Emotional growth and spiritual practice appear to be strange bedfellows. One path helps us create a working sense of self, while the other exhorts us to forget the self. One encourages us to let go of afflictive emotions, while the other provides a safe place to explore the range of our emotions. One cultivates integration of the person, the other encourages transcending the veil of the personal into our true nature. One sees attachment as a human need throughout life, the other as a prime cause of suffering. In reality, however, psyche and spirit—and the principles and practices of psychotherapy and meditation—are not opposed; they complement and enrich one another.
This workshop explores how our capacity to live full, wise, and compassionate lives is enhanced by an integrative model in which spiritual and emotional growth coexist and blend with each other. How? Spiritual practice, exemplified here by Buddhist teachings and practices, helps us engage each moment of our lives with maximum aliveness, and experience for ourselves our essential nature, beyond success and failure. Personal and interpersonal emotional work in all its forms help us become whole selves. It takes a differentiated, integrated person to fully embody our no-self nature.
Through presentations, meditation practice (sitting, walking, and occasional mindful eating), experiential exercises, and discussion, this material will come to life as we make it our own. The instructor will draw specific examples from his work with returning veterans in the Coming Home Project. This workshop is designed for everyone. Mental health professionals will learn skills helpful in the transformation of emotional suffering and trauma.