The only way 
to effect profound change  for the benefit of humanity 
is to face and speak  the truth with love.


The Mindfulness Lectures
Reflections from the Salt Mines

Dear Mindfulness Community,

Occasionally, as it was the case this past week, a student asks me to talk about myself, or wonders why I rarely do. If I did, so the belief goes, it would make it easier to become convinced that 'this stuff' of mindfulness training really works. 

You are likely all too familiar with the experience of confiding in someone you consider a friend and sharing a painful problem, only to be met with an avalanche of well-meaning advice that worked for your friend in similar situations. You probably gently extricated yourself from the conversation, quietly thinking to yourself "good for you, but that hasn't worked for me!". 

As a teaching method talking about myself and my experiences in mindfulness would be quite similar to having you read a meditator's biography in the hope you may achieve the same results as the featured meditator. Whatever mindfulness has done or not done for me, it will affect you in different ways, to different degrees, following different sequences of evolution at different times. In other words, my experiences in mindfulness are worth diddly squat for anyone else - except not to feel alone, as you will see below. 

Students automatically develop transferences onto the teacher. What this means is that we automatically develop both positive and negative fantasies about the teacher, which are shaped by past experiences with authority figures in our lives. These fantasies have little to do with who the teacher is, but everything to do with who we are as students. They are deeply ingrained in our implicit memory bank and they have powerful unconscious effects on our decisions and actions in life, in both positive and negative ways. 

If the teacher reveals too much about himself, the student is deprived of the opportunity to examine her own psychological constructions and get to know herself more deeply. Furthermore, the student begins to want to imitate the teacher and ends up losing herself. 

This goes against the principles of mindfulness to discover our own truth through direct experience. As a result, the student who at first may feel inspired by the teacher's accomplishments, protected by the teacher's authority and empowered by the opportunity to imitate the teacher, ends up deprived of the opportunity to find her own deep authentic essence.    

As a teacher my main concern is to inspire by my presence, not by my story or accomplishments, and to pass on the skills for using the tools of mindfulness meditation correctly, so that you can become the authority of your own journey of discovery. As a teacher, it is my duty to get my self out of your way, so that I can clear the path for all of us to access the only authority there is - nature's vast wisdom and the truth of timeless Being. 

If mindfulness practice doesn't work for you, remember that there are only two possible reasons that I can see: You have either chosen to not make it into a priority, or you are doing something wrong in your practice. It is that simple. Therefore, reach out and ask questions, so that as a teacher I can help you find out how you are practicing and where you are going wrong. 

In the end, when students ask me about my journey, I look around the room, invite them all to share what they discovered on their journey, how they struggle in their practice, how they have success, where they get stuck and how they managed to liberate aspects of themselves for positive transformation. Then, I tell them something very simple - that my experience and my journey is no different than everything they just shared they went through. 

Like you, I have gotten stuck and lost, and at times believed it didn't work for me. Like you, I persevered and searched to find what pitfalls I had fallen into. Like you, I had to learn to face the fact that the human capacity for self-deception is limitless. Like you, I came to find the passion for this thousand-year project. Like many of you, I discovered the essence of this journey's mysterious grail - that we can always notice improvement.

Unlike you, maybe, I have been at it doggedly and long enough to know that time is limited by timelessness, and that all we ever need to be awake in our lives with peace and love, is already here, right now - as it has always been and will always be. 

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.

Taming the shrapnel of the mind   


Saturday, May 9, 2015
3:00pm - 5:00pm   

Dealing with thoughts is an entirely different kettle of fish, which poses new challenges we will try to understand from the perspective of Interpersonal Neurobiology. The fourth frontier in meditation we look at today is alignment with thoughts.

In our daily lives and often when we meditate, we walk around with two assumptions - that our experiences happen to someone (me), and that experiences flow through the conscious mind as a stream of sensations, feelings and thoughts. It feels as if awareness is something we have that gives us the capacity to know, and that within it experiences flow like streams. It is as if awareness was like the blue sky, and our experiences like the clouds floating by. 

Surprise - nothing could be further from the truth. That feeling I just described is an illusion that is as real as the illusion we experience when a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat.

In this day and age, both science and contemplative traditions converge in showing us the tricks our brains and minds play on us to ensure survival at the expense of truth. We now have a pretty good idea how the brain constructs that illusion. In truth there is no one around who is aware, there are no contents of consciousness, and there is no one to experience them. 

So where are you if there is no you? Asked differently, is there something it is like to be you apart from the illusion you have been carrying around for years? 

To answer the question beyond the intellectual knowledge from science, you need to learn to feel the fine filaments of energy flow in your body, in your muscles, in your heart and in your guts. You need to discover how fleeting life and each of its moments is. You need to befriend the great mystery of death each and every day in a deep visceral way. You need to make the great stillness of Being your home by getting out of your own way.  

There is indeed something it is like to be you, but only insofar as there is something it is like to be each fleeting moment of construction of reality by the brain. Each moment, you are a fleeting emergence that disappears the moment it has begun to appear, and each moment in time you flash by like a shooting star you are different. 

As far as something continuous it is like to be you all the time, that sense of ongoing and unitary consciousness - that is a rigidity arisen from years of mindless habits of sloppy life observation, an illusion created by the very need to be somebody. Make no mistake, this illusion takes a huge toll on your health and wellbeing. This is why looking more deeply and discovering both life's and your identity's fleeting nature is healing and liberating - living in the truth of Being sets us free.

So stop worrying about death and taxes.

I would like to congratulate Kate, one of my students, on her website launch this morning. She specializes in corporate mindfulness. 

Struck by the lightening of fate, she went through a deep transformation, allowing her to not only spread her wings, but also the word on the corporate journey of mindfulness.

I remember the dark days that brought her to The Mindfulness Centre, where she began her journey of healing. I was always impressed by the quiet depth of her inquiry and the dogged determination with which she never left any meditation stones unturned. 

Kate, I wish you well and look forward to our continued collaboration!  


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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.

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