroplasticity (how to actualize it, evolve our own brains)
- Paying Attention to Breath (being present…the core teaching)
There are many sources to learn more about Mindfulness and .b in particular. Recommended are the following:
- The Mindfulness in Schools Project website; www.mindfulnessinschools.org.
- The Mental Health Foundation: www.bemindful.co.uk.
- An IAS Times interview with Matthew Krasner: https://issuu.com/iaswarsaw/docs/ias_28al
Over 1,000 teachers are currently conducting .b Mindfulness in the UK with resoundingly positive results. Queried students have said that Mindfulness training has helped them not only with stress, anxiety and relationships, but with concentration in lessons, better sleep, and even with athletics and creativity.
For all of technology’s advances, the end result for many young people is a conditioned short attention span, poor work habits and low energy. Mindfulness tilts the scales back to a balance.
About the teacher
Matthew Krasner is a writer, educator and Mindfulness coach. He received his Masters degree in Liberal Arts from the St. John’s College in Santa Fe New Mexico and studied with Anne Waldman at the Naropa University of Fine Art in Boulder Colorado. He received his .b Mindfulness certification at The Sanctuary in Dublin Ireland. His teaching practice spans thirteen years and is guided by spontaneity, humor and a knack for opening students to their own talents.
Matthew is currently the Faculty Head at the International American School of Warsaw. He teaches courses in IBO English, creative writing and .b Mindfulness.
To register for this course or discuss the opportunity to offer .b Mindfulness at your school, please contact Matthew directly.