8.01 Introduction - text

“The rest of our lives”

Class Eight

Overview: In this 3.5 hour session, experiential mindfulness practice continues and participants are given ample opportunity to inquire into and clarify any lingering questions about the various practices and their applications in everyday life. A review of the program is included with an emphasis on daily strategies for maintaining and deepening the skills developed during the course of the program. Creating a satisfying closure by honoring both the end of this program and the beginning of the rest of your life.

Theme: Keeping up the momentum and discipline developed over the past 7 weeks in the meditation practice, both formal and informal. Review of supports to help in the process of integrating the learning from this program over time: books, recordings, graduate programs, free all day sessions for all graduates 4 times per year; mention retreat centers.

Hand out Hints and Reminders booklet with reading list and resources list.

Typical Class Sequence:

Body scan (coming full circle, since this is how class one begins.)

Yoga stretching, either guided or self-guided.

Sitting Meditation, mostly silent.

Optional: one or both of the following:

1) Guided reflection -what do you want to be sure to remember -something you’ve touched or learned about yourself. Option of setting three short-term (3 months) and three long-term (3 years or more) goals which come out of your direct experience in the program and with the meditation practice. Include potential obstacles to reaching these goals and your strategies for working with them. Participants write letters that include these themes and then seal them in envelopes which they self-address. Instructor collects envelopes and will mail them “sometime in the future.”

Or, 2) Complete post-program paperwork. (This may also be preceded by a guided reflection that incorporates some or all of the questions below.) As each participant completes their letter or paperwork they are placed in pairs by the instructor to discuss how the course has been for them.

Examples of questions:
(1) think back to why you came originally -expectations -and why you stayed;
(2) What did you want/hope for?
(3) What did you get out of the program, if anything? What did you learn?
(4) What sacrifices did you make? What were the costs to you? What obstacles did you encounter and what did you learn about yourself in working with these obstacles?
(5) How will you continue to practice when this program is over?

Group dialogue and discussion: Discuss the experience of practicing without recordings this week. Review the entire course and focus briefly on salient features.

Group go around -each, participant shares their experience of the course with the whole group, how they feel about the course ending, what they have learned, how they will keep the momentum of their practice moving and growing.

Final meditation and acknowledgement of the ending of this MBSR program.

Home Practice Assignment:

  • Go back to the recordings if you wish.
  • Keep up the practice and make it your own.