Stillness & Meditation

Mindfulness and Mantra-based meditation. 


Develop greater awareness, discover the present


Mindfulness in various forms has been an intrinsic part of our courses in Practical Philosophy since they first started in the 1950s. From the first evening of the introductory course, we aim to support a more mindful way of living. 

Two simple practices

With the help of two simple practices, the Awareness Exercise and the Pause, our students gradually become more connected with the senses and the present moment, better able to turn the attention out to whatever or whoever is in front of them and a little less subject to mental agitation and circling thoughts.

How do mindful practices and Philosophy support one another?

The answer to this lies in the difference between philosophy as normally taught in universities and practical philosophy. Rather than seeing philosophy as primarily an exercise in thinking that develops logical and intellectual reasoning, we prefer the approach taken by the ancient Greeks and Eastern philosophers, for whom philosophy was and is a very practical concern.

Practical philosophy employs observation, experimentation and practice and develops faculties such as attentive awareness, concentration and self-discipline.

As these develop, and in particular as the mind attains a deeper level of stillness, so one is better able to penetrate the big questions of life, such as “what am I?” and “what is my relationship with the universe?”

Living and Working Mindfully

We understand how difficult it can be at first to live mindfully, at home or at work. It requires some perseverance and practice and also some specific guidance. But, as with any new skill, the more we do it, the easier it becomes.

Our experience over many years has shown the real value of practice sessions, in which we work together in a small group, under the guidance of an experienced student or tutor, and work mindfully and with full attention.

Opportunities for such practice (we call them ‘Working Mindfully Sessions’) are an integral feature of our courses after the introductory course.

The Awareness Exercise

The aim of practical philosophy is to gradually develop the ability to live and act consciously at all times; with full knowledge of our surroundings and our part in them.

Commonly life seems frantic and confusion abounds, the mind continuously darts around, the emotions are in conflict and sometimes we know little about what is going on or what we are to do. To discover stillness of mind and bring about a greater sense of stability and confidence it is necessary to develop the capability to connect fully with the world through the senses, supported by the mind and heart.

Awareness Exercise Steps

This Exercise together with meditation form the foundations of practical philosophy:

  • First, find a balanced position of the body . . .
    Let the mind be free of any concern or preoccupation . . .
    Let the body be still . . .
    Be aware of where you are now . . .
    Feel the touch of your feet on the ground . . .
    The weight of the body on the chair . . .
    Feel the touch of the clothes on the skin . . .
    Feel the air on the face . . .
    If they are open, let the eyes receive colour and form without
    any comment . . .
    Be aware of the sense of smell . . .
    And the sense of taste . . .
    Be fully here . . .
    Now be aware of hearing . . .
    Let sounds come and go without any comment . . .
    Let the hearing extend right out to the furthest and gentlest sounds, embracing them all….
    Simply rest in this awareness for a few moments.

Mantra Meditation

This authentic mantra-based meditation originates in a centuries-old tradition. 

Regular Practice

The technique is very simple. It is given in a simple traditional ceremony and is practised for two short periods a day.

The time taken for the practice to become established varies with each individual and much depends on the regularity of the practice. As with learning a musical instrument, deepening and refining the practice is an on-going process.

Introduction to Meditation

The meditation is given in a short, traditional ceremony designed to bring the mind and heart to rest. The ceremony is non-religious and is there to ensure the precise passage of the mantra from generation to generation and to support the significance of the event.

You will be asked to bring four things to the ceremony, each one symbolic: some flowers, some pieces of fruit, a piece of white cloth and a donation of money. The donation is not a fixed amount but depends upon individual capacity. It symbolises the surrender of material things and is an expression of the value in which the meditation is held. All donations are used by the School of Meditation to make meditation available to others.

School of Meditation

The method of mantra meditation is given through the School of Meditation, with whom the Practical Philosophy School has a long-standing relationship. In Sussex, students are introduced to meditation locally. It is offered at 3 points in the year. If you are interested in meditating and would like to know more, do get in touch.

Life-time Support

Once you’ve started to meditate the Practical Philosophy School will support you in the practice by offering one-to-one tutorials with an experienced meditator. This support will be available for as long as you wish, and is completely free of charge. Tutorials take place in person or online as the student wishes.

Find Out More

Each term we hold meetings, so that anyone who is interested in starting to meditate can ask questions and find out more.  For further details speak to your tutor or contact us.

Registered Charity

     The School of Meditation is a registered charity funded by donations, and its purpose is to make meditation readily available to anyone who wants it.

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