Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course (MBSR)
Before I start reading the information below about the Mindfulness Based Course, I invite you to take a break and consider what brought you to this point. What is in your mind, heart and body that led you to display this page on the screen of this computer? Allow yourself to pause for 10 or 20 seconds to get a clear sense of what brought you here.
Most likely, you have already quickly identified a "problem" or "challenge" you face in your life. This is something that causes you to suffer in some way, physically, emotionally or spiritually. Among the difficulties that people report when they enroll in the mindfulness course can be found:
• Chronic pain
• Anxiety and worry (rumination)
• Chronic or life-threatening medical illnesses
• Relationship difficulties
• Substance problems
• Sleep disorders
• Grief and loss
Now, take a moment to move away from your definition of the problem or problems and notice that there was also an aspect of you that was aware of these difficulty (s) and was open to working with such challenges in a different way. After all, if you were satisfied with the way you have been dealing with the things you face in life, would you have looked for a stress reduction program? Perhaps that "inner voice" was asking for peace, balance, equanimity or a sense of control.
This awareness can be explained in several ways, but we like to consider it as your inner wisdom. You have that feeling of what feels right or wrong to you since you remember, although there were probably times when you couldn't hear, ignore or misunderstand. This inner wisdom knows the fundamental principle on which the foundation of mindfulness programs is built, that there are more things right for you than wrong.
This Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course (and other mindfulness programs) are different from any type of program you may have encountered before. They involve cultivating a different relationship between you and the things that challenge you in your life, and it depends entirely on the tools you already have. Specifically, mindfulness helps to connect with the ability to not judge, to be compassionate, patient, present and aware. You would not have come this far if these qualities did not exist somewhere within you.
However, just because you have the inner wisdom and resources to deal differently with your life and all its aspects does not mean that you use them routinely. Most of us are on “autopilot” most of the day and tend to react much more than respond to the decisions and situations we face. My courses aim to develop the innate ability to cultivate mindfulness instead of “autopilot”, with which we are all familiar. They are those moments when we are not aware of where we are, what we are feeling and why we are doing what we do. These are often the moments that most contribute to our suffering. Some examples are: eating foods that we know it would be better not to eat; spending time with people who cause us great difficulty or emotional pain; or engaging in stressful, harmful or unnecessarily distracting activities.
The focus and intention of this course is to reconnect you with that inner wisdom and deep knowledge that resides within you. Mindfulness has been extensively studied and there is now a huge and growing body of research that supports its usefulness in solving the types of problems I have described.
This is an opportunity to rediscover and connect with the qualities and strengths that you have at heart. Sit down, take a moment to become aware of the space you are in, the sensations in your body, the thoughts in your mind and the feelings in your heart. Are you feeling curious, excited, skeptical, nervous, hopeful or bored? Are you aware of the physical sensations of tension, pain, heat or numbness? Can you keep all the incredible and varied things in your consciousness for a moment without having to change, delete or lose yourself in them? Can you experience this very moment for the precious, fleeting and beautiful thing that is?
You have just experienced a little of your own ability to be aware and I invite you to cultivate it further by participating in the mindfulness-based program that I offer.