In the second of these of these reflections on the nature of teaching mindfulness I thought it would be interesting to continue with the theme of mindful presence. As teachers of mindfulness in secular settings, we bring an emotional and cognitive sensibility to our teaching that is based on our personal experience and understanding of mindfulness. When we respond to questions from our participants via the process of mindful reflective inquiry, we are embodying an awareness that embraces and acknowledges a way of being that is able to stay quietly present even in the midst of ambiguity.
In June I packed a suitcase to spend a week in the desert, my meditation cushion and yoga mat taking up most of the space. I journeyed to Joshua Tree, California with about 50 other people for the inaugural Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training through the University of California at San Diego’s Center for Mindfulness.
Suffering is not personal, but in so many ways we are inclined to feel it in that way. Of course the feeling of pain and heartache is universal; it’s what connects us and also what can separate us. Mindfulness meditation practice encourages and supports us in developing a profound understanding about how we relate to pain and gives us choices on how we can respond. It took me some time and lots of practice to relax into appreciating this. What I became aware of was the more I could allow myself to show up and pay a kind and steady attention, without denying or pushing anything away or a
On the opening page of Mark Nepos’s book Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, he quotes an epigraph by Abraham Heschel:
[We] will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation . . . What we lack is not a will to believe but a will to wonder . . . Reverence is one of [our] answers to the presence of mystery . . .
Few psychological interventions have engendered so much promise and delivered on that promise with such impressive clinical outcomes and research findings as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).