A couple of years ago I read Scott Pape’s Barefoot Investor, which is a wonderfully accessible and highly entertaining book on working intelligently and creatively with your money.
One thing Scott has emphasised, especially for his younger readers, is the value of investing in a good superannuation fund. Several times he goes into the formula of: if you put x amount of $ in your super when you are 27, by the time you are 65 and ready to retire that x will have multiplied to Y… a huge increase over the years and something that becomes a resource for living once leaving the workforce.
I often think about this ‘investment’ idea when I sit down to meditate. Here, my ‘capital investment’ is being stored every time I take a conscious breath, every minute I spend sitting quietly and observing the thoughts that come and go, the emotions that arise and pass away, the bodily sensations that also make themselves known and then change into something different.
At first, this investment seems to yield very little, except maybe frustration as I recognise how busy and in control my mind is of my whole experience.
But like the advice that Scott gives to his readers of any age – every bit that you put into your ‘fund’ of meditation now will grow over time. And the best thing is – this investment is not dependent on world markets, pandemics, or inflation. It dependably grows, bit by bit – a personally resourced fund for every rainy day you’ll ever come across, and every sunny one too!
Over time the accumulation of quiet moments, of deliberate focus and attentional training that is such a large part of meditation, begins to develop a growth pattern of its own. Things change inside as a result of this, including the capacity to deal with the curveballs (withdrawals) that life tends to throw, such as this pandemic scenario. The other thing that grows and multiplies is the capacity to enjoy this moment here and now, to fully savour it.
It’s never too late either! Scott’s basic advice is that there’s no time like the present to begin your ‘nest egg’. I sometimes wish that I had come across Mindfulness and Meditation when I was in my 20s, but I was busy doing other things. And of course, those things led me along the way to the point where I did discover this practice and the value of it in my life.
I started learning how to meditate just over 20 years ago now, so I believe I’ve built up a little equity in this storehouse that is awareness. This is as good as gold, in my books. So much so that I know my path involves teaching what I’ve learned along the way… kind of like Scott teaches financial awareness, I love to teach awareness of this moment.
There is a formal, dedicated pathway to this awareness that involves learning how to train the mind and cultivate understanding of it. The mind is a wonderful servant if we know how to harness its capacity. The tools we use are right within us, including a high level of self-compassion and kindness.
On 14 July-1 September I’m beginning the next round of the most tested and tried secular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program available. While in the past I’ve run Mindfulness courses in person, for this one I am going to use the Zoom platform for the sake of health reasons, and also because the course is running through our winter when staying home and staying warm will allow less stress overall.
I follow the international set of standards that have seen this program become the premier research ground for the effects and benefits of Mindfulness, and which has opened up the field of mindfulness to thousands of people around the world.
Over eight weeks we will explore many facets of Mindfulness, from the very personal to the broader context of life on this planet. You will learn skills that will become your investment into your own capital fund of awareness. The numerous benefits and rewards of a regular practice will become very apparent to you as you put in the time this program requires – it’s not a 5 minute meditation course on an app. This is a systematic and deep course that has been thoroughly researched and systemised.
No prior experience with meditation is necessary to join this program, though I like to conduct a pre-enrollment interview with every person who applies to make sure the program is a good fit for you, and that you are able to make the commitment required to be part of this program. Every person’s input is important, so I’d really want to know that you are able to attend every week’s class (2.5 hours), as well as the full-day retreat (7 hours, potential in person or online), plus undertake the daily home practice (30-45 minutes +) that is set between each class.
If you are willing to make the commitment to this investment in yourself… If you have wondered about your capacity to be present, to be able to make skillful choices in the face of the increasing challenges that life brings along the way… if you are keen to embrace the full range of enjoyment and calm that grow as a result of having a regular mindfulness practice… then this program is definitely for you!
Program enrolments are open now, closing again on 30 June. If you have any questions regarding your suitability for this program, please call me on 0418 836 600 and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
As Scott Pape is fond of saying, “Tread Your Own Path!“