Mindfulness Africa

Mindfulness Africa

 

 

 “Mindfulness entails being present in the moment, which is the ground out of which tranquillity arises. One comes face-to-face with the mind and learns about it at a deep level. This leads to inner understanding and penetrating insight into the illusion we have created about ourselves and the nature of life.” Rob Nairn

 

Mindfulness Based Living: 8 Week Course

 

The next Mindfulness Based Living Course is set for February 2018. Bookings will open in November this year, if you would like to give your name to the office to be notified when bookings open please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

  • Week 1 – Starting where we are, recognising the distracted mind           
  • Week 2 – The body as a place to stay present                        
  • Week 3 – Introducing mindfulness support
  • Week 4- Working with distraction 
  • Week 5 – Exploring the undercurrent
  • Week 6 – Attitude of the observer                               
  • Week 7 – Self acceptance                         
  • Week 8 – A mindfulness based life

                                                                 

 

  • Mindfulness Based Living - 8 Week Course

This course is a comprehensive training in mindfulness that is suitable for beginners and for those who already have a mindfulness practice. Participants will be taught progressive skills in mindfulness through presentations, guided practice and tutorial sessions. A strong emphasis is placed on experiential learning, and for this reason there are home assignments between weekends that include regular mindfulness practice, daily life exercises and journal writing. Each module will take place over a weekend.

 

  •  Becoming Present

Mindfulness is defined as paying attention to our moment by moment experience in a way that is non-judgmental and kind. In the beginning we notice how our attention is like a butterfly flitting from one thought to the next. So we start by slowing down and settling our mind through regulating breathing and counting. We then introduce practices that ground us allowing our attention to drop out of the battlefield of thoughts in our heads into the sensory awareness of the body. We then learn to rest in the present moment getting used to disengaging from our habits of compulsive doing. And then, when we notice our attention drifting away into thinking, we learn to work with the mindfulness supports of sound and breath.

We are initiated into this graduated process through the core practices of settling, grounding, resting and mindfulness support. We also practice bodyscan and walking meditation and simple practices for integrating mindfulness into daily life. Throughout each of the modules we work on developing kindness as a basis for self compassion.

 

  •  Working with Distraction

Having had the opportunity to practice settling grounding, resting and support on a daily basis, we are now in a position to become more familiar with how the mind moves and the unique pathways of habit it follows. We becoming increasingly familiar with the changing dynamic of mindfulness and distraction, and begin to see how distraction reveals an inner world of habitual patterning that ensnares our energies. We also begin to recognise attitudes of preference – like and dislike – and see how they narrow and contract our awareness, imprisoning us.

At this point we introduce the model of ‘undercurrent and observer’ as a way of mapping out the inner landscape of our mind and identifying where change can take place. The ‘undercurrent’ refers to the continuous stream of thoughts, emotions, memories and images that stream through our mind moment by moment, whether we like it or not. The ‘observer’ refers to that part our mind that sees the undercurrent and has the capacity to reflect on itself. As our practice deepens we learn to step out of the undercurrent and simply leave it alone.   Instead, we focus on working with the attitudes of preference in our observer as this is where genuine change can take place.

We also introduce mindful movement as a way of integrating mindfulness into how we move through our lives, and the three minute breathing space as a way of breaking the reactive cycles we get caught in during everyday life.

 

  •  Self Acceptance

Throughout our training we are working in two areas – redirecting our attention to the present moment by using a mindfulness support, while at the same time learning to accept the diverse range of our inner experience. Part of mindfulness practice is learning to work with strong emotions that arise and developing the capacity to ‘hold’ difficult experiences within body and mind. The model of undercurrent and observer reveals how working on attitude is all important, and so, through training in acceptance we learn to acknowledge and come to terms with difficult thoughts and emotions by paying them close attention with a kind and inclusive attitude. This leads to a gradual dis-identification with the contents of our experience and shift in perspective in which we come to see that we are not our thoughts but the awareness that witnesses them.

We use the RAIN method (recognise, accept, investigate and non-identify) as a way of progressively training in acceptance, and practice loving kindness as a way of bringing warmth to our inner environment. We also introduce a more in depth version of the three minute breathing space in which we learn to relate with a kindly and accepting attitude to difficult thoughts, feelings and emotions that arise in our daily life.

 

  •  Deepening Practice Retreat

At the end of the course we recommend that participants attend a 10 day retreat at Tara Rokpa Centre in Groot Marico to deepen their mindfulness practice, and that they attend similar retreats on an annual basis.

 

 

Kerri Martinaglia runs The Waterfall Retreat and Environmental Centre. She is a student of the late Choje Akong Rinpoche and has trained within the Karma Kagyu Lineage and participated in several meditation retreats over the past 14 years.

She is the Mindfulness Africa Coordinator for KwaZulu Natal.