The Art of Zen Eating

Enrollment is open! For our January 5th-10th 2016 five nights Silent Mindfulness Meditation Retreat Learn more and register here. Jan 5th-10th.

Sept 30th  Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) A few spots still open for the evening class! Classes will begin in Orange County at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine in October with Hugh O’Neill -8 consecutive Wednesday  afternoons (SOLD OUT) and evenings starting Sept 30th. Registration is open! Visit here to sign up now.
Oct 11th please join us at Insight Community of the Desert for our Sunday sitting group in our new home! I’ll be teaching on Mindfulness of the Body 4:30-6:00 PM 1111 E Tahquitz Canyon Way Palm Springs, CA. For other events at ICD visit here.
NEW! Dec 3rd-6th Mindful Eating Healthy Living Essentials, a 3 night retreat style workshop at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center. If you want to learn to have a friendlier, more peaceful, relationship with food, your body and your weight, please join us! We’ll practice mindfulness meditations together in a beautiful Zen monastery, share delicious vegetarian food, and explore, using compassion and kindness, ways to create healthy changes from within. Delicious meals prepared by Zen priest Jikan Quitario (see message below ). You really can have a different holiday season this year!
 
NEW! February 7-12  2016 5 Night Silent Mindfulness Retreat Delray Beach Florida- Co sponsored by the UMASS Center for Mindfulness
Taught by Beth Mulligan and Jon Aaron Registration is open here!
This retreat is open to anyone interested in deepening and nourishing their practice and fulfills the prerequisite for Oasis MBSR teacher training.
Message from Mindful-Way Founder Beth Mulligan
A monk asked Jôshû, “I have just entered this monastery. I beg you, Master, please give me instructions.” Jôshû asked, “Have you eaten your rice gruel yet?” The monk answered, “Yes, I have.” Jôshû said, “Then wash your bowls.”
This classic Zen story hangs above the stove in the house at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center where I am currently in residential training through the fall. I read it several times a day and it makes me smile every time. I smile because it reminds me that at least sometimes, life can be that simple; the key is to remember. Remember what? Remember to consider; what is the most important thing I can do right now?The more often we do this, the more likely  we are to have moments add up to a life of meaning. Living at a monastery is a great place to be reminded frequently, to be present, and do the most important thing in the moment.
Another great benefit to living here for the fall, is that I have three fabulous healthy meals prepared for me every day, by Zen priest, and vegetarian chef, Jikan Quitario.  Jikan comes to us from Great Vow Monastery in Oregon, where she served at Tenzo (chef) for several years and where she trained with Zen Teacher, physician and author of the book Mindful Eating, Jan Chozen Bays Roshi. (See below). Jikan says, “My main place of practice these days is in the kitchen. I love preparing food for people who are practicing and doing this important inner work”. I want to invite you to join us for our three night Mindful Eating Retreat, with food prepared by Jikan! She will be supporting us on this important journey to heal our relationship with food and our bodies. Sydney (my co-teacher) says it’s all about her herb salad dressing, for after a bowl of her carrot, beet ginger soup, I felt vibrantly alive and well! Perhaps the flavor has something to do with the way she blesses the food with a Zen Chant before it is served. Eating is a privilege and pleasure, but my experience as a health care practitioner and mindfulness teacher is, it is also a source of great strain and suffering for many people. The good news is, mindfulness can bring great peace and health to this complex area of our lives. Please come and  explore this with us in the beautiful Zen temple and be supported by the residents and the teacher Zen Master Charles Tenshin Fletcher.

Or please try out one of our many retreats or classes .Whatever path you choose make sure to include some room for kindness.

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The gift of time

At a recent trip to the beach I had the good fortune to watch the interaction of many families enjoying themselves ,each other and the ocean. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do at the beach. As I returned from a walk I saw a father holding his young son, sitting right on the sand right near the waters’ edge.  The little boy, maybe about one year old,was turned facing his Dad, snugly fit against him, his head draped over his father’s shoulder. Something about them captured my attention, it was the father’s quality of stillness and un-distractedness. I had the sense that perhaps his son had been frightened or upset and that he had all the time in the world to hold him until he felt OK again.

This was my story anyway. I felt myself become still inside just watching them, the way I do when I see a deer in the forest. After a while the little boy began to squirm and then he moved out of his dad’s arms and started to explore around him. Then he went back, then he went to explore. What I noticed was that the dad’s stillness and time, gave the child what he needed to feel safe and ready to play in the world (right around his Dad anyway) again. I wondered what it be like to give myself this kind of time to calm down when I am upset. What if all of us grown ups could do that?

Even with my mindfulness practices, I think I am still in quite a hurry to calm down. I imagined myself offering myself that kind of patient attention, in stillness. And I have been making this my practice. Why be in such a hurry? it doesn’t help anything.

I invite you to practice slowing down with yourself especially when you are upset. But why not do it when you are happy too!

This is What I am Doing Right Now

Since May, when my dearest and oldest friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, life has continued to bring sudden challenges, which in one moment change everything I thought I knew about “what’s going to happen next.” The way this colored her youngest son’s graduation from Berkeley and the birth of her 1st grandchild, Micah was described in my last post, “you can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to surf.

The truth is; while we were sad and angry and frightened – there was a heightened sense of the importance of our love for one and another and for all beings. There was a palpable aliveness and a preciousness we might have  not have noticed other wise. We celebrated Stephen’s graduation in a park with a beautifully prepared picnic by Joey’s niece. She thought of every detail. We spent hours in that park talking about the everything and eating and savoring , dozing and laughing.

Since the the summer has brought raging wild fires to our area, flash floods and the death of two dear friends. The fires first-

SHortly

Why Mindfulness teachers go on retreat

Why go on Retreat?

Great question! As a certified MBSR teacher and teacher trainer – for the UMASS CFM and a mentor for the UCSD MBTI, I get asked this question more and more. If you look at the prerequisites for teaching MBSR or other MBI’s all over the world, the recommendation for personal retreat practice is consistent. To answer the question, I may start by quoting the originator of MBSR; Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn (from his article “Some Reflections on the Origins of MBSR, Skillful Means, and the Trouble with Maps”.) read the whole article here. http://umassmed.edu/uploadedFiles/cfm2/training/JKZ_paper_Contemporary_Buddhism_2011.pdf

“ I personally consider the sitting of relatively long…teacher led, silent retreats to be an absolute necessity in the developing of one’s own meditation practice, understanding and effectiveness as a teacher… it is a laboratory requirement.”

I might also refer them to these websites:

http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/training/detailed-training-information/meditation-retreats/

http://www.spiritrock.org/how-a-retreat-works

But really I have to answer this question for myself, just as the heart of Mindfulness Based Interventions are an invitation to access one’s own wisdom, I need to turn with in to answer it. In order to ask people to face the difficulties of their lives, chronic pain, sick family members, financial stressors, “The Full Catastrophe”, I need to know and have the confidence that I can do this myself. With the help of a good teachers in a supportive environment. I have found this capacity on the many retreats that I have attended. Mindfulness and the teaching of mindfulness are “inside out” learning and teaching. So while we hold the written curriculum with great integrity, and educate ourselves about the research, and understand the foundations of experiential learning, ultimately we have to know the interior landscape of our own hearts, minds and bodies. This is where the real curriculum lies. If we are asking people to go inside to find their own wisdom, to face pain and loss with openness, curiosity and kindness (a very tall order) then it is important that we do this ourselves. Not just to be good teachers of what has been described as “Intensive training in meditative practices”, but to really know and live our lives fully. For thousands of years people have found the silent container of retreat, held by strong teachers – who have sat on their own cushions for many hours, to be an effective way to see into the changing nature of things and to build resilience to face whatever comes in our lives with some degree of equanimity. In the age of technology and heightened busyness and distraction, it feels more important than ever, to find this silence and stillness where we can study the real curriculum that lies within. If this has inspired you, I hope you’ll join us in January 2015 at a 5 night silent retreat designed with you in mind.

We’ll meet at the beautiful historic Joshua Tree Retreat Center January 13-18th.

Please go to www.mindful-way.com/retreats for more information.

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Seeds of mindfulness bloom even in the drought

 

 

 
It’s one year since the fires roared through Yokoji Zen Mountain Center and the forest where we live. Thanks to everyone who helped us and our friends at Yokoji and a special thanks to the Fire Fighters. Read this stirring reflection by Charles Tenshin Fletcher here; Practicing through Fire and Floods and consider supporting them in staying open to offer their valuable trainings with a donation.
Mindfulness Programs Summer- Fall 2014                
We have  many Mindfulness  programs, retreats, and workshops coming up throughout Southern California. We’ve offered them in a variety of formats and locations to meet your needs and interests. We also have more workplace programs so please inquire about a specialized program for your business!
August 23rd The Circle of Compassion a Daylong Retreat in Rancho Mirage, CA      9:30-3:30 Offered through Insight Community of the Desert
“If your compassion does not include yourself it is incomplete.”   Jack Kornfield 
Developing an active self compassion practice has been shown in research to have many physical and psychological benefits. But it can also deeply enhance your meditation practice. We flourish with encouragement and wilt under the lash of criticism. In this daylong workshop you’ll learn some well tested practices to enhance your spiritual journey and perhaps make your world (and your mind and heart) a friendlier place. Based on the work Of Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. 
I am trained in their Mindful Self Compassion curriculum and will be teaching the eight week series this fall at Insight LA with Dr. Christiane Wolf. Can’t do eight weeks? Many of the core practices will be taught on August 23rd.
Save the Dates! Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes will begin in Costa Mesa, Ca- Tuesdays, October 7th  and Huntington Beach, Ca Mondays, October 13th offered through the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine. Registration will open early September.
Even during the drought –seeds bloom.
Recently Hugh O’Neill co-director of Mindful-Way finished teaching MBSR to parents of disabled children as part of a study at Loma Linda University. This was the third round of classes for this population so in need. As you would imagine, they soak up the practices and start reporting major changes right away. Every Wednesday night I would eagerly wait for Hugh’s stories about the class. In week two a young father said, “After the first class, my son ( 5 year old autistic child with no language skills), brought me my work shirt as I was getting him ready for school.  I think he may have done this before but I didn’t really notice. What I realized was he was saying, ”You get ready to go too Dad”, in his own way. And now I see all kinds of ways he’s ‘talking’ to me.”  Many of the other parents nodded and each week they noticed more and more things about their children that weren’t their disability.This is one of  the foundations of MBSR; “There is a lot more right with you than there is wrong with you.” Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
When Hugh told me this story I was standing at the small lake at the Omega Institute in New York where I was part of an MBSR training. There- at the same time Jon Kabat-Zinn was teaching a 7 day workshop for health professionals. I was so moved by the realization that an idea Jon had 37 years ago led directly to a little boy in Southern California being understood by his Dad. May all our good intentions bear such delicious fruit. How grateful we are to be part of this work.
Thanks to all 55 participants at our July mindfulness retreat at Joshua Tree! It was a wonderful transformational experience and we hope you’ll join us next time.

Other events:
September 20th  Lama Surya Das comes to Insight LA  10:00 AM-4:00 PM
“Awakening Together and the 6 Building Blocks to Creating your Spiritual Life
ABOUT LAMA SURYA DAS: Lama Surya Das is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars, one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, and a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism. The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him “The Western Lama.”
Book of the Month:  Buddha Standard Time

 “Lama Surya Das offers a wise and sane way to navigate these times. This pragmatic book will be illuminating and helpful for anyone wishing to find the timeless amidst the rush of time.” (Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism and A Heart Full of Peace)
Mindful- Way Meditations with Beth Mulligan are now available on
itunes, order and download and if you’ve benefited, please write a review!  
Workplace/Leadership Mindful-Way Programs
 
 Design a personal Mindfulness program for your workplace (read about our workplace programs here)with Hugh O’Neill by calling 951-750-9020 or email hugh@mindful-way.com 
 

Mindfulness App:

To have a regular reminder to be mindful from the very device that might keep you from it sometimes; check out the Mindfulness App watch this.

To always be up to date in this emerging field, subscribe to Mindfulness Research Monthly here and read past issues.

Check out our  : The Mindful Channel on You Tube To Learn more about Mindfulness Meditation  

To keep your practice strong, find a sitting group near you, here are some suggestions:                                   

In the Palm Springs area:
Insight Community of the Desert where you can sit with the guidance of excellent teachers including Larry Yang, Cheryl Slean, Jim Gross and Beth Mulligan every Sunday from 4:30–6:00 PM by donation only. I’ll be teaching July 13th!
  In Los Angeles there are many opportunities at Insight LA it really helps to strengthen one’s practice to sit with a group. Trudy Goodman and friends have created a real treasure trove of practice opportunities as well as bringing other world renowned teachers (Like Trudy) to Southern California; for example: UCLA has weekly sitting groups also through the Mindful Awareness Research center known as M.A.R.C.
  Yokoji Zen Mountain Center is open to support your practice. Join the Sunday program every and any week. They have literally weathered the storm and practice there is as strong and steady as the mountain. Thank you Yokoji teachers and residents!!  Please take advantage of this precious resource. www.zmc.org
UCSD Center for Mindfulness has Mindfulness programs for teens, adults, professional trainings.
Also in the San Diego Area (Encinitas) visit 2nd Street Sangha with multiple offerings and classes led by the wonderful Diana Shimkus!
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has classes, workshops and Retreats throughout the year-including on line training. Check out this page for the calendar!
Does your Mindfulness practice need a boost? Or do you need to get started?
My friend Cayce Howe has just the thing for you!
Cayce asks: “Have you wanted to try meditation but never thought you could do it? Or have you tried it, but don’t practice regularly to reap its valuable benefits? If so, you are not alone. When I began I had doubts and struggled to create a consistent practice. Luckily, with close to 25 years practicing meditation, I have been able to study with amazing, compassionate teachers, that have shared invaluable tools for cultivating an inspired meditation practice. I want to share what I’ve learned with you”. 30 Daily Emails include: Short, inspired reading on topics of mindfulness- Quote of the Day-  Embedded 5-7 minute Guided Meditations These 30 Days are specifically designed to help you experience the true value of meditation and stick with it. Sign up here.
Did you know that there is a wonderful magazine called Mindful? 
In The August Issue Neuroscientist Richie Davidson talks about training the brain. With both on -line a print versions. They will donate 10% of your subscription to the Mindfulness Center of your choice (see their list at the site) Learn more here
 
   If you are interested in learning more about and experiencing the benefits of Mindfulness practices, take the eight week MBSR class with us at  in Rancho Mirage, CA, Redlands, Ca and Orange County. If you  live  in the Los Angeles, Pasadena or Loz Feliz  area, check out Insight LA. You can also take classes in West LA through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) which offers great on-line classes also! In San Diego, look into UCSD’s Center for Mindfulness , in Riverside County and Orange County check out our programs at Mindful-Way Stress Reduction and the UC Irvine Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine In Palm Springs go to: Insight Community of the Desert. For national and international resources go to: The Center for Mindfulness at U Mass Worcester  You can also take classes on line through www.emindful.com  ; I recommend A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein
Follow our blog here and find out what we are up to on facebook
 
Also available from Mindful-Way two short free meditations you can download to your ipod or phone. A great way to de-stress quickly whenever you need to. You can find them on our website on the free audio page.
 
  Please visit us on the web for updates click here

Thanks for all your support and participation. One breath at a time, one moment at a time,

Beth Mulligan, PA-C
 
 
 
 
 
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention in a non-judgmental way to what is inside us and around us, moment to moment.
 
When we live mindfully, we are actually
remembering a natural way of being in the world,a way in which we are more present and not missing our lives lost in thought.
 
I encourage you to learn about Mindfulness in a class or book to enhance your joy in living and improve your health.

Home Page
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Mindfulness; A Path to Freedom

 

Mindfulness Programs Summer 2014                
We have  many Mindfulness  programs, retreats, and workshops coming up throughout Southern California. We’ve offered them in a variety of formats and locations to meet your needs and interests. We also have more workplace programs so please inquire about a specialized program for your business! To deepen or kick start your practice; please consider our annual residential  Mindfulness and Yoga retreat in July 18-20 (almost full!) Here are our current programs (and those of our colleagues) in chronological order:

July 7th -August 25th 1:00-3:30 UC Irvine, Costa Mesa location;New Class! Mindful Self Compassion:an eight week program designed to bring greater ease and well being to your life; offering skills to help you make changes with kindness instead of self criticism  What is Mindful Self Compassion? Read here…

Register here  Taught by Beth Mulligan and Adrienne Beattie, LMFT

July 7th- August 25th 6:30-8:30 PM Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) comes to Huntington Beach, CA for the first time!

With Beth Mulligan, PA-C and Nicole Wakim, M.D. a Board Certified Integrative Pain management physician enroll here now-space is limited.
July 8th- August 26th  MBSR Costa Mesa, California daytime and evening classes with Hugh O’Neill  enroll now these fill up quickly!
All classes offered through the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine

July 18-20 Three Day Residential Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga RetreatSave the date or enroll now, only a few spaces left!

Every year one of our greatest joys is to provide this 3 day residential retreat. Join us at the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright designed Joshua Tree Retreat Center. This retreat is a wonderful way to support, deepen and inspire your practice in a beautiful setting with other people who are  like minded and diverse! We’ll be joined again by Insight LA’S master Mindful Yoga teacher Celeste Brook Young, and musician Noelle Pederson from Resounding Joy Inc. Here are some photos from last year.
 July 15th Joseph Goldstein comes to Insight LA. If you’re interested in leaning about Mindfulness from one of our contemporary masters, you really don’t want to miss this event. Learn more and register here.
Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.Please see below for information about his latest book: Mindfulness
Message from Mindful-Way founder Beth Mulligan   

The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor Frankl

This week, in the United States, we’ll celebrate “Independence Day”.  As we reflect on this as U.S. citizens, (if you are one), we may appreciate for a moment or a day, certain very basic freedoms we enjoy, that we might otherwise take for granted. We might also connect with our brothers and sisters around the world who do not have the kinds of freedom we have. Regardless of where we live, regardless of our country’s policies, there are basic things that we share as members of the human race. We all suffer in a variety of ways, and we all have the potential for freedom from suffering. This is what concentration camp survivor and physician Viktor Frankl is talking about in the above quote. This is what the Buddha taught his many students. If we are willing to look below the external causes of suffering, to look at the way we hold our difficulties, the way we think and feel about them, there in lays the possibility of the relief of suffering. Having a regular Mindfulness meditation practice fosters this kind of awareness and helps us to hold our difficulties in a larger container, one with open curiosity, kindness and compassion. It also reminds us that we are more than whatever challenges we currently face. I am so grateful to my many teachers and friends who support my practice and remind me continuously that I always have the choice to be free and whole. Please allow us to support you on your journey or check out the many mindfulness and meditation resources we have listed this month .
Mindful- Way Meditations with Beth Mulligan are now available on itunes, order and download and if you’ve benefited, please write a review!  
Workplace/Leadership Mindful-Way Programs
 
 Design a personal Mindfulness program for your workplace (read about our workplace programs here)with Hugh O’Neill by calling 951-750-9020 or email hugh@mindful-way.com 
 

Mindfulness App:

To have a regular reminder to be mindful from the very device that might keep you from it sometimes; check out the Mindfulness App watch this.

To always be up to date in this emerging field, subscribe to Mindfulness Research Monthly here and read past issues.

Check out our  : The Mindful Channel on You Tube To Learn more about Mindfulness Meditation  
Book of the Month: Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein

The mind contains the seeds of its own awakening-seeds that we can cultivate to bring forth the fruits of a life lived consciously. With Mindfulness, Joseph Goldstein shares the wisdom of his four decades of teaching and practice in a book that will serve as a lifelong companion for anyone committed to mindful living and the realization of inner freedom.Goldstein’s source teaching is the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha’s legendary discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness that became the basis for the many types of Vipassana (or insight meditation) found today.
Talk of the Month: Joseph Goldstein talks about liberation through non-clinging- happy non clinging day! Listen here
To keep your practice strong, find a sitting group near you, here are some suggestions:                                   
In the Palm Springs area:
Insight Community of the Desert where you can sit with the guidance of excellent teachers including Larry Yang, Cheryl Slean, Jim Gross and Beth Mulligan every Sunday from 4:30–6:00 PM by donation only. I’ll be teaching July 13th!
  In Los Angeles there are many opportunities at Insight LA it really helps to strengthen one’s practice to sit with a group. Trudy Goodman and friends have created a real treasure trove of practice opportunities as well as bringing other world renowned teachers (Like Trudy) to Southern California; for example: UCLA has weekly sitting groups also through the Mindful Awareness Research center known as M.A.R.C.
  Yokoji Zen Mountain Center is open to support your practice. Join the Sunday program every and any week. They have literally weathered the storm and practice there is as strong and steady as the mountain. Thank you Yokoji teachers and residents!!  Please take advantage of this precious resource. www.zmc.org
UCSD Center for Mindfulness has Mindfulness programs for teens, adults, professional trainings.
Also in the San Diego Area (Encinitas) visit 2nd Street Sangha with multiple offerings and classes led by the wonderful Diana Shimkus!
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has classes, workshops and Retreats throughout the year-including on line training. Check out this page for the calendar!
Does your Mindfulness practice need a boost? Or do you need to get started?
My friend Cayce Howe has just the thing for you!
Cayce asks: “Have you wanted to try meditation but never thought you could do it? Or have you tried it, but don’t practice regularly to reap its valuable benefits? If so, you are not alone. When I began I had doubts and struggled to create a consistent practice. Luckily, with close to 25 years practicing meditation, I have been able to study with amazing, compassionate teachers, that have shared invaluable tools for cultivating an inspired meditation practice. I want to share what I’ve learned with you”. 30 Daily Emails include: Short, inspired reading on topics of mindfulness- Quote of the Day-  Embedded 5-7 minute Guided Meditations These 30 Days are specifically designed to help you experience the true value of meditation and stick with it. Sign up here.
Did you know that there is a wonderful magazine called Mindful? 
In The August Issue Neuroscientist Richie Davidson talks about training the brain. With both on -line a print versions. They will donate 10% of your subscription to the Mindfulness Center of your choice (see their list at the site) Learn more here
 
   If you are interested in learning more about and experiencing the benefits of Mindfulness practices, take the eight week MBSR class with us at  in Rancho Mirage, CA, Redlands, Ca and Orange County. If you  live  in the Los Angeles, Pasadena or Loz Feliz  area, check out Insight LA. You can also take classes in West LA through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) which offers great on-line classes also! In San Diego, look into UCSD’s Center for Mindfulness , in Riverside County and Orange County check out our programs at Mindful-Way Stress Reduction and the UC Irvine Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine In Palm Springs go to: Insight Community of the Desert. For national and international resources go to: The Center for Mindfulness at U Mass Worcester  You can also take classes on line through www.emindful.com  ; I recommend A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein
Follow our blog hereand find out what we are up to on facebook
 
Also available from Mindful-Way two short free meditations you can download to your ipod or phone. A great way to de-stress quickly whenever you need to. You can find them on our website on the free audio page.
 
  Please visit us on the web for updates click here

Thanks for all your support and participation. One breath at a time, one moment at a time,

Beth Mulligan, PA-C
 
 
 
 
 
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention in a non-judgmental way to what is inside us and around us, moment to moment.
 
When we live mindfully, we are actually
remembering a natural way of being in the world,a way in which we are more present and not missing our lives lost in thought.
 
I encourage you to learn about Mindfulness in a class or book to enhance your joy in living and improve your health.

Home Page
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

This message was sent to mindfulway7@aol.com from:
Beth Mulligan | beth@mindful-way.com | Mindful Way Stress Reduction | 47055 Wonderland Dr | Banning, CA 92220
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Does mindfulness work?

Does it work?

 

Not infrequently, when I am teaching a mindfulness based stress reduction class, someone will say, “I tried it”, (meaning mindfulness of breathing perhaps ),” during a stressful moment, and it worked”. Or “I tried it to go to sleep” (or to relieve my pain) “and it didn’t work.” At this point I may ask, “what does that mean to you- that it worked or didn’t work?’ The answer often lies in whether a symptom or a feeling went away. It also suggests that a particular outcome was desired, and there may have been a certain striving for that out come. Meanwhile other things that may have been occurring go unnoticed.

 

As we continue to look at this working/not working idea together, I may point out how tremendously significant it was that in the middle of the family dinner, when their stomach cramped up-as it usually does during such events, that they excused themselves , went into another room and tried the body scan meditation. Or that instead of lying awake thinking about how terrible tomorrow is going to be with out sleep, they tried bringing attention to the body in the bed and the breath. Simply the act of trying something different is itself the healing act. The outcome may be more subtle. Or is the outcome the choice to try it in the first place? When I suggest that making a different choice is itself revolutionary, I am often met with an expression of confusion mixed with a pleased sort of delight.

 

We’re used to thinking very linearly when it comes to our difficulties. The medical model functions in part on the basic idea that a symptom is a sign that something is broken and needs to be fixed (rather than understood at its source). As I’ve heard people say the philosophy is, “for every ill there is a pill.”

 

I had a vivid reminder of the subtle mystery of healing that may be going on when we practice mediation, myself recently. I had been feeling ill for about three weeks, trying different modalities, and not really seeing much improvement. The opportunity to attend a short retreat at my local Zen Center –Yokoji Zen Mountain Center (where I have practiced for years), arose, so I packed a bag, rolled up my sleeping bag and drove up the mountain.  

 

During retreat we sit in three thirty minute blocks broken by ten minute periods of walking meditation. The first period, I primarily focused on how rotten I was feeling and my mind kept wandering to problem solving. : “maybe it’s this, maybe I should try that. Maybe a different acupuncturist. Maybe try eliminating something from my diet…” On and on with occasional return trips to the present moment of just sitting. I then moved to judging. “I’m not meditating, I’m just resisting how I feel, ‘what we resist persists’ didn’t I hear that some where? I should not resist. Just allow…” Thankfully the bell rang about then and I engaged in the walking meditation.

 

The next period, I abandoned my body entirely and moved up into my head. A fevered period of intense planning ensued. Before I knew it the bell went off. I did get an insight this time; I saw that often my discomfort in the present – whether it’s physical or emotional, will send me off into the imaginary future, seeking refuge in something that may never happen, but seems like it will be better. Still, was this meditation? I think not!

 

I stood up to walk before the next period, and looked out the window at the trees outside the meditation hall. I saw the large granite boulders, and heard the wind, and the blue jay’s squawking. Suddenly this thought arose as clear as the meditation bell ; “God I love this.” I laughed out loud. All the while I was suffering, thinking, planning, resisting and judging, something in me was practicing. A deeper part was actually “just sitting”, “Just seeing, hearing, feeling, breathing.” And something in me was settling, letting go, and simply being.

 

Perhaps underneath the current maladies, the layer of worry and discomfort, was the years and years of coming to the Zen center or to my cushion at home. Something that knows that in the flash of a single moment “I love this” is going on. Something in me is just sitting, even when on one level it seems that I’m doing it so badly and it’s “not working”.

 

The following periods were a bit quieter inside. The work periods, chopping vegetables and washing dishes with monks in silence were sweet. Walking down the road and resting on a break was peaceful. Listening to the dharma talk by Tenshin Roshi before we left on Sunday was engaging and enlightening. And for reasons unknown to me, later, when I drove down the dirt road towards home, I felt entirely well.

Please join us for our annual mindfulness meditation and yoga retreat in Southern California. this July 18-20