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Maitri Meditation and Internal Family Systems
January 11 - January 12£60 – £120
What is maitri meditation?
Maitri meditation offers a really powerful and useful practice for understanding what makes us tick. It also gives us the means to love ourselves wisely. This weekend is drawing on Alistair Appleton’s work as a therapist and his experience as a meditator in the Buddhist tradition.
Much of Buddhism is grounded on an exploration of love. The Tibetan teacher, Chögyam Trungpa calls appreciation of others “compassion”. Appreciation of our selves is called “maitri”. The one without the other is, he says, a ‘dead-end’.
Some of us rush towards helping, caring and looking after others in the name of compassion. But without a deep appreciation of the structure of our own being then our love tends to be tangled and distorted. The practice of ‘maitri’ is the practice of bringing warmth, wisdom and curiosity to the structure of existence we call “self”.
The importance of the body in maitri meditation
The ground of maitri is the embodied awareness of love. We don’t create or generate this sense of tenderness and warmth. We feel it flowing into our bodies from the world around us.
This is why access to the body is so crucial to all aspects of compassion and love. Without a good grounding in somatic or embodied practice, our loving tends to stay conceptual. It becomes prey to the distortions of our own histories. In contrast, embodied love is shockingly real.
The first element in this practice of maitri meditation is to come into the body. In our bodies we connect with the field of warmth and tenderness that is in the core of our being. Somatic practices gives a direct portal into this field of “unconditional bodhicitta”. It can be very uplifting and startling to find it so simply.
The role of Internal Family Systems in maitri meditation
In his work as a therapist, Alistair has seen how effective and illuminating the Internal Family Systems model is. It was developed by the American psychotherapist Richard Schwartz, IFS gives a way of staying embodied in a field of open-hearted awareness (“Self” with a capital S). From this you grow aware of the multiple structures of our “little self” (with a small s). This weekend will be exploring how we can use the IFS model in our practice to truly bring our self into the field of maitri.
In this weekend we’ll be exploring:
- the fundamental exercises of somatic meditation that dissolve unnecessary bodily tension
- opening into a sense of the ‘Big Self’ through the somatic portal of the heart
- relaxing back into a field of warmth and tenderness
- becoming aware of the ‘parts’ the play out in our existence
- understanding the IFS categories of firefighters, managers and exiles
- learning to work with our parts from a place of open-hearted curiosity, compassion and ease
- laying the basis for internal openness and peace
- opening the heart forward to connect with other people real existence and pain
What you can expect on a Mindsprings weekend course
- We aim to provide a safe, friendly and tolerant space to explore the benefits of body-based meditation
- There’s a good mix of teaching, experiential practice, and discussion. Talking helps make sure we’ve got it.
- Some practices are done lying down, some sitting up. Weather permitting, we may work outside too.
- Alistair’s training as a therapist is always available for one-on-one support when things arise during practice
- We start at 10am and finish at 5pm each day – with an hour’s break for lunch and some tea/pee breaks
- You’ll receive electronic notes and a recording of the teaching and guided meditation after the course.
- After the weekend, we will try and keep the group together online and with email updates
How to book and financial support
Mindsprings tries to offer good quality instruction at a reasonable cost. We offer a concessionary rate to anyone who is struggling financially, to students and to the unemployed. We never want to turn someone away because they can’t pay. However, the full-price tickets help subsidise these cheaper places, so we ask people to use their discernment when buying a concession.