#1 I can’t make all of the sessions.
This is by far the number one thing I hear from students trying to figure out if now’s the time for them to take the 8 week program. Here’s what I tell them every time:
Meditation is just too important to put off, even for just a few months. It just is.
And truth be told, there’s rarely an absolutely perfect time for anything. So I ALWAYS try to encourage students to join us now rather than later, so that at least they can get practicing, get reducing their stress, get their minds a little more stable, and then a few of The Mindful Center’s core policies can help as well.
First, we offer the same 8 week MBSR class 3 times a week at 3 different locations. (Check our schedule here…) So say you signed up for the Wednesday class, but on week 4 your daughter has a recital that night. Would the Thursday evening or Saturday morning class work for you that week? If so, all of my students are welcome to float between classes as best suits your schedule, you don’t even have to let us know.
Or maybe week 2 you’re out of town all week and would miss all 3 options? You can always take any missed classes in the next 8 week program. Also, the course book is designed in a way to support your practice even if you have to miss a session or 2. And all of our instructors always shows up for classes at least 30 minutes early, so you can always come a little early to the next session and let them get you up to speed.
Lastly, if you start MBSR, but then your schedule absolutely explodes and you end up missing more than half the program, you can enroll in the next class at no additional charge. This last option needs some discussion with the Instructor, but…
Please know that The Mindful Center is devoted to trying to bring you benefit through the practice of meditation, so anything we can do to help get you in a program and practicing, we will do.
The most important piece is not to wait…it’s just too important. It’s your life we’re talking about, and learning how to more skillfully use your mind to bring benefit to yourself and those around you. Too important to let it loiter in the land of tomorrow.
#2 I can not sit still and even thinking about meditating for 20 minutes gives me the weeby-jeebies.
Think of the 8 week program as a training program for your mind, much like a mountain climbing class. If on week one we tried to take you to the Himalayas for a hike, most of us probably wouldn’t make it. So we start with some small hills, get to know the tools and basics of mountain climbing, and then over the weeks move into some broader hikes as suits your skill level. This is exactly how MBSR is designed. We don’t start sitting still like statue for 30 minutes. We start with a lying down meditation, that for most people feels really relaxing right from the get go.
And the truth of meditation is that you actually don’t need to be able to sit still to practice. We do eating meditations, walking meditations, moving meditations using gentle yoga poses…sitting meditation is just one form of practice, and even in that practice it’s perfectly fine to move and adjust to keep your body comfortable.
In MBSR we try to meet you where you are, and to offer you the teachings and the practices, and then you choose what resonates most with you. There are multiple paths of practice and all paths are precious.
#3 I’ve tried to meditate in the past and just can not stay with it…why will this be any different?
The truth is we need a teacher. Live, in person, standing in front of us, ready to shake our hands, answer questions, inspire, encourage, motivate. For most of us our familiar thought patterns are just too entrenched to really be able to create change without some kind of a teacher. And think about it, we get training in a whole lot of other areas of our lives that we deem important. You want to be a doctor or an architect? You’d never try to figure it out on your own. You’d get a teacher. You want a peaceful, centered happy mind? Same thing.
And the other piece of the puzzle MBSR supplies is a sense of community. The 3 things you need to develop an effective meditation practice are 1. a teacher, 2. the teachings, and 3. a community. MBSR offers all three for 2 full months, and these three things together can help us make the breakthroughs in our practice – the aha moments – that we need to start and stay on the path of practice.