I’m Norman. I help people who aren’t into spiritual language to learn the basics of mindfulness so they can appreciate and enjoy their lives.

Norman Lamont, mindfulness instructor at Light Touch Mindfulness. credit: Jasmin Egner

Having practised meditation and mindfulness for over 30 years, I’m sure of the benefits it’s given me. It’s helped me be more calm, more measured in my responses and less prone to roller-coaster emotions. I’m no blissed-out paragon – I have my moments like anyone else. But even then, there’s a calm space never too far away, from which I can see difficulties come and go, and often see them arising before they get a grip.

I learned this in a specific context from religious people. There were bells and incense and imagery you don’t see every day.

That’s all well and good but over the years I’ve met people who would like to learn this stuff, but are completely put off by these same trappings of mysticism and religion.

In 2000 I designed an introductory course in meditation for people in the insurance company where I was a trainer, using everyday language and no ‘spiritual’ imagery. Now that mindfulness is sweeping the media, that idea has come of age. But with everyone and their sister-in-law writing about mindfulness we see a huge range of language and imagery, much of which grates with me. Photos of people in business suits sitting in a (bad) yoga pose, in front of a laptop. Language full of Capitalised Words to make ‘Consciousness’ seem more significant than consciousness, ‘Awareness’ than awareness. Images of Buddhas and lotus flowers decorating text about science, rationality and secularism.

I’m not claiming mysticism is nonsense, or that meditation can’t lead to profound states, hard to describe outside the language of poetry and religion. I love some of that stuff. But my belief is:

  1. that many people like you will be able to improve their lives and their relationships by learning just the basics of mindfulness in ordinary language
  2. that mindfulness is just being able to direct your attention and learning to appreciate what you find
  3. that there’s a lot to learn in mindfulness that isn’t meditation, but
  4. that meditation is a great support to a practice of mindfulness

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