Foundation Course on Mindfulness
This calendar is a suggestion to outline how one could weave the learning modules together with establishing a personal practice over the intended five weeks of the course. There is no expectation or requirement that participants follow it. Overall, it is ideal to try and watch all of Module 1 in week 1, Module 2 in week 2 and so on. Keeping to that pace will ensure that all participants can derive maximum benefit from the in-person sessions scheduled for the beginning, midpoint and end of the course.
Discovering clarity, well-being and resilience through mindfulness
Life and work can sometimes be overwhelming, including keeping up with rapid technological changes and the increasing demands upon our attention and time. We all need to be able to ride the wave of change without getting lost in the turmoil or burning out. Through mindfulness practice, it is possible to find an effective way forward, allowing us the breathing room to respond rather than just react to challenges, while developing insight, mental focus and resilience.
Mindfulness practice works with our tendencies to want to escape from life’s challenging situations through distraction and entertainment. It cultivates a sense of connection to basic human goodness and healthiness, strengthening our capacity to relate directly, sympathetically and honestly with life’s ups and downs.
According to the mindfulness tradition, our positive qualities are simply a natural expression of human awareness. And that is the key: mindfulness is not about reinventing ourselves or about self-improvement. Rather it’s about uncovering who and what we already are in a genuine and caring way. When we do this, we may discover:
- Better focus – our attention does not have to wander or become distracted
- Clear seeing – we can strengthen our capacity to perceive subtle changes
- Spacious minds – we don’t have to be caught in habitual patterns and reactions – there’s lots of room to work with everything and everyone that we encounter
- Creativity – with spaciousness comes spontaneity, curiosity and playfulness
- Sense of connection – with self and others (also we may find that we are better able to build stronger, healthier relationships internally and externally)
- Stress reduction – we can be kind to ourselves, knowing how to motivate ourselves and others without resorting to either fear, intimidation or running away.
As we all know, attention to small details can either make or break a critical transaction, communication or relationship. Paying attention includes being aware of our own emotions and reactions when dealing with challenging situations. It is difficult to stay attentive to these details in our speedy, technological and information-driven world. The faster we go, the less clearly we can see, and the less informed our decisions become. There are more deadlines to meet and an ever-growing to-do list to accomplish, with less time to reflect or accomplish them well.
Mindfulness practice is training in paying attention and skillfully working with challenges and stress. It is the key for developing a “light touch,” having a genuine sense of humour and a balanced perspective, less overwhelmed by circumstances.
The course is delivered in five weekly modules. Each module consists of a series of short video episodes. A module takes around 1 hour to complete and consist of a few 10 to 20 minutes video lessons.
In addition to the 5 recorded modules, we will meet as a cohort in three live Zoom meetings: at the beginning, in the middle and after the last recorded module has been completed. Each week there will be discussion forums to engage your questions and insights with other participants and with the instructor. There will be optional readings and small assignments to support you to integrate the material into your practice.
Alan Sloan began studying with his meditation teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, in 1970. Alan has been a teacher within this mindfulness tradition since 1976, leading numerous programs in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and New Zealand, as well as webinars on mindfulness and authentic leadership. For many years, Alan served on the faculty of the Authentic Leadership in Action Institute in Halifax, and was a founding member of the Wayside Initiative.