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Posts Tagged ‘Deborah Schoeberlein’

From Shambhala SunSpace.

In this excerpt from Deborah Schoeberlein’s new book, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything, we learn what mindfulness is, what it isn’t, and how the benefits of its practice might show themselves.

Mindfulness isn’t a panacea for the world’s problems, but it does provide a practical strategy for working directly with reality. You might not be able to change certain things in your life, at work, or at home, but you can change how you experience those immutable aspects of life, work, and home. And the more present you are to your own life, the more choices you have that influence its unfolding.

With mindfulness, you’re more likely to view a really challenging class as just that, “a really challenging class,” instead of feeling that the experience has somehow ruined your entire day. Purposefully taking a mental step back, in order to notice what happened without immediately engaging with intense emotions and reactions, provides a kind of protection against unconstructive responses and the self-criticism that can slip out and make a hard thing even harder. Even just pausing to take a breath can help you slow down, see a broader perspective and redirect the energy of the situation.

I’ve had moments (as I’m sure have you) when a cascade of little annoyances gathered momentum and I lost it—only to regret my outburst later. Developing mindfulness promotes awareness of the cascade, but from a distance. This way, I have a better chance of working with my assumptions without losing my perspective. Annoyances can be events that don’t have to gain momentum, rather than triggers for more and more difficulty. Mindfully noticing the discrepancy between what I wanted to accomplish and what I actually achieved provides useful information without the distraction of unproductive anger, frustration, or disappointment.

I’ve also known days when one challenging class rattled me to my core and poisoned whatever came next. Even after school, such experiences often lingered—as if the actual class weren’t bad enough, the ongoing mental repercussions were worse. If this has happened to you, then you’ll know exactly how painful and frustrating this feels. It’s easy to torment yourself by questioning your competence as a teacher when a forty-five minute class can cause you to take students’ poor behavior personally and lose your center. Even reflecting, “I should have handled that differently since I’m a professional after all—and I’m the adult in a room full of kids!” doesn’t really provide any practical guidance for the future.

So what’s the answer? Put simply, part of it is all about mindfulness: practice and application, and more practice and yet more application. Practice begins with developing mindfulness in a calm, quiet place, a place where the practice is comparatively easy. Application is about walking into a more challenging situation in real life, like your most difficult class, with increased skills and the confidence to help you stay focused, present, flexible, and available. Should you lose the quality of mindfulness you’ll eventually notice what’s happened. And when you do, you can practice returning your attention to paying attention, and redirect your awareness onto the experience of awareness. As you practice and apply mindfulness, you’ll gain skills that will help you accurately assess challenges and handle them with greater ease.

Having techniques that help you manage your own experiences and emotions is more comfortable than feeling powerless as a result of your emotions and habits or, worse, buffeted about by the changing winds of other people’s behaviors and the environment. It’s a simple fact of life that we cannot change other people to suit our will. Yet you can change your own habits and your relationship to your reactions—but reaching that goal requires effective strategies.

For more check out the book here.

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The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“How fortunate we are to have access to these brilliant teachings given by the Dalai Lama in Toronto in 2004 and now impeccably translated by his principal English translator, Thubten Jinpa. The first half of the book presents the Buddhist path to enlightenment à la Nagarjuna. The second half shows how to put the key elements into practice, and it is here that His Holiness offers a beautiful explanation of Lama Tsongkhapa’s Three Principal Aspects of the Path – true renunciation, the altruistic wakening mind and the correct view of emptiness. A truly inspiring book.”

A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency edited by John Stanley, David R. Loy, and Gyurme Dorje

“At last – a clear exposition of our responsibilities as Buddhists in dealing with the enormous challenge of saving our planet. Two of the world’s most influential Buddhists – His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh – are joined by many rinpoches and leading Buddhist scholars in helping us to define our roles. Our individual and our ecological predicaments are remarkably similar and the persuasive voices in this book help us to understand this – and give us some tools to “take corrective action to ensure a safe-climate future,” as His Holiness puts it. Please read this book!”

Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English: An Introductory Guide to Deeper States of Meditation by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

“It’s been nearly two decades since the bestselling Mindfulness in Plain English was published, and this new book is a classic in the making. It shows us that having faith in the Buddha, and applying a healthy striving with sincerity and energy, will guide us towards wisdom. This does seem so achievable, as the author gives us the theory, piece by piece and voila! Mindfulness in perfect balance. Of course we have to get rid of some hindrances along the way but the goal is worth it.”

Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything by Deborah Schoeberlein

“Mindfulness is definitely going mainstream. It belongs in the classroom, and parents will hope that their children encounter teachers like Schoeberlein – someone who is fully present and therefore teaches better. And parents themselves will benefit greatly from this book which is a treasure trove of techniques. An apple for this teacher, for sure.”

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