The world is crazy. Meditation is sanity. The intention of this non-residential weekend training is to empower everyone – including people not remotely interested in becoming a “teacher” – to think about and care for their own mental health and the mental health of others. Learning to guide meditation practice is an excellent way to do both. As we get clearer about the practice of guiding a meditation, our own practice deepens immeasurably.
Who’s this for?
- Anyone with a basic understanding of meditation who is interested in learning more
- Anyone who wants to share a practice with friends and colleagues
- Anyone from yoga teachers to book club leaders interested in including simple meditation techniques in their class or group
- Experienced meditators interested in facilitating groups in their communities
You will learn:
- The fundamental attentional skills that underlie most meditation and spiritual practices; how they work together to create healing, empowerment and transformation
- How to ensure these skills are threaded through different “forms” or techniques – from body to sound to imagination to movement – how to bring them into life, which is the point!
- How to find your own style and form(s) as a meditation guide
- How to language your guidance to make it maximally honest and accessible to your audience
- How to respond to people’s questions and reports, so you can help them customize and find their own right practice
- How to work with common meditation-related challenges and help others do the same. This includes the basics of trauma-informed mindfulness, and the wider context of mental health, including the importance of other approaches and modalities
- The developmental arc of meditation practice, and an inclusive way of thinking about where any effective approach leads
- The developmental arc of the meditation teacher or guide – how it develops and deepens, and how to find your own support
- The absolute centrality of honesty, humility and teaching exactly where you’re at
If you’re interested in learning more about my philosophy of practice and guiding – including tips for how to guide a practice and much more beside – you can download a free copy of the CEC’s Community Practice Activation Kit here.
This workshop is the only training we know of that explicitly looks at the experience of guiding a meditation, how guiding is itself is a deep and transformative interpersonal practice. So we don’t only explore the external form of what we do and say; we also explore the internal form of how we are and relate. We explore the intimate feedback loop that exists between us, and how to negotiate these connections with presence and compassion, humility and responsibility.
We’re all about hands-on learning, so all creations will be workshopped as we go. This means, in small groups, you will practice both the writing and the guiding of meditation, always in a way that fits with your particular experience-level and interest. We are excited to share our passion for practice and community, and expect it to be a fun, provocative and transformative three days.
A Note on Certification
Although it’s a start, this workshop alone does not certify you to be a professional-level teacher. For that we recommend an advanced 200-hour training program. Of these, the program we know best is Unified Mindfulness (UM), which trains people in Shinzen Young’s rigorous system of mindfulness. For those who are interested, this workshop does counts as credit towards UM’s “outside learning” requirements.
That said, the real intention of this workshop is broader and more ambitious than any one profession or specialization: we want to help normalize and democratize the sharing of meditation practice, which at its most elemental is about basic inter-personal hygiene and responsibility. We think everyone should have a rudimentary understanding of the role of practice in life and society, as well as the dynamics of self-regulation – just as everyone should have a rudimentary understanding of the value of a healthy diet and physical exercise.
This is my fiercest personal belief, one I’ll defend until my dying day. Which isn’t a very meditative thing to say, but then, I’m not a very meditative meditation teacher. The good news of this workshop is you don’t need to be!
About the Teachers
Jeff Warren is a meditation instructor and journalist, celebrated for his accessible and pragmatic style of teaching. He is the co-author of The New York Times bestselling Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, and founder of The Consciousness Explorers Club, a nonprofit meditation educational group based in Toronto. Warren has successfully taught meditation to police officers, young offenders, social workers, and Google executives, among many others.
Julianna Raye began her career as a major label pop star on the rise in LA, until she bottomed out with showbiz angst and became … a meditation teacher! Apparently there’s life after “living the dream.” Twelve thousand hours of hardcore Zen and Mindfulness practice later, she is now the founder and head trainer at UnifiedMindfulness.com. For nearly two decades she’s trained individuals, groups and corporations in the art and science of mindfulness, with a particular focus on strategies that help people help themselves. Recently she led the training for a workplace mindfulness study carried out by stress and resiliency expert David Creswell at Carnegie Mellon University. The fascinating – and positive – outcomes of that study will be published this fall.