In Your Own Skin is a continuous, consolidating group experience.
In this course I am synthesising some of the key pearls of my learnings and apprenticing them in an intimate group environment. I have been teaching for over ten years now and it feels like ripe timing to run a mentorship program.
I’m witnessing a readiness within the practising community for another level of engagement both on and off the cushion. I’m struck and heartened by people’s rigorous application in their practice and in other domains. In Your Own Skin is a more continuous and supported container, rather than a series of one – off experiences.
A deeper settling and an alive springing off the cushion.
Personal practice is the training ground and incubator for one’s own inner resources. There comes a time where the congruence and authenticity of our practice begins to translate outwardly. With this sometimes comes a relational inclination to facilitate others’ deeper experiences of insight, freedom and expression.
Who is this program for?
This is for people that feel ready for a deeper digestion of the teachings and a more potent expression of their own voice. People may be already facilitating groups, or interested to in the future – or are simply drawn to a continuous group container without knowing exactly where this will lead.
For me the call to go deeper lead me to spend time with mentors and friends including Jaya Ashmore, Christopher Titmuss, Ajay Singh, Gemma Polo, Carol Perry and Sofia Diaz. This work felt so rich and sane to me so I sought some more continuous and steadfast bearings within it. Being in the company of these practitioners (and other artists) assisted in sparking my own practice and distinct expression.
This year long group mentorship program is offered in the same spirit; to support authentic practice and action that has its own timing and can take exciting and unexpected turns. Traditional teachings and practices will be woven with artistry and poetics to be relevant to our lives and concerns in a contemporary context.
My intention here is to support people’s own sovereign connection to the work.
People will be encouraged to settle into their own skin, exploring contemplative depth, alert to the sometimes tyranny and fearing movement of the mind. We will explore what it is to be held in connection to a wider network, and be mobilised into action by care for self and other. In this manner we are steered towards contributing in a way that is generative for ourselves and others.
Practices supports us to ‘get under’ habits of striving and egoic whim. It allows meditative insight to open new doors in our lives. This demands trust, fidelity and engaged listening to the inner process. There is power and energy in this. We can see and ‘back’ what genuinely and distinctly wants to emerge into fruition in our lives.
We will explore ‘not holding back’, honing the courage and fortitude to follow through on inner prompts towards action aligned to our vision. The unique character, painful (but) fruitful cracks, and gifts in each of us will be taken into account.
“The divine wants to make love to the world through our uniqueness”, R.Tagore
Course outline – 4 modules
1. Natural inheritance
Highlighting people’s own gifts, skills and backgrounds – where they have been instinctively steered already. Practice is situated in a wider picture of people’s lives. There is a willingness to want to wake up to all facets of life, the whole world is viewed as our monastery. There is a special focus on livelihood; where and how we want to place ourselves and contribute. This will include opportunities to close some doors and open new doors; inwardly and outwardly.
– Sparking (and re-membering) heartfelt motivation for practice
– To hone particular gifts and growth edges (areas that might need attention)
– Fine-tuning an integrated approach to our practice and daily lives; ‘waking up to all facets’
– Attention to livelihood and action; to the work we are doing or are interested to pursue
– Group process as compassion – witness – heart in action
2. Understanding Dharmic principles
Continuing to deepen into core understandings of the Buddha Dharma. Integrated daily practice. This includes, along with the work in our face to face group meetings, a body of teachings and 2 on-line courses;
Deep Ground – exploring foundational teachings & practices, and
Fresh Springs – teachings & practices on activating the heart
– Consolidation of core teachings
– Access and understanding of key tools to work skilfully and kindly with our experience
– Space for wisdom to flash through / insight into we are and who we aren’t
– Deepening compassion for self and other
3. Building and holding a container for transformation
We will be looking at how to create a space which optimises the conditions for transformation – ethics, compassion and wisdom. The course covers the qualities of a transformative space and why are they important in settling the mind and creating safety for the work to take place. An important element of this includes how we skilfully facilitate transformative process for others; how our practice becomes a resource for others.
– Knowledge, skills and practice in creating a transformative space and process
4. Expression! Instructor / Facilitator / Transmitter
One of the key purposes of this course is to weave dharmic understanding and self understanding into one’s own voice.
It’s one thing to sit alone in practice and to be privately fueled by our deepest concerns for this life – it’s another to begin articulating what’s important to us and revealing our heart in a wider social context. This is no small thing. We may never feel we are ready, or ready enough. What I’ve seen is that congruency brings life and energy; it feels good when we are lined up, and it can serve greater purposes.
– To look at how dharma understandings might be translated and integrated into the particular realms of facilitation
– Attention to the connection between the inner realm and the outer realm; and a skillful fashioning of congruency
– To be able to embody and articulate our insight, experience and understanding of the teachings in the company of others
– Consideration to how you might draw on your experience, insight and conceptual understanding of the teachings to give a dharma talk and meditation instructions
2 x weekend retreats
9 x small group sessions / inquiries
3 x one to one private mentoring sessions
A curriculum of private study and personal practice
Participation in 2 x online courses
We won’t be running a mentorship program in 2021. For info about future programs please join the newsletter list (on the home page).
Most sessions will take place at Abbotsford Convent, therefore participants would be based near Melbourne.
For those interested in certification, this course is not a Registered Course or a Diploma. My authorisation to teach the dharma came after apprenticing myself to the dharma and my teachers. My teachers observed my unfolding over many years and invited me to teach at the appropriate time.
My purpose in offering the mentoring program is to support congruent ripening and practice and not striving. This is about genuine growth and right timing.
For all students who successfully complete the course I will provide a written statement of completion that can be used in CVs and resumes. For students interested in Dharma teaching, I will follow my tradition of bestowing an oral authorisation, in consultation with senior teachers.
To spark; to light up and consolidate so there is a clear foundation to spring from.