This is the entry point to our Mindfulness training pathway and introduces the core Mindfulness practices, while moving towards cultivating kindness. It is also the prerequisite for entering our Mindfulness teacher training pathway. It takes place over 4 weekends over 9 months.
Participants will be taught progressive skills in Mindfulness through presentations, guided practice and smaller group sessions. A strong emphasis is placed on experiential learning, and for this reason there are home assignments between weekends that include regular mindfulness practice, daily life exercises and journal writing.
MODULE ONE: START WHERE YOU ARE
Mindfulness is defined as paying attention to our moment by moment experience in a way that is non-judgmental and kind. We are initiated into this graduated process through the core sitting practice of settling, grounding, resting and mindfulness support. We also practice bodyscan and walking meditation and simple practices for integrating mindfulness into daily life. We simultaneously work on developing kindness as a basis for selfcompassion.
MODULE TWO: NOTICING DISTRACTION
Having had the opportunity to practice settling, grounding, resting and support on a daily basis since Weekend One, we are now in a position to become more familiar with how the mind moves and the unique pathways of habit it follows. We become increasingly familiar with the changing dynamic of mindfulness and distraction, and begin to see how distraction reveals an inner world of habitual patterning that ensnares our energies. We also begin to recognise attitudes of preference – like and dislike – and see how they narrow and contract our awareness, imprisoning us. In this context we learn to be able to see the difference between habitual reactions driven by conditioning and informed choices based on intelligent discernment.
MODULE THREE: SELF-ACCEPTANCE
Throughout our training we are working in two areas – redirecting our attention to the present moment by using a mindfulness support, while at the same time learning to accept the diverse range of our inner experience. Part of mindfulness practice is learning to work with strong emotions that arise and developing the capacity to ‚hold’ difficult experiences within body and mind. Identifying our reactive patterns of preference reveals how working on attitude is all important, and so, through training in acceptance we learn to acknowledge and come to terms with difficult thoughts and emotions by paying them close attention with a kind and inclusive attitude. This leads to a gradual dis-identification with the contents of our experience and shift in perspective in which we come to see that we are not our thoughts.
MODULE FOUR: UNDERCURRENT AND OBSERVER
During this module we bring together all the themes from the previous three modules and help participants set up an ongoing mindfulness practice for going forward in their lives. At this point we explore the model of ‚undercurrent and observer’ as a way of mapping out the inner landscape of our mind and identifying where change can take place. The ‚undercurrent’ refers to the continuous stream of thoughts, emotions, memories and images that stream through our mind moment by moment, whether we like it or not. The ‚observer’ refers to that part of our mind that sees the undercurrent and has the capacity to reflect on itself. As our practice deepens we learn to step out of the undercurrent and simply leave it alone. Instead, we focus on working with the attitudes of preference in our observer as this is where genuine change can take place.