On Learning Mindfulness with a Group

I’m an introvert. There is no one who wants to believe that we don’t need other people more than I. But alas . . . When I took my first class in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) I did it grudgingly after I couldn’t find a self-paced, on-demand class. In other words, I wanted to do it myself. As in, BY myself. Alone. But it wasn’t possible at the time (and it is now, and if that’s all you can do, by all means, do it!).

Group Mindfulness

There I was, in a group of people I had nothing in common with, being as skeptical as humanly possible (which, trust me, is pretty skeptical), and words cannot describe the experience. It sucked in so many ways, but it forever changed me for the better. Fast forward a few years, when I took MBSR again, online (live–not on-demand), re-skeptical because, after all, how could an online class provide an experience anywhere near as profound as an in-person one. Again, mind blown.

The Common Denominator? Group Learning

In retrospect, I’m so fortunate that I didn’t have a choice about how to learn MBSR. I was forced (if I wanted to learn) to show up every week along with a bunch of people, some of whom I actually knew, which was initially very strange. Until it wasn’t. Here’s the thing: group dynamics provide us with real-time feedback and support that are simply impossible in an on-demand, self-paced situation. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable and you trust your teacher and you feel like you are safe to be you, it can be a most glorious experience, whether in-person or online. And knowing people in your class prior to the class? It can become irrelevant.

What’s so Glorious?

Trust. Confidentiality. A safe space to experience and report on what it’s like to be you. The realization that as unique and special as you are, in many ways you are just like everyone else. The commonality in shared humanity can be surprising. And heartwarming. And empathy-producing. That person you knew before the class whom you had all kinds of narratives about? You might be surprised by the shifts in your narrative.

Calling All Introverts & Extroverts

If you’re mindfulness-curious and you want to experience it for a bit and get a taste of an actual class, I invite you to a free Intro to MBSR on either Tuesday, March 3 at 10am, ET, or Wednesday, March 4, at 1pm, ET. I hope to see you soon!