MARCH 2021 COURSE
Language-Use & the Healing of the Divided Self: a Mindfulness of the Body Course.
A Nine-Week Donation-based Course, starting Sunday 7 March and finishing Sunday May 9. The teacher for the course is Australian Insight meditation teacher Christopher Ash.
You are invited to register for a process-oriented, body-based meditation course. This is a mindfulness and meditation course, with an emphasis on looking deeply into the dynamics of self-delusion. We’ll conduct language experiments to see how our use of words carries forward our meditation process; how non-mindful language-use deceives; and, how thinking and saying support the emergence of authentic compassion and wisdom. The objective is to learn to use language with bodily-felt wisdom as its foundation.
This is a course which integrates language in a manner designed to activate innate potentials for healing via embodied process-thinking. Hence, the emphasis in this course is on the ‘pointing’ function of language – speaking and thinking refer to experiencing, with its inherent meaningfulness. When this is done, supported by mindfulness of the body, it evokes innate healing responses.
We’ll use selected passages from the prominent Buddhist mindfulness text called the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta; along with fresh, non-traditional terms for readily findable human experiences. These terms will come mostly from Eugene T. Gendlin’s philosophical work; and, we will integrate his practical mindfulness method into our practice. Explore directly the relationship of words to experience.
You will be invited to practise a particular meditative process during the course, a progression of steps which support healing and awakening to the nature of ‘mind.’ (During the course we will experiment with an experiential meaning of ‘mind.’) The meditation involves an effortlessness, natural progression of steps learned over the nine weeks.
MINDFULNESS OF LANGUAGE-USE
It’s a common view among meditators that language obstructs spiritual realization. Furthermore, delusions such as we see dividing the major democracies presently depend on a language-use which divides our ‘mind’ against itself – a form of bad faith toward ourselves. Our unmindful use of language can do both of these unhelpful things; but these afflictions are not inherent to saying and thinking.
People see the limitations of language, but don’t realize how to flip the situation so that language becomes a handmaid to wisdom.
THE BACKGROUND COSMOLOGY
This approach is guided by an evolution-based understanding of humans in the cosmos (while avoiding the extreme of a materialist theory).
In this theory language-use is conceived of as a gestural development in communities of early humans, such that bodily-felt language carries forward experiencing. (A view based on Gendlin’s theory of felt meaning in A Process Model.) Such word-use is less about merely naming and more about skillfully saying what we mean, in order to enhance immediate changes in our lived situation. Meaning in situations is primary.
It is planned that there be two one-and-a-half hour meetings, per week. They’ll be held in Sydney time: 4:00 PM, Wednesday and Sunday. (You can convert your time, here.) The Wednesday session will be optional; so, if you are pressed for time, you can come to the Sunday session only. (Both sessions will be recorded.)
There will be weekly supplementary reading material, the reading of which is optional.
The important element will a daily 45-five minute guided meditation session, without which content of the weekly classes will be difficult to absorb.
So, let’s imagine you need at least four hours available a week, for nine weeks. The course topics are:
Week 1: Inquiry
Week 2: Body
Week 3: Feeling Life
Week 4: Non-Conceptual Knowing
Week 5: World Within a World
Week 6: Interaction-1st & Attention
Week 7: Perception & the Implicit More
Week 8: Transformations
Week 9: The Way of Wisdom
The program will suit people who are experienced meditators, even if you’ve only attended one meditation retreat. It will suit long-time meditators.
On the other hand, it’s possible that this course might establish a regular meditation practice for a mature beginner. Because of the novel approach I am taking in the course, it’s untested as to levels of experience needed.
So, I wouldn’t reject beginners, but you should talk to me prior to the course, if you have little meditation training.
In terms of Focusing skills, the course will also suit people who have Level 2 Focusing and above; but who have no meditation practice.
If you have a diagnosed personality disorder, this kind of meditation is contra-indicated.
To register interest, contact:
My name is Christopher Ash. I have been presenting workshops in Australia, in inner growth skills, since the late nineties. I am a retired psychotherapist.
I have been a Buddhist meditator for fifty-four years, and a Dharma teacher (in the Insight tradition, Ajahn Buddhadasa‘s lineage) for nineteen years.
I’m also a Focusing trainer (twenty-one years), trained by Ann Weiser Cornell through the Focusing Institute in New York. I am also a Voice Dialogue facilitator. Before this career teaching inner skills, I was a teacher of English for migrants.
Nowadays, I am building online channels of communication in two areas: in Buddhist practice, and in Dr. Eugene T. Gendlin’s process-oriented philosophical work. I live with my wife Dharma teacher and writer Joyce Kornblatt, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Australia.
– Christopher, Feb 2021