A recent study conducted by Harvard University Psychology Department showed that 47% of the time we are not thinking about what they are doing. Instead we are in what neuro-scientists call a ‘narrative state’ – i.e. lost in thought, as opposed to the ‘direct state,’ when we attend to our senses.
More interestingly, there is a direct correlation between thinking about what we are doing and happiness. The study concluded that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind, but that when we think about what we are doing, we are very much happier.
The practice of mindfulness, or ‘paying attention to the present moment, deliberately and non-judgmentally’ holds a very obvious advantage in our pursuit of happiness. Which begs the question: is there any way we can give our practice of mindfulness a head start?
Going on holiday to a new and exotic place is one obvious method. Out of our usual rut, being exposed to vividly different sights, sounds and flavours, we can’t but attend directly to our senses more than usual. In so doing, we are quite naturally going to be more mindful.
My own experience of holidays in distant and unfamiliar places has, however, been mixed. Foreign travel can be a challenge if you can’t speak the language, have only vague ideas where to go, and have the stress of constantly having to decide what to do and were to eat.
Mindful Safari has been designed deliberately to deal with all the above. Each of the six days we spend on safari is structured to provide a balance between amazing wildlife encounters, formal meditation practice and the opportunity to simply enjoy the unabashed luxury of a private game reserve. How many of the game drives or meditation sessions you attend is, ultimately, up to you. But apart from that you don’t have to make any decisions. Everything else is taken care of. You are provided with daily stimulation of encounters with lion, elephant, giraffe, hippo, buffalo, and whoever else turns up, conjoined with inner adventures which may prove equally intriguing.
The idea is to create a space in your life where you can simply be in a different way from usual. Free from the demands of work, home and your usual world, you have time both to engage mindfully with the wonders of Africa as well as to tap into the limitless wellspring of clarity, contentment and benevolence that is your own true nature. It is also a time of reflection, a punctuation mark in your life to consider what really matters to you and what, if anything in your world, needs to change to more authentically reflect this.
It was only after launching Mindful Safari that I discovered that ‘safari,’ a Swahili word, means ‘a long journey.’ The perfection of mindfulness is certainly that. But I can’t think of a more wonderful support for that journey than spending time on Mindful Safari in Africa.
For more info go to: http://www.davidmichie.com/safari.html
Please note: A deposit is needed to secure your reservation. Only 3 chalets left!
Photos – courtesy of Alistair Swartz, who lives at the reserve and would be happy to give you some wildlife photography tips!