Mindfulness, in short, is a meditation-based life practice which has helped countless people to learn the skills they need either to find a clearer focus and stillness in the midst of a busy, frantic and high pressure life, or to cope creatively with anxiety, stress and depression.
Many people come to swear by it as something that has changed for the better the way they approach life.
Mindfulness practice is also an effective support for spiritual growth. Tim Stead's own frame of reference is an inclusive Christian faith, but he is used to teaching groups that include people of various faiths - and none.
Although the heart of the programme is based around learning some fairly simple but formal meditation practices, Mindfulness is really an attitude to the whole of life. When we have caught it, it has the ability to change everything for us.
This weekend is designed for total beginners, though you’re equally welcome with some previous mindfulness experience.
This short weekend will be based on the best-selling book Mindfulness – finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman and will serve as a taster to get people started on the journey.
You don’t need to have read the book but it might be helpful as a companion to the weekend and then can be used as a follow up afterwards.
Tim was until recently a parish priest who has practised Christian forms of contemplative prayer for 30 years and discovered Mindfulness in 2010. In 2014 and 2015 he was invited to lead mindfulness meditations each morning at the Greenbelt Festival.
In 2016 his first book Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality was published by SPCK and he returned to Greenbelt as a platform speaker.
He writes: “Most people seem to find a group the best way to get going with Mindfulness. But why ‘for men’? Well, you know what we’re like!
“Many of us are a bit shy of groups and personal stuff especially in mixed groups. But the good news is that: a) you are being taught by a man who understands this and b) we will not at any stage be delving into ‘group therapy’!
"The sessions we will follow are about learning a skill and that is what we will concentrate on. P.S. Mindfulness is now being taught in both houses of parliament which, as we know, is still mostly men. It’s been received very well there!”
Tim was until recently a Church of England vicar. He trained to teach mindfulness at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (oxfordmindfulness.org) and is now an accredited teacher on the UK listings. He also teaches the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy course at the centre.
Tim also has a science degree and has developed an interest in how science and faith can both critique and inform one another. He sees Mindfulness as a particularly good example of how this has happens in a constructive way.
Of no relevance (perhaps) to Mindfulness at all, he can also play a bit of tennis and fancies himself as a bit of a guitarist and singer song-writer.
He is married and has three almost grown up children who are generally not at all impressed by him.