Deepening and Sustaining Mindfulness Course

30th September 2020 – Face-to-face* and Live online

What comes after an 8-week mindfulness course? This is a common question – and the most obvious response is continued mindful practice which leads to continued insight into our own mind and experience. And the response comes, “yes but…”

This twelve-month course provides a further option – once a month for about two hours a time, we’ll get together with other people interested in furthering our understanding of being human to follow a deepening and sustaining mindfulness skills curriculum, initially developed by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.

With a new topic each month, we get the opportunity to explore, discuss and practice our mindful insight for the continued development of our wellbeing, resilience, and the simple joy for life, with these intentions:

    • Reinforce and deepen formal and informal mindfulness practice to support your ongoing experiential learning, developing our inner motivation for a sustainable mindful practice.
    • Deepen the learning of the 8-week course themes, with opportunities for broader and deeper learning.
    • Improve access to pleasant feelings to support wellbeing and flourishing.
    • Align with our values to support shifting more effectively between our pleasant and unpleasant experiences.
    • Learn to apply everything that is learned into our daily lives.

 

Like the 8-week course, sessions build on the previous ones, and of course, assume that you will practise in between sessions.  Here’s a brief outline of the twelve sessions to run on Wednesday evenings from 30th September:

    • Session 1 – Attention!  30th September 2020, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • Learn to reliably stabilise and deploy this gateway to our experience.
    • Session 2 – Being and the body, 28th October 2020, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • Our experience is far more than the neuronal firings of our thoughts, and the body provides a stable place in which to observe it.
    • Session 3 – Appreciating your life, 25th November 2020, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • Our minds are great at noticing what’s wrong, what could go wrong, and what’s unfair.  It takes practice for most of us to cultivate the skills of appreciation, joy, gratitude and contentment.
    • Session 4 – The landscape of our experience, 23rd December 2020, 7.30pm – 9.30pm (will confirm this date with attendees)
      • When we can disentangle aspects of our experience, we can more clearly see how pleasant and unpleasantness come about, and in so doing bring choice into each moment.
    • Session 5 – Reactivity to stress and difficulty, 20th January 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • Approaching and safely working with difficult unpleasant experiences to explore how distress and suffering are created and maintained.
    • Session 6 – Attitudes of attention, 17th February 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • It’s not just that we pay attention, it’s how we pay attention.  Attention with befriending and compassion is very different than the default for most of us.
    • Session 7 – Responding, not reacting – inner world, 17th March 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • In between stimulus and response, there is a gap.  In that gap, is our power to choose.  In our power to choose, lies growth and freedom.
    • Session 8 – Responding, not reacting – outer world, 21st April 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • It’s not me, it’s them!  Often it’s our interactions with others that create our challenges in life.  Let’s look at ways to respond in the outside world.
    • Session 9 – Cool head, warm heart and the art of equanimity, 19th May 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • Inner poise and balance are far more than a dampening of our irritation.  It’s an active choice and process that we can develop.
    • Session 10 – Taking care of ourselves and others, 16th June 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • Don’t jump without first weaving a parachute.  Let’s build ways into our life that support mental health and wellbeing, that make us feel more alive, and provide the capacity to deal with adversity when it comes along.
    • Session 11 – Be the change we’d like to see in the world, 14th July 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
      • Mindfulness is far more than a skill, theory or intention.  It’s a way of being, that manifests our aspirations, intentions and values.  What is the phrase… you get, what you give?
    • Session 12 – Mindfulness for life, 11th August 2021, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

 

Venue or Video conference imageCost: the whole course is £360, paid in two £180 payments or four £90 payments.  Or pay as you go for £35 per session.
Pre-requisites: This course assumes you have attended an 8-week mindfulness course, whether mine or with another teacher.
Venue: *Either Online or face-to-face as COVID-19 precautions allow at the Renewal Centre, Church Road, Swallowfield, RG7 1TJ
Book: Book on this course or contact Mark if you have a question

 

FAQs

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

If you have further questions, do get in touch using one of the options on our Contact Us page.

What about COVID19 precautions?

For face-to-face courses, the Renewal Centre has been through a risk review and implemented the precautions for safe use of the venue.  The maximum number of participants in the venue is ten to enable the two-meter distancing, with face coverings – we are restricting it to a maximum of eight for this course.  Current guidance permits the meeting of more than 6 people for training, with social distancing.  The course will run simultaneously online if you would rather attend that way, or if tighter restrictions come into force during the course.  Mark, the trainer, will wear a face shield.

Attend online or face-to-face?

We’re often asked if it’s better to attend online or face-to-face.  Ideally, we would all attend face-to-face to get the most engaging experience, but where that’s isn’t possible or appropriate, attending live via web conferencing is a good alternative, and still an improved experience over a pre-recorded course.  It is possible to mix attendance, sometimes in the venue (assuming spaces are available) and sometimes online.  This hybrid approach enables you to meet Mark and some of the attendees, but also provides the flexibility to join online as the need arises.

What if we go back into lockdown?

If we go back into COVID19 lockdown, the course will continue at the same time and dates, online.  If you don’t want to join the course this way, you’ll be welcome re-join the course on the next run, or receive a pro-rata course refund – whichever you prefer (there may be situations where the course can’t continue online, in which case a pre-rata refund will be provided).

What if there is a session I can’t make it?

If we know you can’t make a particular session, we can ensure that you still received the notes, along with the practices.  It may be possible to join the training online if you’re normally attending face-to-face.  So, don’t worry too much if you know there is one session you can’t make.  If it’s two or more sessions I can’t make?  Generally, it’s a good idea to book on the following course – but, every situation is different, so do contact Mark to discuss; for example, it may be possible to book a number of one-to-one sessions to cover the content you won’t be able to make.

Can I pay by…?

You’re welcome to pay by bank transfer, credit card, cheque, or even cash, we ask for your preference on the booking form.

Can I reserve a place on the course?

You’re welcome to reserve a place with a deposit of £40, which will hold the place until 7 days before the course.  So we ask for full payment at least 7 days prior to the course.

What is the refund policy?

A full refund is available if you choose to cancel your attendance 48 or more hours before the first training session, and an 80% refund right up until the first session.  A full refund is also available if you attend the first training session and decide that the course is not for you – just let us know within 24 hours of the first session.

What size is the class?

The course is run with a small group, a maximum of 12 people, and a minimum of 5.

Is the course suitable for those with depression or other mental illness?

Although mindfulness practises can be beneficial for those who have suffered from depression or other mental illness, the course is unlikely to be suitable if you are currently suffering from clinical depression, unless under explicit guidance of a medical professional.  Partly, this is due to the nature of mindfulness practise which invites us to focus on and work directly with our thoughts and feelings – this can be very helpful for those who have suffered from depression but may not be productive in the middle of a depressive episode.  Do please speak with Mark or your medical professional if you’re unsure about suitability.

What are the computer / technical requirements to attend?

The guided meditation practises are provided as mp3 audio files, which can be played on any computer or smartphone.  The files are provided for download using a web link, and can also be copied to a memory stick, or even a CD provided for participants if preferred.

Do I need to be able to sit in the lotus position or any other special position?

No!  There is no special sitting position or physical requirements.  For sitting meditation, the suggestion is to sit upright, with your upper body self-supporting (for example, away from the back of a chair).  But if that isn’t practical, then you can sit however you choose.

Is it suitable if I have a physical disability?

Yes!  Although there are recommended postures for practice (see ‘Do I need to be able to sit in the lotus position’, above), they are not required.  There are also simple movement practices – again which can be adjusted or excluded to support anybody who wishes to learn to become more mindful.

Ethical Framework
I believe it is important to teach mindfulness both competently and ethically.  Although mindfulness is not formally regulated in the UK, recommendations for ethical practice are provided by the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teachers (the UK Network) for training, practice and supervision, and I follow these guidelines, for example:

  • Formal and continual training – my training followed the UK Network guidance for training teachers, and I teach according to the guidelines expected for mindfulness teachers.  This is the same approach recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE; the UK body providing evidence-based information for health and care professionals, including the NHS).
  • Under normal circumstances, we will speak on the phone before you start a course to ensure that the course is suitable.
  • Confidentiality is key in all of my courses.
  • I have regular supervision from an external qualified mindfulness supervisor.

A more detailed description of the guidelines is provided by the UK Network here: Mindfulness-based teachers Good Practice Guide.

It has been one of, if not the best, investments in my life.
-Chris

Click here to book or contact Mark if you have a question