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Unfortunately, we pass through much of our lives mindlessly on automatic pilot – body present, awareness elsewhere – planning for the future, thinking about the past, trapped by conceptualisations or assumptions and by our unconscious physical, emotional, and cognitive patterns and conditionings. On automatic pilot we are partially absent to the events that make up our lives. We cannot experience pleasant events, sensations, connections with others, or even joy if we are not present to them. And we cannot "tune out" unpleasant thoughts, sensations, emotions, or experiences without also shutting out the potentially wonderful moments that may arise simultaneously.

Mindful awareness is a way of being in which one has an open awareness of all that arises in one’s realm of experience, moment by moment. This can include accepting, non-judgemental awareness of:

a) Internal events (including physical sensations, thoughts, emotions, reactions);
b) External events (including sights, sounds, other people); and
c) The interplay between internal and external, or even between internal aspects of mind or other aspects of self.

Mindful awareness can be cultivated through individual sessions at Serene View Ranch or through the MSBR program.

MBSR or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. MBR is an intensive 8-week, once weekly, group program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and associates at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. It is now an internationally acclaimed program with a growing body of research supporting its potential benefits for a variety of populations.

The curriculum is based on the emerging field of Mind-Body Medicine. Through intensive training in a combination of mindfulness, cognitive behavioural and self-regulation skills, participants learn to mobilize their deep inner resources to facilitate learning, growth, healing, enhance self-care, and make positive shifts in attitudes, behaviours, and relationships.

The program consists of eight weekly (2½ hour) classes as well as an all-day retreat between weeks six and seven. Participants are given daily home practice assignments designed to assist in the development of a disciplined and nurturing meditation practice. Classes take the form of presentations of information, the experience of a variety of guided meditation practices, and discussion of the challenges, benefits, and strategies of developing an ongoing home practice.

Read more about MSBR here.

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