Once people know I teach mindfulness, their perception of me changes. They expect calmness at all times and in all responses. They are normally disappointed.

Now that my hours are less congested with obligations and my body less filled with energy, some space has appeared in the day. Things are certainly a lot quieter for me right now than for all my friends who are at work. So it should be a fertile time for me to practice meditation – you’d have thought. Sitting this morning was a pretty typical experience. The bell rang to start. I came to a feeling of body and breath and then almost immediately my mind was dispersed and forgetful. I was planning my future. There I was doing stuff that meant everything worked out well for me. I was both centre stage and the good guy in the tales I was telling in my mind. This is normal for me. I have a great attachment to the idea of me, of Philip. My hand is clenched tightly around the image I have of self.

To be sure, this tendency can be very annoying. But I am gradually learning that being more aware of my habits and of noticing a pattern in my distractions is a good thing. I may not be the patron saint of calmness people expect a mindfulness teacher to be, but I am starting to notice some my mental agitations and addictions as they arise, stay a while and fade away.

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