Philip Kidson: Introducing Maslow’s Mindful Sessions

The Notebook | 19th December 2018

The founder of the Mindful Place, Fitzrovia announces his new monthly investigations into the practical application of the theory of self-actualisation

Philip Kidson studied at Cambridge University and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) before undergoing a personal and professional shift that led him away from high-intensity intellectual and academic pursuits and on a seven-year exploration into exploring the power of intuition, healing, creativity, inter-connectedness, community-building and the power of the mind to continuously adapt to radical, new and powerful ways of thinking. The outcome of this time of personal development is The Mindful Placein Fitzrovia, where he supports his clients in their personal and professional growth. In January, Philip brings The Mindful Place to Mortimer House in the guise of Maslow’s Mindful Sessions, which will take place every third Tuesday in the Living Room and Den, fostering discussion around the ideas of psychoanalyst Abraham Maslow and the practical application of them in both the personal and professional sphere. Here, he shares with Maslow’s Notebook his belief in the power of meditation and the importance of spiritual development, and tells us why there is quiet revolution going on in Western society that might just help us all to live better.

Tell us about The Mindful Place–what is the organisation all about?
I set up The Mindful Place with the specific intention of helping people bring a renewed dynamism and sense of agency to their lives. For this flourishing of self to be sustainable, I teach my clients how to found this growth mindset on a strong platform of wellbeing. Calm, clarity of mind, self-compassion and taking moments to slow right down in order to reboot and refresh are key to the work I do. Meditation is vital for this and I facilitate my clients in establishing a short, daily meditation practice as a way of staying connected, grounded and relaxed no matter what’s happening in their lives. The word meditationis really interesting for me because it has two meanings: firstly, as this method of quietening the mind, but there’s also another understanding of the word in the sense of contemplation or thinking deeply and at length. The great philosophers throughout the ages spent their lives meditating on or contemplating the human experience. For me, quietening the mind naturally leads to more time for enquiry, not necessarily wider philosophical questions but definitely concerning aspects of one’s own life and how to make the most of our short time on Earth.

What was your personal journey into a more mindful way of being?
The year 2010 marked a shift for me towards meditation and the healing arts. Before then, I’d always been more academically minded but I found that over the years I’d lost my ability to focus properly. Not only that, but my spark of life had dimmed in a gradual way that at first wasn’t recognisable. Once I had identified this, I undertook intensive training in personal and spiritual development including energy healing and Reiki, a Japanese art of tapping into the flow of life force energy. All this was very different to approaching life rationally and logically, but approaches I’d learnt in education, though highly useful, I realised were no longer the only way. During the seven or so years after 2010, I opened up to intuition and put in a lot of time to reflect upon my work, relationships, education and upbringing. I began identifying ways in which I’d unknowingly limited my sense of possibility and potential, and so I worked on developing healthy mindsets. In short, I sought more growth.

Where do you see the most powerful effect of mindfulness currently manifesting in contemporary society?
I think the most interesting aspect of this is that its taking place all the time. Just because I can’t see all the people meditating in their homes, at work or on the tube, doesn’t mean that they’re not. Evidence suggests that there’s a growing quiet revolution, which, in my opinion, can only be a good thing. If we could gather everyone in the world and ask them to sit down and meditate, there would be millions of people who’d know how to do this and who’d learned and practiced some form of meditation. I do believe that people are waking up to their individual desires to want more for themselves, their loved ones, society and the planet. There’s a lot of shouting in the media that’s immediately identifiable and enormous amounts of coverage on the horrors that are happening, which I’m of course not dismissing, but there are also vast unreported numbers of people who are going within and doing deep transformational work on themselves, facing up to tricky aspects so as to become better human beings, finding ways of contributing to the lives of others and developing a sustainable future not just for themselves but for others and the planet.

What can we expect from Maslow’s Mindful Sessions at Mortimer House?
For me, all these iterations of mindfulness are a continuous practice. There is so much that influences our thinking in the day-to-day, so it’s vital to establish constructive ways of letting go and releasing the old forms, ways and understandings to emerge into the fresh and clear energy of the present moment.To examine the work of Abraham Maslow in monthly group sessions at Mortimer House is an extension of the intention at The Mindful Place to develop a growth mindset and overcome challenges. I think there are some key elements in Maslow’s theory of self-actualisation that can be practically applied to the worlds of business and entrepreneurship. Each month, by exploring the fundamental pillars of Abraham Maslow’s philosophy of being, we can work out how best to apply his core principles and foster a desire for self-actualisation in both life and working practice.

Interview John-Paul Pryor