As a person who has practiced silent teacher-led meditation retreats for decades and led them for about 14 years, I’ve been reflecting on this question a lot, trying to see it through “fresh eyes” and with a “beginner’s mind”. With my own experience and great mentors to draw from, I thought I would share some of my evolving thoughts and feelings about what a retreat should or could look like, in the hope that these things might interest or inspire people to participate in a retreat.
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility”
— (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Medical literature contains numerous references proclaiming the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on cardiovascular health and pain management. But to me, these were merely academic case studies, as I had not personally known anyone who had successfully used mindfulness to manage through a major medical procedure. That is, until August 17, 2016, when I had aortic valve replacement surgery.
The Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management (MBCPMTM) course is a modification of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction courses established by Jon Kabat-Zinn which are now world-wide.
Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine who have been working with Olympic BMX cyclists to improve their athletic prowess have documented areas of the brain that appear to respond to mindfulness training.
Imagine a flowering plant. A baking cake. A rising stock price. A healing wound. Time passing can be a beautiful thing.
The Meditative Experience
Online Training for Teaching Mindfulness In Your Clinical Practice