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Modelling Mindfulness - Activities

ACTIVITY 1: Breath counting

In pairs. 5 mins each way. Stand up and break state in between.
  • Task: To mindfully count 9 breaths (in & out) and to raise a finger after the 9th breath.
  • When ready to start counting, raise a finger.
  • If lose track of the count, raise a finger and restart the breath count.
  • Continue until the bell sounds.
  • Mark each breath (in and out) and each time Meditator raises a finger, e.g.    
| | | | | | | | | 0
| | | | | | | | 0
| | | | | | | | | | | 0
After both rounds, based on the experience during the activity, begin to identify the components of mindfulness for you.

Note: It is not only the Meditator who needs to have a degree of mindfulness.

Activity based on research designed by:
Levinson, D. B., Stoll, E. L., Kindy, S. D., Merry, H. L., & Davidson, R. J. (2014). A mind you can count on: Validating breath counting as a behavioral measure of mindfulness. Frontiers in Psychology, 5.


ACTIVITY 2: Mindful focussed attention meditation

On own. 5 minutes.
  • Task: To maintain mindful attention on a chosen a mental phenomenon (e.g. an image or sensation) until the bell rings. If your mind wanders or is distracted, bring your attention back to the chosen image or sensation as soon as you notice.
Afterwards, join with another person and continue to identify the components of mindfulness for you.


ACTIVITY 3: Sustaining mindful awareness with Clean Language

In pairs. 10 mins each way.

  • Task: Mindfully attend to the same image or sensation as in Activity 2 throughout the meditation while being supported by a Clean Language facilitator.
  • In the beginning, Meditator can coach the Facilitator how to best to ask the questions, e.g. where to sit, the preferred volume and speed of questions.
  • Task: To support Meditator to sustain attention on the chosen image or sensation using only Clean Language (you are in part functioning as external Task Retention).
Tips for facilitator:
  • It can take Meditator a little time to adjust to the task and the external voice.
  • Stay ultra-clean.
  • Use minimal repeating back, and reduced syntax (i.e. no “And when …”)
  • Sometimes just repeating back a word or two will be sufficient.
  • Make questions as simple and short as possible
  • Only ask questions that keep attention on the chosen image or sensation (do not ask questions that shift attention in time, space or form)
  • Only mention words describing the chosen image or sensation – Ignore all references to anything else.
  • You are not trying to coach or change, nor even trying to facilitate self-modelling, and it is not using Clean Interviewing (it is subtly different to all three).
After both rounds,
(a) Continue to identify the components of mindfulness for you.
(b) Comapre the experience with that of Activity 2.
(c) Identify the kind of facilitation needed.


ACTIVITY 4: Self-modelling the process of mindfulness

In pairs, 30 mins each way.
  • Meditator selects one of the six (A-F) transitions in Figure 3 above.
  • Meditator is facilitated to self-model what happens just before, during and just after the transition.

One way to do this is to start a mindfulness meditation and for the Meditator to inform the Facilitator when they notice one of the transitions (e.g. C, mind-wandering or being distracted). The Meditator uses that experience to be facilitated to self-model what happened just before, during, and just after the transition.

Repeat for the same or another transition.


ACTIVITY 5: Modelling mindful awareness itself

In pairs, 30 mins each way.
  • Task: Meditator is facilitated to self-model mindful awareness itself.

After starting a mindfulness meditation the Meditator can inform the Facilitator when they have accessed a state of mindful awareness. The Meditator may need to go in and out of the state to report on the experience, or the Meditator can notice and report on their experience of mindful awareness while being asked clean questions.

Facilitators' note: The aim is not to put attention on a Perceived phenomenon, not on the Perceiver, not on the Relationship between the two, it is how the Meditator perceives while being mindful, i.e. what kind of awareness is that?


ACTIVITY 6: Enhancing mindful awareness with CL & SyM

In pairs, 30 mins each way.
  • The Mediiator selects one of the six (A-F) transitions in the process (Figure 3).
  • The Facilitator uses Symbolic Modelling to facilitate the Meditator's desired outcome for developing their capacity for mindfulness at that transition.



The 'five uses for CL & SyM' I listed above in section 8 were addressed by the activities as follows:
  • Activity 3: Facilitating a mindfulness meditation (Use 1).
  • Activity 4: Facilitating the self-modelling of a mindful process (Use 2).
  • Activity 5: Facilitating the self-modelling of mindful awareness itself (Use 3).
  • Activity 6: Facilitating the improvement of an aspect of mindfulness (Use 4).
And example of the fifth use would be for a facilitor to notice features of mindfulness during a clean facilitation.

James Lawley

James LawleyJames Lawley offers psychotherapiy to individuals and couples, and coaching, research and consultancy to organisations. He is a co-developer of Symbolic Modelling and co-author (with Penny Tompkins) of Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling, (with Marian Way) Insights in Space: How to use Clean Space to solve problems, generate ideas and spark creativity and an Online training in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling. For a more detailed biography see about us and his blog.

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