My mindfulness workshops take place in the Montreal area, usually as a series of six or eight weekly sessions. One workshop series provides the foundation for long-term practice, though many participants return for further workshops. They continue to learn, but also find that the collaborative environment itself enhances their practice.
We call them workshops to emphasize that we don’t lecture you on philosophy or tell you how you should be living your life. Our job is to help you refine and renew your own coping mechanisms.
The approach is mindful reflection,™ a practical approach to life that begins with brief periods of quiet reflection but eventually extends to all your daily activities. The goal is first-hand insight into your own mental patterns, as well as to your inner resources.
Each session includes three or four brief periods of silent meditation as well as detailed explanations of how to get into your own mind and what to look out for. A question and answer period concludes each evening.
Mindfulness workshops is usually explored in a series of ninety-minute sessions. Each one includes:
— three or four five-minute periods of guided meditation;
— about forty minutes of discourse about techniques and attitude;
— a half-hour of question & answer.
We are concerned primarily with experience; we show how concentration and reflection are readily-available mental qualities that can be refined and honed by practice, and that require commitment.
We do not practice chanting or bowing. We do not encourage mysticism of any sort. Participants are not asked to affirm or reject any beliefs. You may sit on mats with cushions or on upright chairs, and are encouraged to be comfortable.
— Basic breath awareness, to create a point of departure for all exercises, and to provide a steady “home base,” accessible at any time, e.g. during moments of panic, fear, uncertainty, etc.;
— Concentration exercises, to strengthen the mental “muscle;”, identify mental patterns—especially uncontrolled emotions—and channel thoughts and feelings into non-destructive, eventually creative, pathways;
— Body scan technique, effective relaxation ;
— Visualization of what-if scenarios leading to detachment from pain, anxiety and self-deprecation;
— Pain-focus exercises, to identify the nature of pain and the part played by mental imagery, expectation and resistance.
Meditative quiescence isn’t some remote island of tranquility but a practical state of mind, able to cope with everyday stresses and to face our deepest existential fears. A mind emptied of illusions is naturally filled with the simple joy of being conscious and a determination to live life to the full.