I arrived in Sydney yesterday and have found my way to Gosford, Australia until I leave today into the 5 week retreat. At times, writing a blog seems to be a difficult task verses my intention to share knowledge and insight into health, sexuality and mindfulness. Writing about this retreat hit me with just that difficulty. Today it appears the cloudiness of writing a blog has parted. Either it’s the time warp one feels when traveling aboard (17 hour time change) or Hotel Gosford’s paper thin walls and the corner room above the noisiest street in Gosford, that grounded me into “ready for silent retreat mode”.
Today I will travel into Kincumber to St. Joseph’s Spiritual Center for 5 weeks for the Cultivating Emotional Balance Teacher’s Training (CEBTT). Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCSF, Paul Ekman, is renown for his research in emotions and micro-facial movements, along with Alan Wallace, founder of the Santa Barbara Institute of Consciousness Studies and earned his PhD from Stanford in Religious Studies, created this program.
The first two weeks, Eve Ekman (Paul Ekman’s daughter), will cover the current concepts on emotions and micro-facial movements that are displayed, regardless of gender, ethnic and cultural heritage, on the face when angry, happy, surprised, sad, fearful, disgusted and showing contempt. The following 3 weeks will be spent with Alan Wallace in meditation and how to apply meditative methods to facilitate emotional stabilization with emotional states that take us off center. The retreat is spent in silence other than during class time the first two weeks and Q & A times in evenings.
The typical response from my family, friends, and patients about this endeavor was met with great support and curiosity about the length of being in retreat and the utilization of the program. While I may say I feel ready to engage in a longer retreat at this time, I have no doubt that my mind will have much to say about what was I thinking about half way into this. But my deepest wish for this program is that I may be helpful to my patients and mindfulness students in guiding them toward a more stable mind and warm heart.
With the rise in unhealthy habits of body and mind, that display themselves from obesity, anxiety disorders, addiction, killings, pollution, etc… unless we develop and cultivate strategies that begin to stabilize the unstable, we will experience more devastation and hardships.
Mahatma Gandhi said “be the change you wish to see in the world”. I leave into retreat with this wish for myself. That I may be a change agent and develop greater well-being for myself with the intention of offering that to others. My sincere gratitude to Alan Wallace and Dr.’s Ekman for their teachings in CEBTT and may it flourish in this world that needs it most at this time.