Truth is what keeps hitting you over the head 
when you least want it.
Truth is like a gang of wasps
swarming around your romantic breakfast table.
The more you try to swat them away,
the angrier and more insistent they get.
The most salient truths to be faced are the very personal ones
that manifest in the privacy of your soul.
They are the daily truths that whisper
all the things you do not want to know. 
These personal truths are the doorway
to the universal truths of human existence, 
that freedom, pleasure, wealth, satiety, health, life and love 
are better than bondage, pain, poverty, hunger, illness, death and hate.

The Mindfulness Lectures
Reflections from the Salt Mines
From a Course Participant

Dear Mindfulness Community,

For various reasons, we at the Mindfulness Centre have been stressed! It can then become stressful to be mindful. 

Speaking about myself, I got infected with a nasty virus that attacks the neurocircuits of the left brain and gave me a bad case of the 'Ihavesomuchtodo syndrome'. Its hallmark is interesting - walking through life I felt as if I was constantly leaning forward against a headwind, except that the headwind was literally in my head, deeply embedded in my neurocircuitry, not outside. It was a very embodied experience affecting me from the realm of physical sensations, through my emotions, all the way up to my cognition and beyond to my relationships. It became a self-imposed obsessive-compulsive storyline, a wickedly insistent one at that, providing me with the perfect rationale for believing in it as if it was the Gospel's truth. There was surprising comfort in this madness, in part because it made me feel important - or more accurately, it made me forget the important fact that in about 6-8 billion years our solar system will have vanished (let alone the more time-sensitive and rather important fact that I am apparently going to die one of these days).

Referrals to our Centre have exploded (one of the main reasons for our stress), but I have fortunately been blessed with Reena's and Sneh's good-natured and patient assistance, and Linda's hands-on engagement as a teacher. As you can see on our website, our programs have expanded to accommodate the increase in demand.

However, mindfulness has now also become a fad. Everybody and their uncle seem to become mindful. Mindfulness is beginning to lose its meaning, in exactly the same way religion has lost its meaning for the masses of people who attend church on Sunday and continue to scream at their kids when they come home from church. This is what happens when the left brain is out of touch with the rest of the organism and hijacks reality into a pure representation of it. In the same vein, and sadly so, I am regularly contacted by people who have no awareness of the fact that the human capacity for self-deception is limitless, and think they can teach meditation after having taken an 8-week program. This culturally sanctioned left-brain hypertrophy has its roots in our biology, which has bestowed on us very tricky left-brain attributes. The left brain is overly optimistic, unrealistically positive in its self-appraisal, in denial about its shortcomings, unreasonably certain, black and white, argumentative and deluded in its assumption that it knows it all and can go it alone.

Mindfulness practice is an intricate, delicate, difficult, tricky and deep discipline that is difficult to embody. Talking the walk is easy, walking it an entirely different matter. Fortunately, our work at the Centre has attracted a great number of serious explorers, who are deeply dedicated to mining the depths of the mind, and the Mindsight Intensives are flourishing. It is refreshing to see a few budding mindfulness teachers grow among the ranks of our students, who by virtue of their own experience in the exploration of mindfulness are fully aware of the complexity and responsibility involved in becoming a teacher. It takes at least 4-5 years or longer of intensive training to begin to feel one might be ready to teach.

My students' wisdom inspires me, as they keep reminding me of my mortality, of my vulnerability, of the fact that I am in the same soup with all of them. That is my medicine against my 'Ihavesomuchtodo' virus - the fact that I am a beginner like we all always are, that there is nowhere to go except for now, that I can always rely on one of my fellow travelers to know more than me and guide me, that I am not alone, not a hero, not a student, not a teacher, both and neither, and I can relax my storyline, achieve less to live more .... and go sip my tea.

Dr. T. 




A 5-lecture series on mindfulness 101*:

Why and how to meditate


Over the course of 5 lectures we will explore the foundations and principles of mindfulness meditation. Why meditate? How do we best meditate? What is stress? How are meditation and stress related?


From lecture to lecture we will follow the gradual emergence of a new, invigorated approach to living, replacing our old, ingrained, rigid and stale patterns of suffering that have bogged down our lives, curtailed our creativity and undermined our passion and hope for life and the future.


Each lecture's journey begins with a short review of the previous lectures, followed by the exploration of one aspect of what and who we really are as living human organisms. Over the course of the lecture series we will gradually acquire a bird's eye view of how we are embodied, including how our brain is wired, and the relationship between body, mind and spirit. From this base we can then understand the tools we use to meditate, which we will learn to apply, one by one as we proceed from lecture to lecture.


* All lectures provide some common-sense directions about how to practice mindfulness.

Lecture 1:
Unlocking the secrets of the breath  


Saturday, February 7, 2015
3:00pm - 5:00pm   

This lecture's journey begins with the exploration of stress and a few neurobiological foundations allowing us to then explore the first frontier of meditation: Alignment with the breath.


Recently a question came up with regards to meditation. What distinguishes a good from a bad meditation? Can you even judge meditation that way?

From the teacher's perspective you can indeed, because people who meditate often get lost and are not able to develop a strong practice, most of the time not even knowing what interfered.

This is what I hear a lot: "I had a bad week with meditation; I couldn't meditate because I was so distracted." When I ask the students where the problem is, they seem surprised, because the problem seems to be the distraction - which it is not.

What makes a meditation good or bad is not the nature of one's experience, but the attitude and clarity with which we use our meditative tools of attention. These tools are not unlike a surgeon's tools. Without them, we cannot operate. No matter what your experience in meditation is, distracted, restless, painful, peaceful or calm, as long as you meet it with the attitude of COAL (curiosity, openness, acceptance and love), and you are clear on where your attention is and what you do with it, it is a good meditation.

A bad meditation is an unskillful one, where you operate without the proper tools and unknowingly waste your time, not getting anywhere. It is the attempt at meditating without clarity about how to use attention and what attitude to cultivate as you meet the full catastrophe of human experience.         

"For myself, when painful emotions arise, with time, I see my pattern. I see my initial habitual reaction is to try to avoid feeling it; then, I feel it (because whether I like it or not, avoiding it doesn't make it go away). And then I notice that I don't like feeling it. Then I berate myself, the negative self talk begins: not this again, you're not over this yet?  You should 'know' better; you did it to yourself, you loser; etc.  But once I've seen all of this, I allow myself to sit with it all .. to hold it all in awareness .. and the energy flow begins again .. it moves.  

Over Christmastime, I experienced the pain from implicit memory. I reeled in the pain before the insight came as to what it was all about.  Once I had the 'body knowing' aha of what it was about, I continued to feel a great sadness, although there was also a feeling of peace, for allowing it all to be as it was.

I wouldn't say though, that it was entirely 'peace independent of circumstance'. I wasn't entirely at peace - the pain of the whole experience was still too raw.

So while I notice improvement, there is still room for improvement....."

C. B. 



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I cannot express enough gratitude for being able to enjoy the privilege of working with so many talented, thoughtful, irreverent, creative and dedicated fellow travelers on this journey of inquiry, transformation and daily life application of what is most important for our human existence.

With kind regards,

Dr. T.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs

Mindsight Intensives to make mindfulness a way of life.

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