ABC Catalyst have filmed an MBSR course. This screens next week on February 19. Our next course starts the week after. So watch and be inspired.
The course was filmed in late 2018. Fourteen people with diverse backgrounds and life experience bravely signed up to be filmed on their journey through the course. I met the Catalyst MBSR class in week 3 of their course when I filled in for their wonderful teacher Timothea Goddard and will be witting with them as they watch the screening.
1. something that makes a chemical reaction happen more quickly without itself being changed
2. an event or person that causes great change.
It’s so appropriate that an MBSR course gets featured on a programme called Catalyst. The course is a catalyst. It radically changes lives in a simple, time-proven way, The alchemical ingredient being mindfulness training, something so deceptively simple.
Having taught many eight-week MBSR courses over the last 5 years, I can now see a pattern in what happens when you apply the catalyst of MBSR to each new cohort of participants.
This is what you will typically experience in a an 8-week course.
Weeks 2-4 can begin to feel hard. The practice feels awkward and uncomfortable. Participants notice how busy their mind is, and it may feel more like stress production than stress reduction. Many people feel a bit frustrated and like they are getting it wrong. It is common to think ..."what am I doing here?"
In weeks 5-6, things start to feel like they are falling into place, at least some of the time. Some people begin to get 'ah-ha' moments, and others are really grappling with the course content.
In Week 7-8 things the pieces tend to come together. The catalyst has done its job, and the puzzle starts to form. It is like a butterfly emerging from a pupa.
MBSR is a challenging course to describe, and mindfulness practice is something that must be experienced to be understood. It is is a kind of alchemy and is full of paradoxes.
It is more a process of 'undoing' than doing. We get to know our habitual ways of being and find a way to untangle from them rather than fix them.
We learn to observe our thoughts, and as we do they often have less hold over us. As we get space from them, we can respond rather than react.
We learn to speak the language of the body and when we don’t try to change what’s going on it often changes.
We learn to approach rather than avoid stress and our stress reactivity decreases.
You are correct if you think this sounds somewhat poetic or intangible. It is not something that can be taught in a 4-week course, 1 hour a week or by plugging into an app. It is a process, and a journey but an 8-week MBSR course is a good beginning.
Having met the course participants at Week 3, I am keen to see what they discovered on their journey.
So if you'd like to know more about MBSR or want to compare with your experience of the course, watch ABC Catalyst on Tuesday, Feb 19th at 8.00pm or on IVIEW.
HeadRest run MBSR courses in Marrickville in each school term. Book now for the course beginning Wed Feb 27 or by Feb 27 access the 2019 Catalyst early bird discount for May 2019. Book here.