- Experiential, interactive, mindfulness-based training to teach age-appropriate practices, skills, activities, and Lovingkindness practices to “all” children & teens, Pre-K through grade 12.
- Deep dive into your own understanding of mindfulness and effective training for youth which is different from teaching adults.
- Comprehensive exploration of current critical issues & questions facing educators, mental health counselors, professionals serving youth, teens and children today:
|• Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
• Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Mental Health & Resilience
• Non-violent Communication
• Resolving Conflict
- Prior completion of the MBSR or MBCT Program (or equivalent training) is required. Space is limited.
By taking the Buddhism out of the practice, Kabat-Zinn pioneered a meditative approach used all over the world to treat pain and depression. He talks about Trump, ‘McMindfulness’ and how a 10-second vision in 1979 led to a change in the world’s consciousness
Interview by Robert Booth
Sun 22 Oct 2017
The police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, showed no mercy to Jon Kabat-Zinn in May 1970. The man now considered the godfather of modern mindfulness was a graduate student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an anti-Vietnam-war protester, agitating alongside the Black Panthers and the French playwright Jean Genet.
“I got my entire face battered in,” he recalls. “They put this instrument on my wrist called the claw, which they tightened to generate enormous amounts of pain without leaving any marks. But they certainly left a lot of marks on my face. They pulled me into the back of the police station and beat the shit out of me.”
Today, at 73, Kabat-Zinn’s restful, lined face shows no scars from that protest outside a police station, when a trip canvassing support for a nationwide university strike boiled over into violence,leaving him with stitches.
He sits beneath the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Parliament Square in London taking a breather after going straight from an overnight flight out of Boston into a 90-minute talk to a gathering of international parliamentarians about how he thinks mindfulness could – to put it bluntly – change the world.
The once “very macho” anti-war activist who raged against MIT’s role in nuclear weapons research is the catalyst behind the west’s mushrooming interest in mindfulness meditation, having reimagined Buddhist contemplation practices for a secular age almost 40 years ago.
With others, he pioneered an eight-week mindfulness-based stress-reduction course at the University of Massachusetts Medical School for patients with chronic pain, harnessing the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation as taught by the Buddha, but with the Buddhism taken out. “I bent over backwards to structure it and find ways to speak about it that avoided as much as possible the risk of it being seen as Buddhist, new age, eastern mysticism or just plain flakey,” he says.
Kabat-Zinn had been meditating since 1965, but had no compunction in playing the Buddhism right down. “I got into this through the Zen door which is a very irreverent approach to Buddhism,” he says. He talks a lot about dharma, the term for the Buddha’s teaching, but he’s not a Buddhist and remarks that to insist mindfulness meditation is Buddhist is like saying gravity is English because it was identified by Sir Isaac Newton.
The UMass Stress Reduction Clinic opened its doors in 1979 and taught people with chronic back pain, victims of industrial accidents, cancer patients and sometimes paraplegics. Kabat-Zinn has defined mindfulness meditation as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”. By focusing on the breath, the idea is to cultivate attention on the body and mind as it is moment to moment, and so help with pain, both physical and emotional.
“It often results in apprehending the constantly changing nature of sensations, even highly unpleasant ones, and thus their impermanence,” he says. “It also gives rise to the direct experience that ‘the pain is not me’.” As a result, some of his patients found ways “to be in a different relationship with their pain” while others felt it diminish. The title of his 1990 bestseller about the clinic captures his approach to accepting whatever life throws at you: Full Catastrophe Living.
Now, in 2017, Kabat-Zinn vibrates with an urgent belief that meditation is the “radical act of love and sanity” we need in the age of Trump, accelerating climate change and disasters such as the Grenfell Tower fire.
He has a platform to build on. Mindfulness courses ultimately derived from his work are now being rolled out in the UK to school pupils, convicts, civil servants and even politicians. It is prescribed on the NHS in some areas to prevent recurrent depression, with 2,256 people completing eight-week courses last year. The course reduces the likelihood of relapse by almost a third, according to an analysis of nine trials. In the US, the NBA basketball champions, Golden State Warriors, are the latest poster boys for the practice after their coach, Steve Kerr, made mindfulness one of the team’s core values.
“For a very small investment, we can prevent tragic future costs and heartaches in our communities. How much will we save in preventing substance abuse? How much we will save in preventing suicides and mass shootings because children feel isolated and alone? My goal is to get us to focus more on mental health and well-being in the most important asset we have in America – well-functioning human beings.”
In a National Institutes of Health article entitled “The Role of Mindfulness in Reducing the Adverse Effects of Childhood Stress and Trauma,” we can see how childhood stress can impact our lives as well as generations to come.
Toxic stress can result from single, prolonged stressors (recurrent emotional abuse), multiple stressors that become toxic (living below the poverty line and having limited educational opportunity), and/or traumatic experiences of greater emotional intensity or severity.
OPINION By Andy Puddicombe, March 11, 2019
Hello, Bostonians. It’s that time of year, and I should imagine it’s very cold there, perhaps there’s snow on the ground, gray skies. My hope today is I can introduce you to just a little bit of blue sky, a little space in your mind. No matter what you are doing, where you are going, or whether you have just come off a commute on the T.
“Be present, be patient, be gentle, be kind . . . and everything else will take care of itself” were the words of my teacher as I left behind my life as a Buddhist monk, some 15 years ago, to set out on a very different kind of adventure, one that would eventually lead to me getting married, having children, starting the Headspace meditation app, and moving to America.
People often ask which I prefer: the simplicity of a monastic life, or the chaos of a working, family life? But life is not like that. Outside of extraordinary or unfortunate circumstances, our happiness is not typically defined by where we live, what we do, or what we possess.
But instead of looking inward — recognizing that our experience of life is defined by our perception — we chase or hold on to things that we think make us happy, while running away from anything we believe makes us unhappy. This creates a never-ending cycle of hope and fear, leaving us exhausted, stressed, and no closer to the peace of mind we seek. So it’s worth considering how to step out of that cycle.
One way is through mindfulness, which some see as just another “fad,” though, for a practice that’s been around for close to 3,000 years, it must be the longest-running fad of all time. Mindfulness is, unfortunately, often presented as some kind of self-help, quick-fix treatment for our increasingly stressful lifestyles. While there is overwhelming clinical evidence that it can be an effective way to manage stress, this still vastly undervalues its real potential.
Strip it back and mindfulness, at its core, simply means to be present, aware, undistracted, and not lost in thought. Rather than fumbling through life’s daily highs and lows in the dark, it’s the equivalent of turning on the light and seeing everything more clearly. Given that researchers at Harvard found that, on average, we are lost in thought almost 47 percent of the time, this is by no means insignificant.
To be clear, mindfulness is not something we have to obtain from somewhere. It is an innate quality — part of being human. We simply need to learn how to realize when we are lost in thought. The moment we do, we are in the present moment again. As with any skill, it takes practice, it takes some time, but the impact can be life-changing.
. . . .
Where: New York City, or via Livestream on the Web
Exploring How We Can Create a Mindful Society in Education ~ Healthcare ~ Politics ~ and More.
8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program
• Orientation: Thurs., Feb. 28, 2019
• Classes: every Thurs., March 7 – April 25, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
• All Day Retreat, Sun,, April 15, 2019
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MBSR Practicum in Miami Leading to Certification
… at UC San Diego Health, Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI):
• Orientation, Thurs., Feb. 28, 2019
• 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Thurs. (March 7 – April 25)
• 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Sat. (March 9 – April 27)
• All Day Retreat, Sunday, April 15, 2019
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MBSR Mentorship from Valerie York-Zimmerman, member of the UCSD Mentors Team, is available for MBSR Teachers-in-Training through UC San Diego’s Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI) on their pathway toward MBSR Teacher Certification.
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