Party Poopers

No newsletter since the beginning of April! Not intended, but imposed by circumstance. We were so busy teaching close to 150 students this past winter and spring, and still maintaining team time to reflect, that every day seemed like newsworthy of a newsletter. Out of sight however does not mean out of mind, and you need to know that here at The Mindfulness Centre still waters run deep. The atmosphere of deep inquiry is vibrant and pulsating with a steady stream of questions we wrestle with. The mindsphere of our community of dedicated practitioners, teachers and students is rich in enthusiasm that never tires to ask better questions. We never take anything we think knowing for granted, nor are we satisfied with less than the most stringent rigor in how we approach mindfulness and mindsight.

This is why in this great mindfulness party that has swept over Western society we can appear to be party poopers. Our teaching is set up to follow many of our students’s work over the long term. Some are in longterm psychotherapy as they combine mindfulness training with psychotherapy, others attend the year-long Mindsight Intensive for several years. This affords us teachers the privilege to follow our students deeply into the salt mines of their minds and efforts, and not surprisingly, discover that meditation is like love: shortterm infatuations and love affairs are quite different from longterm marriages. All around us we hear of the promises and successes of mindfulness that has drawn immense crowds to the party, and we are exposed to thousands of recordings and apps that purport to teach you how simple and easy the road to bliss is. We just don’t see it. We see a lot of infatuations, flashy mindfulness neon signs, intellectual fluff, lack of conceptual and practical rigor, uninspired cookie-cutter approaches to teaching that ignore the mind’s complexity, and failure to embody mindfulness as a way of life. 

We all know that junk and fast food is cheap and easy to find, but not good for your health. As teachers we see how enthusiastic most of our students are as they begin the journey in mindfulness by taking the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs. Half-way through the program we begin to see them struggle, by the end of the program they all think this has been a most rewarding, deep and transformative experience – several months later the majority of those students are not practicing anymore and mindfulness has joined the longing chorus of shelved New Year’s resolutions that are seemingly impossible to actualize as a way of life. What’s really going on?

At The Mindfulness Centre we are fascinated by this phenomenon, and it is our mission to start our work where most end up hitting a dead end. We know this challenge is based on the enormous complexity of the human mind and our limitless capacity for self-deception. Jesus knew that over 2000 years ago when he said that many are called but few are chosen, so did Buddha a few centuries earlier saying that we need to want liberation from suffering more than a drowning person wants air. We make no bones about emphasizing how incredibly difficult this journey is, how failure is the norm to be expected, and how the real work starts when we begin to fail and give up. By the way, a good and solid infatuation can lead to deep and lasting love, and we always enjoy and celebrate our students’ good intentions and enthusiasm, even though we know that sooner or later it is bound to crash. It is when the going gets tough though that the tough have to get going, and we become especially excited and intrigued when students have crashed and they reach out for help to push through the mindsight sound barrier, in order to go deeper and achieve long-lasting and permanent mindful traits.

’10 years, 10 thousand hours’ is our mantra when people ask us about what to expect over what period of time. Mindfulness meditation and the development of mindsight, the capacity to perceive your own mind and the mind of others, is the hardest thing you’ll ever take on in your life, and even though it is a marathon, the longterm rewards are remarkable, profound and deeply healing and liberating.

Good luck to all!

Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Stéphane Treyvaud. All rights reserved.

Categories: Blog.