an excerpt from “the mindful heart” (2018)

an excerpt from “the mindful heart” (2018)

“If mindful communication training could be reduced to one phrase, it would be ‘creating space.’ The space we’re longing for is the simple, human experience of opening. Read through this paragraph and then put this book down for a moment and walk to the nearest window. Take a deep breath, relax and look out. There it is. In this space of the present moment a shift takes place. This is your life. This is your world. It is communicating with you right now. It’s calling to you with colors, forms, sounds, scents, touch and taste. You don’t need a whole new set of skills to find it. And there’s no ‘wrong answer.’ Your conversation partner, the present moment, is always right here, speaking. Take a moment to listen.”

“Give it a try right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.”

———————–

“What did you notice? Like a window, like our breath itself, the present moment seems to expand and contract, open and close. You might have experienced anything. Bird songs. Traffic noise. The stuffiness of the space or the coolness of a breeze. The feeling of the carpet under your feet. All of it.”

“In many modern societies, we’ve been stuck for a long time in the contraction—the closed approach to our senses. Along the way, we’ve forgotten the value of openness. I heard a psychologist being interviewed on the radio comment recently that if we were open all the time we’d never be able to function. If we stay with the wakefulness of our body, wouldn’t we be spaced out, distracted by every sense perception, like a stoned hippie? And what would it be like to be so open minded as to have no opinions? Worst of all, how dangerous would it be to be openhearted all the time—so vulnerable with no defences against being hurt? These are reasonable concerns and they reflect what mindfulness training can seem like from the outside looking in. But mindfulness is not what it seems. These concerns are real, but they’re like mistakenly thinking the language of poetry is literal. Or like making a logical argument about what music should sound like. Because they’re based on misunderstandings, they don’t match reality. Mindfulness is an experience. Like growing up. Like a kiss. Like drinking cool clear water.”

“To understand the principles of the Mindful Heart approach, we need to take a leap of faith and learn to trust our direct experience. Connecting with our bodies is a great way to start.”

(The Mindful Heart Communication Workbook will be available later in 2018 from Susan Gillis Chapman and Gregory Heffron)

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Senior Mindful Communication Instructor Gregory Heffron MFA owns and manages Green Zone Institute. He was the first certified teacher of Mindful Communication authorized by Susan Gillis Chapman. He has been teaching Mindful Communication workshops since 2009, and has been a mindfulness meditation teacher since 2005. In 2005, he apprenticed with senior Mudra Space Awareness teacher Craig Smith, and became authorized to teach this unique mind-body meditation technique — included in nearly every workshop. In 2007, Greg co-taught with Smith to fourth year students in the Dance Division at the Julliard School in New York. Greg teaches Mindful Communication and Mudra Space Awareness primarily in North America and Europe. In 2003 Greg graduated with an MFA in Nonfiction Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. He coaches individuals, teaches workshops, and consults with businesses and organizations like Shambhala Mountain Center, Dechen Choling Buddhist Retreat Center and others.