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Mindfulness Meditation: Finding my Way to a Consistent Personal & Professional Practice

A Not So Mindful Beginning

I remember my first introduction to mindfulness practice and if you’re willing to join me down memory lane, I’ll try set the scene here. Imagine it, I’m a relatively fresh graduate who’s landed a new job in a large organisation. I’m wanting to attend all the meetings, to meet deadlines, and to provide the best possible service. Then on one particularly busy day, the unexpected “would you like to attend an impromptu introduction to mindfulness practice?” implores the boss. “Well sure, that sounds great!” I exclaim all the while wondering what the consequences of blowing up my diary will be. 


So later that workday, you’d find about ten of us grudgingly enter an office space to experience the wonders of mindfulness. The reported guru was calm and gentle with their presentation style as they walked around the room and placed our very own sultana on the table space. “Just one?” I ask. “Yes, just one each and please leave the sultana on the table in front of you,” replied the presenter. “Now without touching it, move in close and look at the sultana as if it’s something you’ve never seen before.” Okay, I was going to be working late for this? Wow. After a series of drawn-out steps such as, “now to notice sound, slowly bring the sultana up to your ear and gently roll it around between your fingertips”, we eventually got to eat the sultana albeit with very slow and deliberate chews while resisting any urges to swallow until directed to do so. Well dear reader, we each spent twenty minutes with that one sultana!


Unfortunately, the underlying lesson of this new experience was lost on me. I went through the mechanics of what was being asked all the while engaged with judgmental thoughts about the overall process and having my time wasted. I was annoyed, tense and agitated. Far from mindful. 


So, what was the underlying lesson? Basically, the lesson was to recognise one’s capacity to redirect and train the distracted mind to focus on the present moment. Through connection with our senses of sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste, the sultana was to act as an anchor to the here-and-now experience. To remind us that we can let go of thought and all its passengers. Again, I was far from ready to acknowledge and accommodate this knowledge.


Eventually Finding a Mindful Way


Throughout my career, the hype around mindfulness practice continued to spread and it was hard to disregard. The hype is warranted, and I now continue to welcome the accumulation of knowledge and practice. I even predict that if all the evidence-based benefits of consistent mindfulness practice were condensed into a cost-effective tablet, the majority of the population would gladly swallow it.


There are now a multitude of mindfulness apps available, each with their unique set of pros and cons. Purely due to personal preference, I cycled through the following apps: Headpace, Calm, Smiling Mind. My maximum mindful-meditation time spent on any given day with such apps was 10-minutes. 


Then a very unexpected deep dive into meditation occurred. Part of this deep dive involved a x10 day silent meditation retreat! Dear reader, please erase all notions of a resort-style pampering experience. My modest room absent of air conditioning, fit a single bed with bed-side drawers … plus a lovely curtain for a door and a ¾ frosted glass wall panel between adjacent rooms. Apart from a plethora of bodily function noises, this dorm style accommodation housed 12 silent men with two showers and three toilets. I could write pages about this experience however will keep it short for this article and simply share the x10 day timetable:

4:00 a.m. Morning wake-up bell

6:30-8:00 a.m. Breakfast break

11:00-12 noon Lunch break (vegetarian)

1:00-5:00 p.m. Meditation

6:00-7:00 p.m. Meditation

8:15-9:00 p.m. Mediation

4:30-6:30 a.m. Meditate in the hall

8:00-11:00 a.m. Meditation

12:00-1:00 p.m. Rest & interviews with teacher

5:00-6:00 p.m. Tea break (fruit & cup of tea)

7:00-8:15 p.m. Teacher’s discourse in the hall

9:30 p.m. Retire to your room; lights out …

and repeat for x10 days!

Certainly, a unique experience and far exceeding my 20-minute date with a sultana or the sporadic x10 minute daily use of meditation apps.


Welcome MiCBT

So all of the above culminated in me officially becoming a Mindfulness Integrated Cognitive Behaviour (MiCBT) Therapist via the MiCBT Institute. MiCBT incorporates practical mindfulness-based techniques paired with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) principles.

I will compile a more detailed summary of MiCBT however for now will simply describe the treatment as a four-stage therapeutic approach aimed at improving feelings while changing the process of thinking and unhelpful behaviours.

Four Stages of MiCBT

  • Stage 1 is focused on teaching mindfulness meditation
  • Stage 2 aims to decrease avoidance habits
  • Stage 3 helps to develop assertiveness skills
  • Stage 4 involves focused compassion training.


Admittedly, the treatment is labour intensive and requires a solid commitment from the participant: x1 hour of mindfulness meditation/day plus associated stage-specific CBT exercises. As part of my MiCBT training, I cycled through the x10 week treatment program twice. Once as a novice participant and again as an advanced student seeking accreditation. So, working through some of my own “stuff”, I genuinely know what the experience is like!


Potential Benefits of MiCBT

Some of the reported research benefits associated with MiCBT treatment include:

  • Stress Reduction: MiCBT has been shown to be effective in reducing stress levels. The mindfulness component helps individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions, allowing them to respond to stressors in a more adaptive way.
  • Anxiety and Depression: MiCBT has demonstrated effectiveness in treating anxiety and depression. By integrating mindfulness with cognitive-behavioural techniques, individuals can develop a more balanced and accepting approach to their thoughts and feelings.
  • Emotion Regulation: MiCBT focuses on enhancing emotional regulation by cultivating mindfulness skills. This can help individuals better understand and manage their emotions, reducing impulsive reactions and promoting emotional balance.
  • Improved Focus and Concentration: Mindfulness practices included in MiCBT can enhance attention and concentration. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with attention-related issues such as ADHD.
  • Enhanced Self-Awareness: MiCBT emphasises self-awareness through mindfulness, encouraging individuals to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment. This increased self-awareness can lead to a better understanding of oneself and one’s behaviours.
  • Pain Management: Some studies have suggested that MiCBT can be beneficial in managing chronic pain. Mindfulness practices may help individuals develop a different relationship with their pain and reduce the impact it has on their overall well-being.
  • Improvement in Interpersonal Relationships: By fostering self-awareness and emotional regulation, MiCBT may contribute to improved interpersonal relationships. Individuals may become more attuned to their own emotions and the emotions of others, leading to better communication and relationship skills.
  • Coping with Trauma: MiCBT has been explored as a therapeutic approach for individuals dealing with trauma. Mindfulness practices can provide a way for individuals to approach traumatic memories with greater acceptance and less emotional reactivity.


If MiCBT seems like something that may assist you, feel welcome to reach out via email: len.kling@roomforpositivechange.com.au or click here to book a meeting time.

I assure you that no sultanas will be harmed in the process.

Room for Positive Change is now wherever you are! 

I look forward to meeting with you.

As always, take care and keep finding a reason to smile.

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