In early 2013, after doing extensive online and book research, and doing some self-guided practices, I felt ready to be immersed in a meditation retreat. In my search for locations near by, affordability, and alignment to my life in that point in time, I decided to do a 10-day silent retreat with the non-profit Vippassaa Centers.
According to Vipassana Centers (Dharma.org), Vipassana:
"...means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living. This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion."
Vipassana Centers follows the teachings S.N. Goenka whom began teaching in 1969, and since then has "...taught tens of thousands of people of all races and all religions in both the East and West. In 1982 he began to appoint assistant teachers to help him meet the growing demand for Vipassana courses."
While Vipassana's retreats are very structured, and include long periods of setting, I greatly benefited from the experience, and developed so many "insights" that served as small seeds that kept me close to the practice and its teachings. I don't always recommend the 10-day sit for beginners, but it really just depends on the individual, including the level of support they might need as being in silence and not able to speak to others can bring up a lot, and overwhelming for some.
I still attend Vipassana Centers for silent retreats, and have practiced at their North Fork and Kelseyville, CA location. I also attend retreats at other centers located in Santa Cruz, Big Sur, and Mill Valley area, including various Insight Meditation Centers. Silent retreats are a way for me to nourish my meditation practice, which is life-enhancing, and strengthens my teaching practice.
Mindfulness-Based (MB) Evidence-Based Curriculums
I have been formally trained in three MB curriculums: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Eating and Awareness Training (MB-EAT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens (MB-EAT).
For more information about each of these curriculums, click here.
I participated in the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at the University of Massachusetts MBSR teacher education program. I completed the MBSR 8 Week Fundamental training (taught by Bob Stahl, PhD) and the Practice Teaching Intensive (taught by Bob Stahl, PhD, Christiane Wolf, MD, Carolyn West PhD, and Lone Overby), and are a CFM Qualified MBSR Teacher.
I completed the MB-EAT training that was lead and developed by Dr. Jean Kristeller. The training was co-lead by Andrea Lieberstein, author of the book: Well Nourished: Mindful Practices to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Feed Your Whole Self, and End Overeating Dr. Kristeller is the co-founder and past-president of The Center for Mindful Eating. Both Jean and Andrea are trained and use Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as the foundation for their work with mindful eating. Dr. Kristeller is the author of: The Joy of Half a Cookie.
MBRS-T was developed by Gina M. Biegel, LMFT. Gina is a psychotherapist who specializes in mindfulness-based work with adolescents. She is also the author of several books related to teens and mindfulness meditation. I completed the MBSR-T training in February, 2020.
I have known and trained with Bob Stahl, PhD, since 2017 when I was accepted into the Univeristy of Massachusetts MBSR teacher education program. Bob and meet regularly to help deepen my meditation practice, and to continue to learn about key concepts related to mindfulness meditation. Bob is the Guiding teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and visiting teacher at Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society. He teaches MBSR teacher trainings and meditation retreats nationally and internationally.
I am a active member of the Center for Mindful Eating, and regularly participate in continuing education they offer.
I am member of the American Mindfulness Research Association, and regularly review their Mindfulness Research Monthly, and academic literature.
Disclaimer about Mindfulness Education
Oscar providers coaching and educational services to promote stress reduction, health and overall wellbeing. Education can be an important complement to my medical care; however, it is never a substitute for diagnosis, treatment, or care of disease by a medical provider. Oscar does not dispense medical advice nor prescribe treatment.
Say What you Mean course on Mindful and Non-Violent Communication by Jay Oren Sofer.
The Art and Practice of Forgivess taught by Noliwe Alexander and Phillip Moffitt, MA, SEP
Somatically Speaking: Cultivating Authentic Communication taught by Oren Jay Sofer
Mindful Eating taught Andrea Lieberstein and Ven. Jampa Sangmo
Reconciliation and Loving Kindness taught by Bob Stahl and Jan Landry
“Undoing Patriarchy” taught by Lama Rod Owens
Mindful & Non-Violent Communication: Truth Without Blame taught by Jean Morrison
Dancing with the Dharma: 5Rhythms® and Insight Meditation taught by Lucia Horan
Introduction to Restorative Practices for Providers Serving At-Risk Youth,” by Gabriel Kram
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
Meditation Now, the Art of Living,
Satipatthana Sutta Discourses, the Art of Dying, by S.N. Goenka
Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness by David A. Treleaven
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
The Art of Communication by Thit Nach Hahn
Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader by Marc Lesser
Say What you Mean by Oren Jay Soffer
Mindful Work by David Gellees
Awake in the Wild by Mark Coleman
The Craving Mind by Judson Brewer
Abiding in Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein
Real Love and Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg
Mindfulness and the Brain: Jack Kornfield and Daniel J. Siegal
The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Rinpoche Yongey Mingyur
Abiding in Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein taught by Marc Coleman
Related Human Development Books
My Grandmother's Hand
Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Remaa Menaken
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, PhD
In an Unspoken Voice & Trauma and Memory by Peter A. Levine, PhD
My Body Keeps Score by Van Der Kolk.
Mentalligence by Kristen Lee
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate