Mindfulness and Stress Reduction
Sunday, June 07, 2015
This past Monday I completed an 8 week course on MBSR, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. "MSBR is an internationally acclaimed stress reduction program based on the process and practice of mindfulness - a mind/body meditative practice that quiets the mind, releases physical and emotional distress and increases personal insight and well-being." There were seven of us in the afternoon class while the evening class had eight participants. Together we had al all day silent retreat last Saturday where throughout the day we practiced sitting meditation and different styles of walking meditations. We contemplated questions and topics such as gratefulness and kindness, and listened to supportive readings. We also did mindfulness yoga and participated in small group discussions at the end of the retreat to process the day. The course requires an open mind, a willingness to commit to the program and the homework, and an ability to hear the instructor and participants in a group setting. The objectives of the course were 1. Identify stress as it arises and intervene/manage it. 2. Develop the capacity for "presence" using empathetic/compassionate listening skills. 3. Demonstrate thoughtful and responsive behaviors when communicating with others. 4. Identify practices to relax, renew and stabilize.
I am still very much a beginner in the practice of meditation, however I found the course very beneficial. I am learning to be awake and aware of the present moment as it occurs. I am becoming more aware of attitudinal qualities: patience, trust, acceptance, letting go/ letting be, non-judging, non-striving, and Beginner's Mind. How we see things or don't see them will determine how we respond to them. It is not the events but rather how we handle them that influences the effects on mind and body. Awareness transforms everything it touches.
I have some pages in my workbook to complete, and I will read completely from front to back the book, Full Catastrophe Living, Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It's a big book and while I have skipped around reading the suggested chapters these past eight weeks I want to read it straight through from cover to cover to completely digest what it has to tell me to help me live the rest of my life in peace with myself and in my relationships with family, friends, and all of those I chance to interact with and meet along this journey of life.