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Change tends not to be linear, and we can’t predict the rate of change. We can also find that the course brings unexpected benefits.
What we do know is that there is a strong relationship between the amount of mindfulness practice and the benefits.
The teacher will also raise with you any things you’ve put on the form. The main reasons we might suggest you delay the course would be if you are currently very depressed, very anxious, are experiencing an untreated mental illness, or have had a recent (and highly emotional) bereavement.
Completing the application form doesn’t commit you to the course, and you will be encouraged to make an informed decision for yourself.
If you know you will have to miss 1 or more sessions, please let the teacher know. You will be offered a phone call during the week you miss, to go through the session and discuss your home practice.
If you have to miss the retreat day, don’t worry as you will be invited to all future retreat days anyway.
We will always spend time after a practice sharing our experiences of it (often in small groups). We also spend time every week sharing our experiences of the home practice so that we can learn from each other and support each other with any questions or difficulties that occur with the practice. This is not group therapy, and in fact we will be encouraging you not to share your personal story, but to focus on sharing your experiences of the practices.
We then spend time doing some other kind of exercise/discussion that focusses on the theme for that week.
You will be fully supported, and you will never be asked to share anything with the whole group (other than your name in week 1!), so if you wish to remain quiet and listening you absolutely can.
We do offer the course on a 1-2-1 basis though, and would be happy to talk to you about that option.
There is often much to be gained from doing the course separately as then you can really focus on your own experience. But doing the course together has the advantage that you can encourage each other with doing the home practice.
We provide shorter practices as well as the longer ones so that on days when the long practices are too much, you have an option that allows you to continue doing some practice.
We also encourage building mindfulness into everyday life, and over the short term this can be just as effective in increasing our ability to be mindful. We are seeking to develop a positive relationship to our practice, and to cultivate kindness and compassion, and you won’t be judged for doing less practice.
In fact, often the teacher will encourage stepping away from our personal stories and conditioning, and will aim to keep the discussions related to the practice of mindfulness.
The most we will ask you to share with the whole group is your name, and perhaps a single word to describe how you are feeling. But otherwise, you can choose not to share anything if you wish.