Summits in Mind

…It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves….

Sir Edmund Hilary is attributed with these words but they seem to be a combination of his thoughts in a 1998 interview and George Mallory’s words in an article for Alpine Journal (1918). Words can become obscured with the mists of time but it is true that we all have symbolic summits to scale. Meditation, yoga, mindfuless, Qi Gong and other practices help but the key is perhaps a sense of security in our life situation. This is missing for so many. Maybe that is why the use of the word Summit is appearing more and more in connection with global gatherings linked to mindfulness. The Wisdom 2 Conference/Summit started on 20th August and ends on 26th August. This free online event, features interviews with leading proponents such as Jon Kabat Zinn, whom I have often linked.

This event is hosted by Wisdom 2, founded by Soren Godhammer as a means of using technology to connect us but in a way that does not undermine our own well- being. Godhammer wrote Wisdom 2: The New Movement Towards Purposeful Engagement in Business and in Life in 2009 and hosted the first Mindfulness Conference that year. It has grown from about 325 participants to 2.500 people from 24 different countries. Now in it’s 11th year it showcases technology staff, entrepreneurs, coaches as well as “wisdom teachers” such as Kabat Zinn.

Here’s the schedule and the link:

Links to this event variously feature the words “Summit more often than “Conference”. Conference implies, I think, people with a shared interest coming together to discuss issues. Summit suggests a gathering of those at the top of their field of expertise to discuss and to present solutions, strategies, answers to issues/problems. The word came into common usage in the 1950s when Churchill asked for “parleys at the summit” in order to defuse the Cold War situation. Nowdays, “parlays”/talks seem to be common parlance for Trade and Business gatherings whilst “Summit” evokes something of the “War Against….” There is an implicit link with security.

Is it all in the words? I would express a high degee of scepticism about members of Silicon Valley telling us how to handle stress created by the use of their products. This “Summit” purports to be a means by which the problem offers a solution, I am not sure that it does but it is a complicated issue. The first Summit followed the 2008 Financial Crisis and now in 2020 we face a global pandemic in which technology has provided the only link to community for many. I am using Zoom (to what cost?) but most of us are missing the person to person contact of pre-Covid exchanges and are not ready for Zooming to be a substitute for meeting.

I am amazed by the number of Mindfulness Summits;

Mindfulness & Compassion Global Summit

Mindful Living Summit

Mindfulness Health Summit

You may detect my scepticism. This is because I am reminded of the Mindful of Apps blog I wrote in September 2017, which I was tempted to name “A Minefield of Apps”. Then I don’t think that I questioned the apps, now I wonder. My only answer/ recommendation (until you return to your yoga class, regular meeting. pursuit) would be to investgate free Mindfulness courses offered by well known institutions. Oxford University’s Mindfulness Centre offers free online mindfulness sessions:

Aberdeen University is running a free Mindfulness Course to Help You During Lockdown and Beyond. Here is Mindful Breathing exercise on You Tube This is linked by the NHS as is Be Mindful course but this costs £30.

In the Mindful of Apps blog I listed Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Peformance Course by Monash University on The Future Learn site Now Monash is running Maintaining a Mindful Life; Leiden University is Offering Demystifying Mindfulness and Coventry University is offering Wellbeing at Work.

You may have some tried and trusted routes, links, suggestions. All welcome.

Here is the link to the Mindful of Apps blog in which I attempt to explain the terms mindfulness and the connection to meditation:

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