Free

Weekly Guided Mindfulness Meditation

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Location

Centre Place

320 Richmond St E - Unit 101

Toronto, ON M5A 1P9

Canada

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Event description
Guided mindfulness and interpersonal meditation for developing empathy & compassion. Join either session or both.

About this Event

Every Monday we get together for 45 minutes of guided mindfulness meditation with exercises for regulating breath, posture, and stream of thoughts. After a 15 minute break we dedicate one hour to interpersonal meditation, this consists of small group listening exercises for developing empathy and compassion, details below. You can join either session or both. Arriving late or leaving early? Not a problem! Here's the schedule:

  • 5:30 - Venue opens, arrive when you can, have some tea, meditate.
  • 6:00 - Guided mindfulness starts
  • 6:45 - Break with complimentary snacks and beverages
  • 7:00 - Interpersonal meditation (description below)
  • 8:00 - Informal group sharing, more snacks and beverages

Our approach brings together the modern, secular mindfulness techniques and research, as well as the perspectives of the ancient contemplative traditions from East and West.

Cost

There is no cost for this event but donations (minimum $10 suggested) are greatly appreciated. This allows us to offer this program to everyone regardless of their current financial situation.

About Interpersonal Meditation

Interpersonal Meditation (a.k.a. Deep Listening, Active Listening, True Listening, Sacred listening) is a mindfulness exercise where one person speaks briefly on topic or question, while the other(s) fully listen, focusing the attention on the words, silence, body language, emotional state of the speaker. The key is letting go of thinking about what to say in response. A moderator keeps the tempo so that everyone has a chance to speak and listen. It is a mindfulness practice because the listener must be present, having an attitude of openness, acceptance, non-judgement, and loving-kindness, just like when we do silent meditation on our own.

This practice is based on the wisdom, techniques, and principles of mindfulness meditation bringing the focal point towards other people. The goal is to cultivate awareness of one another, empathy, compassion and ultimately, connect with other human beings leaving prejudice and bias aside. For those already familiar with mindfulness, the added component will be the inter-personal connection: empathy and compassion take centre place.

When you mindfully listen, when you are truly listening without reacting or thinking about what to say in response, your mirror neurons get activated. These are pathways of neurons that light up in the brain of the listener mirroring the brain of the speaker. This allows the listener to experience in their own body the emotion that the listener is having. In turn, the speaker feels heard, understood, and felt which makes them feel safe and at ease.

As your mirror neurons allow you to feel in your own body the emotions the other is communicating, it can be taxing on the listener, who may experience empathy exhaustion. This is why it’s important to turn the empathy into compassion. From the perspective of neuroscience, empathy and compassion activate different parts of our brain, and the main difference from the practical viewpoint is that with compassion you have an intention or willingness to help the person. In other words, compassion is empathy plus your feeling that you are helping or that you want to help. In order to switch from the circuitry of empathy to the one of compassion, the listener must feel that they are helping. Simply by feeling that you are helping the person who talks you can avoid that empathy exhaustion that many people report. On the other hand, empathizing can teach us a lesson on how we can be with our own emotions without identifying with, and drowning in them.

Important to know

Strong perfumes can make some people sick, and strong body odours can be very unpleasant and distracting. Let's be considerate and make this a scent-neutral space.

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Location

Centre Place

320 Richmond St E - Unit 101

Toronto, ON M5A 1P9

Canada

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