‘I’m sorry, could you repeat that?’ How many times have you found yourself caught out daydreaming when you were supposed to be paying attention? It might be that whoever you are talking to simply isn’t that interesting but the likelihood is that you, like the rest of us, are suffering from a somewhat befuddled mind.
Between the 24-hour communications and constant stream of information that hums around us all on a minute-by-minute basis, is it any wonder that chronic sleeplessness, lethargy, and high levels of stress are the 21st century’s West’s answer to the Bubonic Plague? According to Sandy Newbigging, author of Mind Calm, the answer lies in your mind.
Having left a consulting job in 2002, Sandy decided to explore ways in which he could help people on an emotional level while running a Detox retreat. Noticing that people were coming to him with a whole cavalcade of issues, he accidentally created what is now known as the Mind Detox Method. Despite its popularity, he felt there were still ways in which he could improve the way he helped people and so embarked on a journey of meditation, through which, by adapting ancient ideas for the modern customer, Mind Calm was born.
So what exactly is Mind Calm? Well, put succinctly, it is a “two part path to peace”, says Sandy. Elaborating, he continues: “The first step is a technique for achieving ‘peace of mind’ – helping to quieten your thoughts and experience more clarity so you are not so distracted and are better able to perform tasks at hand. The second step is ‘peace with mind’, which is not only having a quiet mind but also being able to be at peace with it when it starts moving again, because we are human and thoughts are going to happen, but we need to learn to see them and not be them.”
The result of this ethos, according to Sandy, is that we end up with ‘peace with life’, by which he essentially means allowing feelings, thoughts, and emotions to happen and not let them ruffle your feathers too much. His point is an astute one – you know how sometimes everything is absolutely perfect in life, but for whatever reason you are feeling anxious, or angry, or unhappy? Well, he’s talking about recognising that and being ok with it. Not always an easy thing to do … mostly because it’s not always easy to recognise that that’s what’s happening. On another level he explains: “It can also lead to peace with the body. We are very good at believing that our bodies should be different, and if they were better in some way then we would be happy, but we can’t be happy until they improve. Mind Calm helps you realise that you have a body but you are not your body. You remain intact without it.”
Importantly, his theory is one with a practical goal. From body confidence to productivity, it is essentially designed to allow you to ‘get on’ with life because you will have fewer distractions buzzing around in your head. As such he has had everyone from your proverbial granny to CEOs coming to him for help with everything from confidence to improving their relationships. Of course, the real test is whether Sandy practices what he preaches: “before, I could feel lonely in a room full of people”, he says, “I suffered from anxiety and by being more present I have found I can channel the energy I used to resist into being productive, and now I am publishing my eighth book!”
This brings us nicely onto the latest instalment in Sandy’s Mind Calm journey: the book. Given that he runs retreats that give people a full Mind Calm experience, can they really get it from the book? “The book has been written so that people can apply it, but of course the experience is deepened and tailored by personal guidance. I write in the way I speak in my talks, my job is to simplify complicated ideas, and people who have read the book are able to apply it using as few steps as possible. They can engage straight away” – which given the aforementioned manic lives and lacking concentration, sounds like the perfect antidote!
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