No doubt you have heard of mindfulness. Visit any bookstore and you'll see books with that word in the title — mindful parenting, mindful gardening, mindful living, mindful management, mindful eating, and even mindful sex. There are mindfulness programs in hospitals, schools, and businesses. But what exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a classical Buddhist practice that can dramatically enhance the way we live in the twenty-first century. It is needed now more than ever in our busy and often stressful daily lives because it offers us peace of mind no matter where we are or what we are doing. Mindfulness is learned and practiced not just in quiet meditation sessions, but also — perhaps even more so — when we are with our families and friends, and as we go about our day at work, in the grocery store, and even on the highway and stuck in traffic.
Sylvia Boorstein, one of the world's most esteemed teachers of Buddhist wisdom and practice, knows the value of this practice from personal experience and from the comments of her students during years of teaching at retreats and conferences. "Mindfulness is the balanced, ongoing attention to what is happening (physically and mentally), including the mind’s perceptions and reactions," she says. "I chose the word 'liberating' to name this retreat because the word carries with it the sense of newly acquired freedom. I used the word 'promise' because I want to include the truth that liberation requires work, that potential becomes fact through personal effort. Mindfulness is dedicated moment-to-moment clarity.' And with it comes something more. Sylvia explains:
"What the Buddha promised — and this is what is unique, and absolutely thrilling to me — is that human beings like himself, and like us, can change the habits of our mind by paying attention to these habits. And not just change our thoughts and views. We can actually change the way we process our thoughts and our views. We can become free of identities that are constricting and views that hold happiness hostage. We can be authentically and kindly wise."
Taking on the practice of mindfulness does not require distancing from life experience. Quite the contrary. Another promise of mindfulness is a greater appreciation of the events and encounters in our daily lives. We learn how to live an engaged life in this increasingly complex world with a mind and a heart that is eager to respond with clarity and compassion.
This online retreat includes:
• 12 classes delivered via email, offering instructions on how to develop your own mindfulness meditation practice and how to tap into the promise of mindfulness to guide you throughout your life.
• Short audio clips with each email that has Sylvia’s calm yet lively voice reviewing the day’s practices. Sylvia’s inimitable teaching style is chock-full of timeless wisdom woven into her own unique insights and delightful stories.
• Recordings of two one-hour teleconferences from when the retreat was first offered in October 2010. You can hear Sylvia answer questions and tell more wonderful stories.
(4 CEHs for Chaplains available.)
(choose your own start date and frequency)