Silence retreat is on Sunday, March 25th
Beyond The Breath: 8 Mindfulness Skills to Transform Your World
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
We are drawn to mindfulness for different reasons. Underlying all our reasons is the fact that we care – about our selves, our loved ones, and the world we live in. However, living in a world that is fraught with injustices, suffering, and unforeseen challenges can feel arduous. It takes courage to meet suffering – ours and others’ – with an open mind and heart. It takes fierce compassion to want to do something about it.
Whether you are dealing with an inner crisis, a problem at work, or social change, it is tempting to take the path of least resistance. Mindfulness 2.0 provides three mindfulness trainings to cultivate the 8 mindfulness skills. In addition to mindfulness meditations, this program also includes Insight (right understanding and intentions) training and Skillful Actions (including thoughts and speech) training so we don’t fall into our default patterns, despite our growing awareness. Read more about the 3 mindfulness trainings and why we need them in this blog post. These trainings systematically enable us to integrate mindfulness into our everyday lives. We not only refine our attention but also cultivate insight and skillful habits to actively create the life we want and the kind of impact we want to see in our lives and the world we live in.
The three trainings are directed towards cultivating eight skills taken from the original Buddhist teachings to liberate us from our default tendencies and live our fullest potential as human beings. I have further studied each of these skills from a scientific perspective to extract their relevance for our current times.
- Appreciative joy
- Inner calm
Each week will focus on one skill – what it means, why it’s important, challenges to practicing that skill, and the three mindfulness trainings to cultivate the skill. Participants will be invited to pick a project or personal goal that they will be applying the 8 skills to. For example, I applied the 8 skills to finish writing my book and compete in my first 5K race for Safe Passage.
The program will include:
- Meeting once a week for 2.5 hours
- Accountability partners (optional)
- Dialog and journaling
- Silence retreat (a different format from the MBSR program)
- Workbook (based on the book on Mindfulness 2.0 that I am working on)
- Guided meditations for each skill
- A community of like-minded people committed to living an intentional, empowered, and richer life
How is Mindfulness 2.0 Different From MBSR
Contemplation of four foundations of mindfulness
In MBSR, the focus was on awareness of three foundations – thoughts, body, and emotions. In 2.0, we will expand our awareness to the fourth foundation – other phenomena including the hindrances to living mindfully and eight mindfulness skills to live a fulfilling life.
Meditation, Insight, & Skillful Actions
In addition to meditations, we will focus on developing insight – right understanding and intentions – and skillful actions as a way to integrate our mindfulness practice into real life interactions. This is where the rubber meets the road – how is your practice changing who you are in your actions and interactions? Even if our mindfulness is not fully established, insight and skillful actions provide the right perspective and intentions to take actions with the bigger picture in mind.
Balancing the Energizing & Calming Skills
Beyond awareness and compassion, which we focused on in MBSR, in 2.0 we are actively cultivating six other skills:
- Appreciative joy
- Inner calm
The first three are energizing skills and the last three are calming. Each of these skills helps to balance the excess and deficient tendencies in our mindfulness practices and lives.
Beyond bare awareness, getting more involved
When contemplating the first three foundations of mindfulness, like we did in MBSR, we maintained bare awareness. Now, with the addition of the fourth foundation, the instructions change. We are invited to get more involved. We are not only bringing awareness, but also right understanding and skillful actions to actively promote well-being for ourselves and others involved.
The above additions are a few of the differences that bridge the gap between our intentions and the actions/behaviors that manifest in our lives. In other words, 2.0 will help translate our sitting practices into habits and everyday skills that allow us to create a life of fewer regrets, better decisions, and more fulfilling relationships.
Summary of Benefits
Some of the benefits of taking this program:
- Build each of the 8 mindfulness skills individually
- Better integrate mindfulness into everyday life
- Bring clarity to decision making
- More energy and enthusiasm in general
- Deal with challenges with more equanimity and understanding of the bigger picture
- Deeper understanding of mindfulness from scientific and traditional Buddhist perspective.
- Lead – your life, project, or organization – with more impact and more ease
The pricing is the same as for the 8-week MBSR class and you can read about it here.
We follow a flexible pricing model to make MBSR accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. In order to reserve a spot in the upcoming class, $350 (and $200 for students) is to be paid as a commitment fee. The commitment fee covers the operational costs of rent, electricity, and running the classes at Downtown Mindfulness location in Amherst. This fee does not cover payment to the teacher. Teachers freely offer the teachings and rely on the generosity of course participants for a sustainable income. After you have experienced the benefits of this program, you are invited to make an additional payment based on your ability to pay that goes towards paying teachers and offering scholarships to participants who need financial support. This is an inspired pricing model to make this program accessible to all and trusts in the generosity of people to pay what they can afford. The sliding scale for MBSR classes taught at other locations in the Pioneer Valley is from $350 to $725.
No one is refused because of monetary constraints. Please contact me if you would like to explore other possibilities for payment.
Who Is This For
Mindfulness 2.0 is a secular program for people who have taken an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class or an equivalent program and would like to close the gap between what they want and what they are doing instead. It is designed to help us create mindful habits.
More specifically, this program is for you if you sometimes wonder:
- How can I create and sustain healthy habits?
- What does it mean to be truly free?
- Am I my most authentic self?
- Am I living to my most creative, most compassionate, and greatest potential?
- How can I have more impact without burning out?
- Can we take care of ourselves, each other and the world without getting overwhelmed?
- How can I live a life of abundance while being of service to others?
Please contact me if you have any questions at email@example.com
Go To The Limits Of Your Longing By Rainer Maria Rilke
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
Book of Hours, I 59
My Personal Journey & Intention
My hope for offering this program is for us to explore what it means to live – learn, work, relate, play – with more energy, joy, and creativity that takes into account the well being of all involved. In the MBSR we started to explore mindfulness as a way to live with more awareness of our autopilot behavior and make more skillful choices. Yet, as we all have experienced, there can be a gap between our experience of mindfulness in meditation and how we act in life. In this series, we will systematically explore the 8 mindfulness skills essential to meeting life with authenticity, intentionality, and wisdom.
This program is an outcome of thousands of hours of learning from many mindfulness teachers, personal practice and contemplation, and researching the science underlying each of the 8 mindfulness skill. I am grateful for the many opportunities to learn from my failures to act mindfully in challenging situations and to explore how to bridge the gap between my sitting practice and how I show up in the world. This program and workbook is a creative expression of my yearning to discover a better way to live that was never taught in school or any where else. Through an intimate inquiry of our immediate experience we can learn to access more information and tap into our natural intelligence to make better choices than we would based on our automaticity.
Very much like the MBSR class, learning in this program is shaped by each of us showing up authentically. It takes a community to live an examined life. We need all the support we can get to live mindfully in a culture that thrives on automaticity. I look forward to embarking on this next mindful adventure with you. Please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org – in case you have any questions or concerns before committing to the 8-week Mindfulness 2.0 program.