Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
March 4–6, 2022
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program of practical, scientifically-supported teachings to reduce stress, facilitate relaxation, and promote physical health and emotional well-being. Inspired by the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, this retreat offers tools for engaging the demands of our lives, including illness, chronic pain, personal crisis, or the ongoing challenges of a “full catastrophe.” By relating directly with our bodies and emotions, we’ll discover the power of mindfulness to change our lives.
Through sitting, walking, and body scan meditation practices—as well as mindful yoga—we will return to our lives better equipped to manage stress.
Recommended for stressed-out people from all walks of life. No prior meditation or mindfulness experience is necessary.
Read Janet’s latest Essay: A Gap in the Momentum
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Paying Attention to One Detail (Listening with Mindfulness)
By Janet Solyntjes
Listening in Meditation
How many times have you wondered what to do with the discursive mind in meditation? Before we “do” anything, it is important to listen. With what kind of ears do we listen to this internal voice – the monkey mind? Our listening is with the ears of non-identification. Listening without identifying with the words is not the same as blocking out thoughts or ignoring what is already present in the mind. To listen in this way takes tremendous gentleness and courage. Sometimes the thoughts are self-critical, sometimes they are gibberish, and sometimes they are emotionally charged. Just listen. Let them be. Can you do this for the next 10 minutes?
Step 1: Settling into your body, into being present with yourself.
Step 2: With curiosity, noticing the internal dialogue. Are the thoughts passing through your awareness few, many, quiet, or loud?
Step 3: Listening without identifying. Opening to present thoughts with an attitude of gentle observation.
Step 4: Letting go of the “exercise” and proceeding.
Listening to Others
Research has shown that where we typically place the onus of meaning in interpersonal communication – on the person speaking – is a misunderstanding of what actually occurs. It is the listening that creates meaning. How we listen to one another, rather than how well we deliver our message is the foundation from which meaning arises in conversation. Today, when you have an opportunity to speak with others, can you practice “suspension of certainty” and listen with a truly inquiring mind? Are you listening to both the words and the feeling behind the words?
Training in Paying Attention
While paying attention is something we do naturally, we all would benefit from training this capacity further. There is a rich collection of mindfulness tools one can engage and utilize in daily life. The Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction retreat offers instruction and guidance in mindfulness and supports a “coming to our senses” which awakens and enlivens each moment.
I hope you will join me!
Janet Solyntjes, MA, is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher and has been leading silent meditation retreats in the U.S. and internationally for over 30 years. She provides online study groups and individual mentoring to mindfulness teachers-in-training and has been on the faculty of Naropa University, the Center for Mindfulness, and the Engaged Mindfulness Institute.
Janet facilitates the annual leadership retreat: Do Nothing: Learning to Live Your Life with Genuine Care for entrepreneurs and supports business leaders and teams in the integration of mindfulness into workplace settings.