Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Mindfulness Retreat, April, 2013


    From April 27-28, 2013, I attended my first mindfulness retreat at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine.  Phyllis Hicks and Jeanne van Gemert were the leaders.  I stayed at Carol Mathisson's house in Durham, whom I met at the Durham Full Frame Film Festival earlier in the month.

      A few things from the retreat really stood out for me:

       1)  We were advised to combine stress with kindness.  When we are stressed, we need to treat ourselves with kindness, while acknowledging the stress.

       2)  Be neutral toward our thoughts.  They are just thoughts.  Greet them with kindness.

Jeanne stated:  "We run so quickly because we are running from ourselves.  Every moment is a moment to start over."

Another point that emerged was Jeanne's quotation (from Rumi?) that "We must have the patience to let the mud of the mind settle and wait for the right action."  She went on:  "Meditation shifts the thought process from the 'depressive/anxiety' right brain, to the joyful left side of the brain."

Jeanne continued:  "Reaction happens in a primitive side of the brain.  Our power and our freedom is in the gap between our self talk.  This allows us to be more responsive, rather than reactive.  We want our minds to be stable, and reflective.  Meditating is befriending our direct experience."

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