As part of its ongoing series of introductory courses in meditation and Buddhism, Triratna-NYC is offering a Course on Mindfulness, beginning Thursday, February 19th, 2015. The course runs for four Thursdays, ending March 9th. It meets from 7pm to 9pm in Midtown, at 347 West 36th, suite 1000, between Eighth and Ninth.
Mindfulness is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot today, and it seems to mean different things to different people. We’ve asked Padmadharini, an experienced teacher and Order Member at Triratna-NYC, for her thoughts on mindfulness and the course, which she will be leading.
This course focuses on mindfulness. Can you give a quick summary of what mindfulness means to you?
Mindfulness is, very simply, paying attention in this moment to what is happening, without judgement. It is a practice that takes us out of the mode of being on “automatic pilot” when we can miss so much of the amazing stuff that is happening right here and now. It also helps us to come back to the present moment at times when thoughts and thinking can take us into stressful or dark places.
Why the focus on mindfulness? What do you expect people to get out of this course?
The course will teach some simple techniques that help us to arrive in this moment. They generally involve grounding experience in the body. The research points to how quickly these practices begin to transform experience and how we cope and deal with things. So even a 4 week course can be quite transformative.
Who is the course for?
This course is for complete beginners or for those with experience of Buddhism or meditation. It’s all about your own experiences, so wherever you are it will be beneficial.
Is there any sort of required experience or background?
Life experience is what is needed. The willingness to come with whatever is going on with you at this moment, and to apply the techniques you’ll learn to those issues.
You’ve taught many courses with Triratna. What would say is your style of teaching?
I’m very participatory and conversational. I don’t like lecturing at people. This course is designed to be inquiry-based – you’ll try things out and then reflect on what you experienced. So it’s not about me telling you how mindfulness should be, but about seeing what actually happens when you bring more mindfulness to your experiences.
And what is the general air of the typical Triratna course?
Triratna is very diverse in its teaching, and as an ecumenical tradition, we draw on all the Buddhist lineages and practices. We also have a strong focus on friendship and connecting. So as a teacher, I’m usually trying to engage people and give them an opportunity to get to know me and my practice.
From your perspective, what is the most important thing a student new to meditation or mindfulness should keep in mind right from the start?
Learning mindfulness or meditation takes time. It’s a practice, and like any practice, the more time and energy you dedicate to it, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s never quite what you expect, and that’s what I love about these practices. The surprises they deliver up – which you could say is what “insights” are all about.
This is a great opportunity to learn how to live more mindfully, and less on automatic pilot. If you’re interested in the course, please visit us to learn more or to enroll. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
We hope to see you there!