Last week I did a week's intensive MBSR teacher training course. It was completely amazing, as well as intense and emotional and tiring. The course leader was superb and she took us through a whole series of guided meditations and mindful exercises, some of them incredibly simple, but just another way into being mindful in one's daily life. And the week away from the Ph.D did me the power of good, so that I felt really refreshed coming back to it this week, and the final bits of writing have gone really well. So from September I will be teaching MBSR courses in Yorkshire and from next year running retreats as well for people who want an extended practice of mindfulness. I can't wait!
Coming back to the course, I think the most interesting bits for me personally were mindful movements, which were yoga type exercises and watching the reaction in the mind to what was happening in the body. There's a lovely question when you get to the point of feeling you can't continue holding a pose, is it the body or the mind that's saying no? I find that a really useful question because often it is the mind, the body can cope with more than the mind thinks. It reminds me of the analogy the Buddha used of 2 arrows. If one is hit by an arrow it hurts, but if one is hit in the same place by a second arrow the hurt is increased tenfold. The first arrow is pain, which exists as part of the human condition, but the second arrow is suffering, which is the attachments we place on top of the pain, the comments or judgements we make. As Thay says, pain exists but suffering is optional.