Sessions Two Hours on Saturday mornings with a silent day retreat in the 9th week.

Facilitated by David Beatty

This comprehensive course incorporates both the formal and informal practices established in the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course. These practices essentially focus on embodiment. While this is fundamental to establishing mindfulness the course encompasses a broader perspective, not limited to simply reducing stress. There will be an opportunity to briefly explore the historical background of the source material with an emphasis on the ethical perspective that is central to a foundational grounding in mindfulness practice. Ethics here are differentiated from mere rules, and are essentially concerned with relationship. It is therefore not descriptive of something that ought to happen or is expected, but focuses on the psychology of intentions and their consequences. It is an invitation to a journey towards revealing the common ground of our humanity in discovering appropriate responses to the divisiveness and reactivity that afflicts us at this time.

Many are suffering from a growing multitude of pressures not only of daily life disrupted by a global pandemic, the lockdowns, and the fears and anxieties associated with an epidemic, as well as the grief of those who may have lost loved ones or colleagues during the last year. But additionally many feel assaulted by a relentless cascade of distractions and spectacles generated by an economic system that daily erodes our sense of who we are.

Questions arise as to how we should evaluate our deepest human needs in a world that prioritizes a hyper-rational approach towards the end of establishing a digitized global technium that functions in a seemingly value-free virtual world, increasingly divorced from the natural world, which itself is under threat from these processes. In the process there is a harmful level of depersonalization and disembodiment that results in a lack of the quality of care in the deep sense: care for others, care for the earth. It is for this reason that, amidst the abstraction of the prevailing mantra everything is connected, and with our lives daily usurped by algorithms,the embodiment aspect of mindfulness is so crucial.

This Mindfulness Programme has been adapted to address our current era of pandemics, the climate emergency, and the stresses that accompany these, with the aim of establishing a sound foundation for re-appraising our lives, finding a sense of common ground in community, and aligning our deepest humanity towards taking appropriate steps towards shifting, inwardly and outwardly, both attitudes and structures in society to meet the challenges we face locally and globally. While the aim is to explore the human problematic at the deepest personal level that does not mean that the practices we engage with cannot be enjoyable, or even joyous, as we give ourselves the opportunity to share our concerns in the open space of community.

Mindfulness is now well established as a deeply healing practice open to anyone with or without previous experience. Mindfulness establishes direct contact with what is taking place in the present moment in two senses: knowing what is happening while it is happening without preference; and secondly recognizing what is happening while it is happening without preference. During the course participants cultivate an awareness of sensations, feelings, thoughts, which awakens our natural capacity for insight into the underlying causes and conditions of stress, dissatisfaction or anxiety, expanding our sense of who we are, beyond our fears and self-judgment.

Some of the things you will learn:

  • How the practice of mindfulness can be directly applied to simple everyday tasks, such as eating, and address the addiction cycle.
  • The ethical basis as an important component of mindfulness practice.
  • What is compassion and what is the differences between empathy and compassion. Will include the topic of moral injury.
  • The importance of embodiment: bringing mindfulness into your relationship with your body.
  • The importance of Feeling Tone in cultivating awareness of Pleasant, Unpleasant and Neutral Sensations/Feeling states.
  • How the brain constructs your experience, the neurobiology and psychology of pain and fear.
  • Understanding impermanence and the role this plays in developing insight.
  • Mindfulness in relation to illness, ageing and death.
  • A historical perspective on the development of mindfulness through early and later traditions.
  • The course will finish with a discussion on appropriate responses to pandemics and climate change, and the need for different responses to these events. The climate emergency is not some random external event that can be fixed with technology. We are climate change due to the impact of our mode of living expressed as an economy disconnected from the earth. We will explore how mindfulness and insight can help us meet a world subject to disruption, and assist us in engendering non-linear responses as a way of nurturing Radical Hope in the face of uncertainty.

 Join us for ten weeks to explore the Foundations of Mindfulness Practice, to rediscover your sources of creativity and common humanity with tools that will help you navigate both personal and inter-personal terrains of mutuality and relationship with an awareness of the challenges we face in the 21st century.