mindfulness for social change 2017

8th to 15th April

Mindfulness is about being fully present in the here and now, being in touch with what is going on inside us and around us. It enables us to arrive in a place of centred awareness – able to be responsive and connected, to engage courageously and effectively in the world. On this training we seek to harness the empowering skills of mindfulness to values and action for social and ecological justice.

Using practices to train our minds and focus our attention, we build inner resources to become more balanced, energized and emotionally intelligent. In our fast-paced, stress laden, and complex world, emotional intelligence is crucial for being resilient in times of great societal and environmental crises. It is central to mobilizing, engaging, communicating and influencing others, as well as thinking deeply, creatively and strategically amidst the challenges of our times. Harnessing mindfulness has never been more important in helping to bring about social change.

Mindfulness enables us to be aware of our thoughts, our feelings and our sensations. This makes us better able to take responsibility for our own mental states and reactions – enabling us to choose our responses, so they remain creative and helpful. Mindfulness also underpins our capacity to empathise and connect with others – to build mutually empowering relationships. It also helps us to pay attention to what is happening around us, to cut through assumptions and expectations, and to take account of the reality of our situation.

Secular mindfulness training has benefited from a great deal of research and study which show that these practices have direct material effect on the neuro-plasticity of the brain, effectively re-sculpting it for effectiveness, creativity and wellbeing. Embodied awareness is a key to emotional intelligence and raising levels of personal resilience. There is clear testimony that mindfulness training can enhance our focus and attention, increase self-awareness and the awareness of others, and strengthen cognitive effectiveness. All of this can enable you to

  • find clarity and focus when it is required
  • deepen your capacity to empathise
  • direct your thinking where you need it
  • listen and communicate more effectively
  • be more emotionally alive and tuned in
  • stay flexible and creative under stress
  • remain energised and inspired

The integration and self-awareness that come from mindfulness help us to stay true to ourselves and act out of authenticity. It can help us keep our vision bright and the ethical basis of our work transparent. It enables us to be worthy of and inspire others’ trust and confidence in us. It helps to shape our own sense of agency and that of those we work with.

We will locate the exploration of mindfulness and emotional intelligence on a foundation of values and ethical commitment to social and ecological justice. We will be asking how the benefits of mindfulness practice can be put in service to the embodiment and realisation of our values in the world.

This course offers tools and approaches which integrate personal transformation and practical skills for working with others to affect social and environmental change. It brings together a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and expertise from different traditions and a wide range of actors from activists and educators to spiritual, political and civil society leaders. It aims to facilitate personal and collective reflections on our roles in bringing about change.

This training covers:

  • tools for deepening self-awareness and emotional intelligence
  • inner resources for sustaining vision and engagement
  • interpersonal skills for working well with others
  • approaches for thinking creatively and strategically

The course will help individuals to:

  • Learn and deepen their mindfulness practice for developing inner resources of clarity, insight, patience, courage and emotional resilience.
  • Develop an understanding of the integrated nature of the individual, society and nature and how our approach to each informs and supports the other.
  • Build effectiveness in engaging, supporting, working with and influencing others
  • Review and evaluate personal strategies for working to realise social change
  • Experience a model of community living based on principles of environmental sustainability, sharing and equality.

The course is suitable for those who are new to mindfulness or new to exploring secular mindfulness approaches (such as mindfulness based stress reduction/cognitive therapy) and how it can support being an effective agent of social change within groups, communities, movements or organisations.

Suggested contributions in the Dana Economy €300/€600/€900 (euros). Make a booking.

The Team

Guhyapati is the director of the Ecodharma Centre. He has been practicing meditation and dharma since the early 1990’s, and teaching for over 20 years. He has pioneered trainings which brings mindfulness and contemplative practices to the service of social engagement. These courses include explorations of sustainable activism and effective collaboration. This work has inspired and continues to support approaches to activist training across Europe. His social change experience spans both grassroots and NGO forms of organising. His dharma study has been both as practitioner and academically, including post-graduate studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the 1990’s. He is currently involved in the development of a new pan-European training programme for social movement impact and resilience.

Paula Haddock was INTRAC’s Training Manager for more than 5 years. She was responsible for managing INTRAC’s broad range of training programmes including tailor-made, open, and blended courses. She has continued her work with INTRAC as an associate and trains on training of trainers, facilitation skills, M&E of training and managing roll outs effectively. She is a co-founding member of the Training Providers Forum which is an informal network of non-profit training providers working across the development and humanitarian sector. The forum has been running for five years, sharing best practices in training provision, forming collaborations, and offering yearly workshops to sector on key themes such as M&E of training and building the capacity of local training providers.

Paula has also been exploring how inner practices can help to support social change work through building personal awareness, resilience and insight. She is training to be a mindfulness teacher and is a co-founding member of the Mindfulness and Social Change Network. Paula is also on the advisory board of the Ulex programme, run by Ecodharma in Spain, which provides training and networking opportunities for grassroots, social change activists and organisers across Europe.

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