Two of our students have been participating in a two-year program called the Mindfulness and Meditation Certification Program with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. Both of them are winding up their training and are offering courses in mindfulness this fall. In September, Emily Martin is offering a four-week Introduction to Mindfulness course and is actively seeking beginning and more advanced students who would like to learn about mindfulness. The class is offered on Wednesday evenings from 7 - 8 PM. The course description and how to register is here. In October, Savannah Walters will be offering a course in self-compassion. Scheduling details are still being developed. Support our students by signing up for these classes. Savannah's classes will also be on Wednesday evening.
Although there are plenty to choose from, this one is 100% free. It comes from a psychologist in Washington state. The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course is created by Dr. Dave Potter, a fully certified MBSR instructor, and is based on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
You might find it helpful to download one of the meditation apps that are out there. That way you will have access to loads of guided meditations. There are several of them but the one we like is Insight Timer because it is free and has a huge library of music, meditations and talks. There is a way you can pay and if you upgrade, each of their teachers gets a small monetary contribution when you listen to one of their audio programs. There are also special programs and courses that are timely.
Here is a really short video recording from Vidyamala Burch, the founder of Breathworks, a mindfulness based treatment program for chronic pain in England. One Moment at a Time is only 2 minutes long. The clip is from the palousemindfulness.com program. Click here to get more guided meditations from Breathworks.
Here are the suggestions for today's practice.
You may want to read the book Boundless Heart:The Buddha's Path of Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity by Christina Feldman. We really appreciate Christina’s take on these old teachings that the Buddha promoted They were so popular in early India that they became part of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Book 1 Verse 33.
If you want to read a modern translation of the words of the Buddha, you may want to explore the Metta Sutta. This teaching is comparable to First Corinthians 13 in the Bible, and is a classic of Buddhist literature. It is a standard chant in many traditional services and is available in all of the languages of Asia. The link is for a translation by John Peacock which was included in Christina Feldman’s book Boundless Heart. Leigh Brasington has collected 18 different translations.
▪The first week, we will cover the practices around cultivating kindness for ourselves. We have lots of good suggestions for what is often a challenge for some of us in the west. We explore why we should be kinder to ourselves and how to do that without being self-indulgent.
▪The second week will expand the practice to include our friends, and our mentors or teachers. These are people for whom it is easy to feel kindness.
▪The third week will be an introduction to working with difficult people. You will be encouraged to start with people who are only annoying and not really that difficult. It is a challenge to be kind to the people we feel are not being kind to us or doing things we don't agree with. For most of us, that is an aspirational practice.
▪And the final week the practices will address the challenges of kindness to all people everywhere, all living beings everywhere, and to our fragile planet.