Being Mindful Project


Know Thyself.
- Socrates
 
Title: Being Mindful:  Creating Relationship with Self through Nurturing, Compassion and Presence
 - Joy Ventura Riach, Janelle Alex
 
I am inspired by my coursework in Transpersonal Psychology to create the Being Mindful Project. 

According Daniel Deslauriers,

"Transpersonal Psychology studies the whole person in relation to itself, others, nature and the cosmos.  It seeks to understand general and particular patterns of experience as a person's sense of identity unfolds and matures.  Central to the focus of Transpersonal Psychology is the phenomenology of growth and individuation that concurs with positive transformation in consciousness, the practice of wisdom and the pursuit of self-knowledge.  In this pursuit, individuals often combine a variety of methods including contemplative practices, psychotherapy, dreamwork, creativity, and other means of spiritual inquiry.  Transpersonal Psychology emphasizes the fact that psychological and spiritual development should ideally unfold in tandem, in continuous cycles of self-transcendence and personal integration.  In this way, Transpersonal Psychology seeks to understand how particular skills and aptitudes can be acquired and displayed in conjunction with psycho-spiritual development (Caplan, Hartelius, & Rardin, 2003, p. 146)."

Caplan, M., Hartelius, G., & Rardin, M.A., (2003). Contemporary viewpoints on transpersonal psychology. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 35 (2), 146.
 
From my own experience, being mindful opens me up to my relationship with Self, as a spiritual being.  My growth is that I am constantly learning how to be more nurturing, compassionate and present to myself, and in the world. This nurturing, compassionate and present way has become transpersonal medicine that I can share with others. This call to action is an inner force driven by my heart. I remind myself daily why I am here.

The transpersonal medicine I wish to offer comes in the form of an intention:
It is my intention to help you create direct relationship with Self through nurturing, compassion and presence and this can be done by developing sensitivity and appreciation toward everyday awareness.

One way to open up to everyday awareness is to write about it. What does awareness mean to you?  Another way to feel awareness is to dive into a spiritual practice.  For instance, my spiritual practice includes yoga, meditation, being vegan, being quiet, prayer, journaling, drawing, dancing, listening to music, cooking, going into nature, going to the beach, seva (Sanskrit word that means "selfless service"), motherhood, letting go, dreamwork and the list continues to evolve. Essentially, one's spiritual practice is a way to come into direct relationship and experience with the self as spiritual being, as heart being or as authentic self.  Let's get to know thyself, in the raw:  a one-on-one continuous conversation ... but let's get out of the mind.

I would like to share a passage from Michael Stone's book, "Yoga for a World out of Balance: Teachings on Ethics and Social Action,"

"In meditation practice, when the mind becomes still without adding anything to experience and without trying to escape from that particular moment, there is a still and lucid clarity that is nothing other than pure awareness. Without any duality and not depending on anything for its existence, there is naked awareness with no sense of a 'me' having the experience. This is the flow of humanness, where, even momentarily, we wake up to what is real and true in a given moment, by means of stillness. This kind of awareness is like a natural resource that is always there, innately stable behind the scenes (Stone, 2009, p. 148)."

Perhaps you have experienced this pure awareness.  Please journal about it and/or if you feel so moved, please share your experience.

Intention:  The Being Mindful Project is to help you create direct relationship with Self through nurturing, compassion and presence and this can be done by developing sensitivity and appreciation toward everyday awareness.

Here are a couple things that you may consider exploring:
  • What is my spiritual practice?
  • What is awareness? What is my experience with awareness?
  • What does it mean to be present?
  • How do I describe my relationship to myself?
  • Can you think of ways that you nurture yourself?
  • Describe what it means to feel compassion.
  • How do I describe my relationship to my mind? to my heart? to my body?
  • What is my relationship to the Earth?
  • What is my heart calling me to do - my call to action?
 
How do we define success for this project and how will we measure it?  I believe the success can happen over time.  I believe sharing one's experience with self, with awareness, with being mindful is key in the project's success.  I also am exploring how we can create an instant feedback loop perhaps in a discussion forum or through something that I create in the form of a follow-up blog to a workshop or design a website where I define my intention and the transpersonal medicine that I have to offer.
 
What is it?
Inspired by Psychotherapist, Yoga teacher and lay Dharma teacher, Michael Stone - http://www.centreofgravity.org/
Inspired by the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology - http://www.itp.edu/
Inspired by Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra by Mirka Knaster
 
When does it start and end?  January 26, 2011
 
Where is it?  Maryland and Indiana
 
Who is doing it? Joy Ventura Riach and Janelle Alex
 
How will you do it?  I am curiously exploring creating a local workshop or to create a workshop online.  At the moment, I am working to get the workshop idea concrete.  I feel I started out ambitiously and now I am stepping back, allowing the space for the workshop to grow on its own. There is simply so much that I wish to explore with this workshop - what is the best way to share my transpersonal medicine to the world. I am even considering starting my own LLC.
 
How does it contribute to sustainability?  Transformation, through spiritual practice, is a life-long commitment to knowing thyself.  By cultivating a caring relationship to one’s self, to others, and to the world we share, we become more sensitive to our interdependence and interconnection, and we grow to appreciate this quality of awareness in ourselves and in others. This sensitivity within creates a call to action.

How does it align with one or more of the sustainability competencies? This aligns with Personal Development / Self Awareness (see below).
 
1.1 Describe one’s own identity(ies) and describe how these identities are linked to one’s values and worldview.
 
1.2 Identify one’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner and identify some strengths and places for growth.
 
How will we produce a digital story that can be openly published and shared that demonstrates our mastery of 1.1 and 1.2 to others? TBD

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