NP0010 Is Mindfulness Enough?

This blog focuses on discussion regarding the course NP0010 Is Mindfulness Enough?

NP0010, Mindfulness, Session 1, Jack Kornfield

Welcome to the latest New Perspectives on Practice series, “Is Mindfulness Enough?” This 7-part series will explore the benefits and limitations of both psychotherapy and mindfulness as well as the integration of these two wisdom traditions. In the first session with leading Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, he’ll discuss the erroneous belief that prayer and meditation is all that’s needed for personal transformation, talk about how to combine meditation with our daily activities, and describe how to bring the sacred into the practice of therapy.

Throughout the series, a Comment Board after each session will be available to you. The Comment Boards are a way for course participants to share thoughts and reflections about what was most interesting after each session and to ask questions of the presenters and of each other. We invite and encourage you to use these Comment Boards as a forum for thought and to continue the conversation sparked by each session. After listening to this first session, please just take a few minutes to engage in the Comment Board. What was most striking about this session? What questions do you have? 

Thank you so much for your participation, and welcome to this relevant and important series. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email support@psychotherapynetworker.org and they can help you.
09.26.2011   Posted In: NP0010 Is Mindfulness Enough?   By Psychotherapy Networker
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  • -0.1 avatar Linda Graham 09.28.2011 13:11
    "We are not human beings on a spiritual path; we are spiritual beings on a human path." I heard Jean Huston say at a Psychotherapy Networker Symposium a few years ago.

    Deep gratitude for the timeless wisdom of today.
    Linda Graham, San Rafael, CA
  • -0.1 avatar Mary Donahue 09.28.2011 13:13
    How do we impart the concept that Life is Suffering in a way in which individuals do not feel that their suffering is being taken lightly? Many individuals I have worked with see their own suffering as worse than any others
  • Not available avatar Merrilee Gibson 09.28.2011 13:14
    Thank you so much. Deeply appreciative of Dr. Kornfield's words, very enlightening and enriching. He provided a perspective which I find so broadening and valuable, both personally and as a therapist.
  • Not available avatar Kelsey Menehan 09.28.2011 13:14
    I really appreciated your assertion that there is little difference between being a spiritual teacher and doing psychotherapy (interesting that I used the word "doing" with psychotherapy...hmmm). I too have found little meaningful distinction between the two. We are communing with people about life and our place in it, and as you said, finding our way into the freedom and openness that is our birthright. I often have people pause at the beginning of a therapy session to settle, to breathe. Extending that longer...maybe even to 15 minutes...is a great idea that I want to try. Thank you for a very refreshing discussion, Rich and Jack, that I can feel in my body and mind.
  • 0 avatar neil mulholland 09.28.2011 13:14
    Thanks, very helpful.While discussion was helpful to me, I'm in the "converted" group. Question (for Jack)With other professional colleagues who are negative or critical to mindfulness, are ther any suggestions other than compassion? Thanks, Neil
  • 0 avatar Carole Palmer 09.28.2011 13:15
    It is wonderful to feel accompanied on this journey. Thank you for the dance!
    Best, Carole Palmer, Washington, DC
  • -0.1 avatar Wallace Kahn Jr. 09.28.2011 14:25
    Through mindfull practice (non-judgmental awareness in the present), do you devote attention to acceptance in any deliberate way? Thanks for an inspiring talk.
    Wally Kahn
  • Not available avatar gail smith lcsw 09.30.2011 19:23
    My new mantra "Notice if you forget to dance!"
  • Not available avatar suzan wookey 09.30.2011 22:44
    as someone who experienced the trauma of years of sexual abuse and found great benefit from western psychotherapy, it wasn't until i attended one of Jack's retreats that i found the deep healing that i longed for and which allowed a huge release of fear as i was held by great wisdom and compassion during a flashback to a very early trauma. years of psychotherapy prepared the ground for this release but, the practice of compassion allowed it to come forth. Thanks Jack. Much metta to you. And by the way how is Alberta doing?
  • 0 avatar Suzanne Midford 10.01.2011 04:38
    Very interesting and thought provoking.

  • Not available avatar Gail N. lmhc 10.01.2011 09:19
    Jack's suggestion to Rich regarding a client who feels the weight of the world (suffering)..."Honor the fact that you are sensitive enough that you experience it". This was very comforting, and also reminded me of the importance of not getting into the habit of trying to 'fix' one's 'problem' but instead to acknowledge and work toward a healthy acceptance of things that are not within our control. Jack's insights and wisdom have motivated me to go back and reread my books about Buddhist teachings and philosophy that are sitting on my shelf. Wonderful presentation and I look forward to the next.
  • Not available avatar Sandy H. 10.01.2011 10:35
    This interview with Jack Kornfield is outstanding!!! He is the embodiment of wisdom, compassion and generosity in his openness and sharing. Thank you, thank you for sharing this for free. Since I didn't need the CEUs I would have skipped it and what a loss that would have been!
  • Not available avatar wendy 10.01.2011 11:22
    Thank you Jack Kornfield so much. I found this inteview so helpful in validating the integration of the western and eastern traditions. How beautifully you created a powerful, mindful space for the young men so toughened by society as they pick stones to bring to their consciousness their loses and the deeper meanings/questions of their lives! Thank you Rich for making this seminar series free!! It has given me confidence that my computer can handle the stream for these seminars (future ones not free) and that my mind is hungry for hearing such dedicated, wise, compassionate and experienced speakers!!
  • 0 avatar carol allen 10.01.2011 13:56
    I'm not sure Jack said anything particularly new to me; but his presence, compassion, humility, and wisdom were SO inspiring. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to witness this interview.
  • Not available avatar Summer 10.01.2011 22:55
    What is standing out for me right now is the perspective that it is all suffering and moving toward an expanded consciousness and sense of self to hold that suffering rather than be very identified with it. I am so thankful for that kind of clarity to frame processes. Thank you.
  • 0 avatar Adam Szmerling 10.02.2011 01:06
    Appreciated what I heard as both the complexity and simplicity in the attempt at an integration of meditation and psychotherapy. And, to avoid attachment to psychotherapy, meditative practice, or anything else as the supposed holy grail of mental health or spiritual awakening. However as the name of this series questions whether mindfulness meditation is 'enough', I wasn't sure where to propose the following questions to Jack and the other presenters: 1. I am interested in exploring Buddhist views on Desire, specifically Desire as Freud and Lacan made it synonymous with the life drive in many ways, and how many Buddhists have stated desire is the root of suffering. Is there a major difference in the intended meaning of the word? I mean, if a 'goal' of (Buddhist) meditation is to eradicate suffering by somehow dissolving desire, and a goal of psychotherapy (again Freudian/Lacanian) is to help the patient to uncover, know and own her Desire (unique life force which is separate from the demands of others), how are the two methods possibly compatible? 2. In meditation who or what is the observer/witness, if not a part of the ego/false self? 3. Is it truly enough in psychotherapy or meditation to strengthen the observer/witness? Consider the following quote from Lacan (2001) “It is false to think that an analysis comes to a successful denouement because the analysand consciously realizes something... What is at stake is not a move from an unconscious level plunged in darkness, to the conscious level, the seat of clarity, by some mysterious elevator... What is at stake is not, in fact, a move to consciousness but, rather, to speech...and that speech must be heard by someone.”
    • Not available avatar Tom McGurie 10.02.2011 18:09
      Adam I would like the privilege of addressing the idea of suffering with you. You are correct to say that the first noble truth in Zen says that life is suffering. However it is useful to understand that there is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is a part of life. It is normal and natural that we experience pain. The suffering comes in when we add thoughts to the pain or judgments to the pain. Pain is neither good or bad it is "just is". Having thoughts such as "Why me" or "I hate feeling this way" starts our suffering. Suffering comes from trying to hold onto pleasant feelings or experiences or trying to push away pain or unpleasant feelings. The zen way is to not judge and not to hold on or push away but just accept the moment as it is. When we have desires knowing that we just accept that we have the desire but not suffering if we do not fulfill the desire is the idea.IMHO
  • Not available avatar Jules Confino, LMFT 10.02.2011 02:41
    Thank you Jack for your Wise words and wisdom. I have read the Wise Heart and to hear you share your knowledge and wisdom in such a free flowing style is indeed a warming experience that I can fully appreciate as a practitioner of therapy and Bhuddism. I particularly enjoyed hearing your conceptual way of working with gang bangers to help them disband their colors and culture and raise their awareness/consciousness to a be here now level of the real value and meaning of what life can be.
  • Not available avatar Susan M 10.02.2011 06:42
    Thank you Jack for having the courage to go to these places of suffering and fear and make it a little safer for the rest of us to accept the truth of suffering. Thank you for the reminder that there is a place we can inhabit of holding and being the mother to a suffering world - and that suffering is but one part of life. Thank you Rich for being so heartfelt about your own questions - you made it come alive for me - the difference between a talk and a conversation.
  • Not available avatar Renee Segal 10.02.2011 16:48
    What impacted me most about this webcast is Jack's peaceful presence. I am often struck by that when I meet encounter people who regularly meditate. I have a small meditation practice myself and Jack's comment about having people center by sitting before the therapy work begins was a great idea. People often come in after driving through rush hour traffic and struggle to calm down and don't get centered until about 1/2 way through the session sometimes. I plan on trying some mindfulness with them at the beginning of the session to see what happens. Again, thank you Rich. These webcasts are certainly a blessing, hearing from the best and brightest minds today in the comfort of my own surroundings at a convenient time for me is a gift beyond belief. Renee (from Mtka MN)
  • Not available avatar Rhenda 10.02.2011 19:56
    Thank you Jack & Rich for your genorosity of spirit in bringing this conversation to so many of us for free and for your openess throughout. I have been using Jack's wonderful soulful & pragmatic guides to meditation with groups of students for a number of years now & find they have given a sound foundation for practice. Particularly heartened to hear how beautifully and simply Jack described the work with the young men from the gangs-so inspiring! I'm greatly encouraged to continue to seek ways to create & weave the sacred into the work, inviting participation in simple ritual which helps to move everyone involved into a more mindfulness place. Hearing Jack speaking really helped tp crystalise much of what I have read by him. Namaste.
  • Not available avatar Peter Culross 10.02.2011 20:12
    Nice talk. I enjoyed Jack's presence and sense of freedom, humour and readiness to "dance", play, and tune in to the moment. I would have liked some attention to the similarity of the Buddhist approach to spirituality with other models of spirituality which many in the West relate to more easily. This is something I explore in my work looking at the different dimensions or levels of consciousness, in a holistic mind-body-spirit approach to personal growth.
    Peter Culross
  • Not available avatar Peter Culross 10.02.2011 20:20
    BTW, I think it was French priest and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) who first said that "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
    Peter Culross
  • Not available avatar jay schlechter 10.03.2011 02:46
  • Not available avatar Erika Budig 10.03.2011 13:08
    What a wonderful presentation today. I have already listened to it a couple of times and took as much away the second time as I did the first. I think that the experience of discovering another dimension of consciousness that one can inhabit in which to find their own resources of health and well-being is powerful. Thank you both for sharing this.
  • Not available avatar Phil Enns 10.03.2011 13:47
    As a long time Vipassana meditation practitioner and a psychotherapist in a community mental health clinic in Canada it is a great pleasure to hear and see a humble master of both the spiritual and psychological dimension of the human journey.
    With blessings and gratitude to Jack and Rich.
  • Not available avatar Carol McDermott 10.03.2011 21:33
    Many thanks for your many mindful comments. I wanted to hear your comments about "Time does not heal all things." I was fortunate during my masters program to follow Freud's requirement for personal therapy and was led to a psychologist who practiced Bhuddism. I did not realize this at the time, but I do now, and use what I've learned from her and my Yoga teacher in my practice. I love what you said.
  • Not available avatar Myrta Lange 10.04.2011 09:37
    Thank you for sharing and expanding our notion of self to one of a "spiritual being in a human path".
  • Not available avatar Diane Kirkman 10.04.2011 10:38
    Thank you, Jack and Rich, for such a personal and alive interview...and for making it so available. As a psychodynamic therapist for 30 years and new to Buddhist psychology, mindfulness and meditation practice, I am finding the information and experience profoundly helpful, both personally and in therapy.
  • Not available avatar Brenda Hartman 10.04.2011 14:31
    metta and many thanks to Jack and Rich for a wonderful discussion which affirmed my personal commitment to the dance of psychotherapy and meditation. blessings
  • 0 avatar Jacqueline Doherty 10.22.2011 07:21
    Thank you so much for an inspiring presence which revived my desire to work with myself and others. I understood better why meditation is not all and the need to relate is along side it.
  • Not available avatar Eva Berlander in Sweden 10.24.2011 12:50
    Thank you Jack and Rich!
  • 0 avatar LORRAINE C GRAY 10.31.2011 19:15
    Jack Kornfield is such an intriguing, compelling individual. I could have listened all day. His Ram Dass quote about remembering your Buddha nature and your social security number was hilarious. The sesiion left me excited for more.
  • 0 avatar Tamar Chansky 11.07.2011 12:54
    What a wonderful seminar. There were so many thought-provoking threads-- the story he shared about how he connected with the gang members who had suffered so much loss stands out in my mind. His description of what it is like to be with pain seeing it from the great sky of awareness was very moving. I had to replay the video several times to get the whole quote. It is both poetic and very accurately descriptive of what I think of a therapeutic process. I will be sharing it with patients. Thank you!
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