What’s Next? After the Mindfulness Meditation Retreat
This is what the room looked like at the end of the New Year’s Mindfulness Meditation Retreat at our Clinic in downtown Toronto.
The retreat was great by the way.
People signed up for either a One Day Retreat or a Three Day Retreat.
18 people came for the One Day Retreat.
Some participants were complete beginners. Others had previously completed an MBSR or MBCT course.
During the One Day Retreat, we offered lots of guided meditation instruction.
Participants had a chance to do sitting meditation and walking meditation throughout the day.
They liked the Tea and Cookies Meditation during the afternoon break.
We ended the day with Loving Kindness Meditation and some discussion.
By the end of the day, everyone felt grounded and clear. Many of them were smiling. Others were quiet and thoughtful. There was a feeling of open hearted kindness in the room. (If you have already experienced a well-organized retreat, you will know what I mean.)
During the discussion, several people asked: What’s Next?
They wanted to know how they could continue to benefit from the mindfulness they had experienced during the retreat.
I told them that mindfulness was a natural ability that can be nurtured and strengthened. Every time we do a mindfulness practice, even for only 5 or 10 minutes, there are benefits.
Here is what I told them:
- If you only have 3 minutes, do Mindful Eating. When you start to eat, slow down, tune in, taste your food, for at least the first few bites. (works better if you turn your phone off.)
- If you only have 10 minutes, do Breath Counting or Breath Awareness Meditation.
- If you can set aside 20 minutes, extend your time for Breath Counting or Breath Awareness Meditation.
- You can make mindfulness a regular part of your day especially if you meditate at the same time, and in the same place, each day. It can take 3 to 6 weeks to develop a new habit.
- You can make mindfulness a positive habit in your life if you stay with it.
- The app, Smiling Mind can be useful for you if you don’t feel ready to guide your own mindfulness meditation sessions.
Are you wondering what happened after the first day? Fewer people came for the full Three Day Mindfulness Meditation Retreat. On the second and third day, there was less instruction and more silent meditation. Participants had a chance to practice and deepen their mindfulness skills. By the end of the third day, people felt clear, kind, awake. One said, “I feel like I have come home to myself.”
Katherine Miller co-facilitated the retreat with me. She is a wonderful mindfulness meditation instructor, and the two of us really enjoy working together to help people learn about mindfulness. I am grateful for her help. I am also grateful for our office staff at The Mindfulness Clinic. They helped people to register. They set the room up with meditation cushions and chairs. On the day after the retreat, they put away all the cushions and set the room up for our next group therapy meeting.
What’s next for me? The retreat was a chance for me to ‘come home to myself’ as well. I am very grateful that I have an opportunity to do this work. In the coming year, I plan to write a book about Body Scan Meditation. It is one of my favourite types of meditation. I will post links to some free downloads about Body Scan Meditation in the coming months. I hope that the downloads will be helpful for some of you.