As opposed to person-to-person psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation is primarily a solo exploration. Because in both cases we deal with the same mind, brain, and body, healing principles of psychotherapy have to be adapted to the solo journey of meditation. This course provides an advanced, practical, and experiential mindfulness meditation training conceived to hold participants as close to direct experience as possible.

Having access to at least four awareness modes (fields of consciousness, nihility, emptiness, and return), we begin by working within our naturally available awareness mode, the field of consciousness.

  1. The field of consciousness
    • Foundational mindfulness meditation techniques: We begin by making sure we have a solid grasp on the foundational techniques of mindfulness meditation: Alignment, intention, attention versus peripheral awareness, conduit and constructor, breathing, decontraction, COAL (curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love).
    • Polyvagal regulation: Instead of conceptualizing our experience as pleasurable or painful, which activates our danger systems, we learn to tune into and track the processes, by which via the autonomic nervous system our brain monitors what is going on both in- and outside the organism (called neuroception). This allows us to describe our experiences in a more neutral, objective and equanimous way in terms of the three polyvagal states of regulatory activation (ventral vagal, sympathetic, dorsal vagal).
    • Resourcing: The fundamental challenge we face in our attempt at living a balanced, health-promoting, and stress-reducing life is to effectively deal with the organism’s inevitable energy flow fluctuations from chaos and rigidity to the Goldilocks zone of integration. Nothing can be achieved if we are imprisoned in states of high activation or paralysis. In order to be able to consciously contribute to our organism’s regulatory processes that try to move it towards integration and health, we must know how to create a sense of safety by accessing the following resources:
      • Ventral vagal access: Learning to shape polyvagal regulation by not giving in to habitual sympathetic and dorsal vagal survival responses and instead practice patterns of ventral vagal connection, integrate it by consolidating awareness and access to the resilient pathways of the ventral vagal system, and connect in new ways to oneself, others and the world.
      • Attunement: Learning to notice and hold in awareness both resonance and dissonance in our relationships to ourselves, parts of ourselves, others and our environment, thereby respecting differences and cultivating compassionate connections.
      • Breathing: Learning to work with the breathing movement by familiarizing oneself with (1) its different dimensions: Non-interference, location of breathing movement in the body, in- and outbreath quality, breathing rhythm, in- and outbreath length, speed, emphasis, pauses; (2) connection to other parts of the body or the environment; (3) connection to the imagination.
      • Sacred place: Using imagination or memory to settle in a place that feels sacred.
      • Grids: Open or closed. Different grids: Body grid with body resource locations; grid within grid; light, antithetical, medical, ancestral resources, auditory grids.
      • Attachment: Orienting towards attachment resource that get precisely described; learn to hold parts within wise MPC awareness. Trusting connection with others, enhanced connection with the body via grid, sense of belonging to a sacred place, deeper connection with the Core Self.
      • Distress: Provides the opportunity for healing; the state of distress is utilized as a resource from which healing unfolds. Turn towards it. Use distress eye position to zero in on distress and bring COAL to it.
      • Personal power being: Using the imagination to conjure up sacred or spiritual beings of all kinds, including animals, angels, dragons etc.
      • Core self: Unconditionally loving, non-intentional Being Self, felt beyond the boundaries of the individual. Transcends space and time. Everlasting; pure consciousness; divine self; true, authentic essence separate from trauma history. Age regression technique. Core Self eye position. This dimension points to the field of nihility and emptiness explored later in the course.
      • Parts identification: Differentiating, naming and attuning to different energy flow streams as parts with roles for survival and thriving. Three basic ones (from both ‘Trinity of trauma’ by Nijenhuis and Internal Family Systems): Fragility or exiles, control or firefighters, ignorance or managers.

Once we are thoroughly familiar with these techniques and resources while working within the field of consciousness, we begin to notice its limitations and the need to access other awareness modes that are hidden from view and thus beyond what we are used to (transcendence). A hidden awareness dimension begins to show up as we notice signs of limitations within the field of consciousness. Accessing those awareness modes that are beyond normal, everyday waking and dreaming consciousness is in fact a major resource in itself. But because of the radical orthogonal shift out of the field of consciousness they require, we treat them as separate chapters.

  1. The field of nihility:
    • The dawn of nihility: Noticing the signs that herald its discovery, such as the existential hallmarks of absurdity and meaninglessness, loneliness and forsakenness, purposelessness, and death.
    • Path to nothingness – science and religion.
    • Negation and annihilation of all existence; relative nothingness; remnant of duality.
    • Transcendence
    • Default mode network; pre/trans fallacy;
    • Impermanence;
    • Transverbal and transcognitive awareness; knowing of not knowing.
  2. The field of emptiness:
    • Affirmation and nullification.
    • Absolute nothingness – sunyata.
    • No-thingness, no essence.
    • Non-attachment (as opposed to detachment).
    • Non-duality.
    • Verbal paradoxes; namelessness, timelessness.
    • Life
  3. The field of return:
    • After enlightenment, the laundry.
    • Everyday living and love.

 To paint you a picture of this curriculum content, imagine going for a scuba diving expedition. Section 1.1 describes the instruments you need and how to use them. Section 1.2. tells you about how your organism reacts to diving deep into the water and how to safely regulate that. Section 1.3. explores the different resources you can draw on to deal with various challenges that may arise from both the environment and your body while you dive. Section 2 is the equivalent of discovering ocean regions that you have never seen before with life forms that defy some of the biological principles you are familiar with. Section 3 reveals how everything discovered during your dive hangs together in a vast web of interconnectedness. Section 4 is the educational activity you engage in after having returned from your diving adventure.

Needless to say, this is a huge curriculum that would require a few years to be fully absorbed. However, the Mindsight Intensive will provide enough highlights from each section to enable students to incorporate the learning into their daily practice, and further their skill to expand awareness towards the limits of the field of consciousness and transcend it into the fields of nihility, emptiness, and return.

* = Easy reading; ** = challenging text, specialist lingo; *** = Very difficult text requiring in-depth study.

  1. ‘Polyvagal Exercises For Safety And Connection’, by Deb Dana.*
  2. ‘Comprehensive Resource Model’, by Lisa Schwartz et al.**
  3. ‘Religion And Nothingness’, by Keiji Nishitani.***
  4. ‘The Religious Philosophy Of Keiji Nishitani’, edited by Taitetsu Unno.**
  5. ‘How To Change Your Mind’ (on the new science of psychedelics), by Michael Pollan.*

Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Stéphane Treyvaud. All rights reserved.