The 8-week MBCT course curriculum is carefully designed to introduce participants to a range of mindfulness meditation practices. Each week a new theme will be presented, along with suggestions on how to integrate mindfulness approaches effectively into everyday life.
Week 1: 'Awareness of Automatic Pilot'. On automatic pilot, we can easily fall into a mode of habitual ‘doing’ and ‘striving’, missing out on opportunities to connect to our lives more fully and responsively. Through developing awareness of the body, we can practice stepping out of automatic pilot mode, finding a freedom to choose how we wish to direct and engage our attention in the present moment.
Week 2: ‘Living in Our Heads’. As we focus on the body, we can begin to notice some of the more subtle ‘chatter of the mind’ and how this can tend to impact and control the ways that we react in our everyday lives. We can begin to orient ourselves towards a more intuitive and experiential way of knowing, receiving, and relating to experience.
Week 3: ‘Gathering the Scattered Mind’. Through mindful movement, we develop our ability to 'bring our minds back', especially when we feel swept away by our thoughts, or scattered. An awareness of the body and the breath can be a great ally in this process of reengaging with the present moment, and gently shifting from doing into being.
Week 4: ‘Recognising Aversion’. We begin to observe how ‘wanting’ and ‘not-wanting’ can easily lead us into a spiral of rumination, mind wandering and stress. Through practice we can learn to recognise some of the patterns of our thinking more clearly, allowing us ‘de-centre’ and relate to our experience from a wider perspective.
Week 5: ‘Allowing/Letting Be’. We explore themes of ‘allowing things to be as they already are’. Rather than jumping to fix, change, judge, or dismiss experience, we can see how it is to allow things to be – bringing an attitude of openness and interest. From a place of clear seeing, acceptance, and kindness, we can investigate whether we wish to respond, if indeed there is anything that we feel needs to change.
Week 6: ‘Thoughts are not facts’. We look more closely at the mind’s tendency towards rumination, and see whether it might be possible to recognise thoughts as ‘mental events’ rather than “facts” – emerging in relation to ever-changing moods and passing states of mind.
Week 7: ‘How Can I Best Take Care of Myself?’ We observe how mood states shift and change in relation to our actions. Becoming aware of this, we can investigate ways that we can respond when we feel exhausted or overwhelmed, connecting to what gives us a sense of pleasure, appreciation, and nourishment.
Week 8: ‘Maintaining and Extending New Learning’. Looking back over the course as whole, we reflect on our experience, and consider ways that we may wish to sustain our mindfulness practice.