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Mindfulness Workshop at Kyoto Temple

Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto was the perfect place for our workshop on Heartful Leadership / Heartful Family. Its peaceful atmosphere enveloped us all with warmth and serenity. With family specialist Steven Parker and a lively and receptive group of participants, we worked on ways of communicating and co-existing that lead to compassionate relationships at home and at work.

A theme of the day was the value of living mindfully, with beginner's mind, cherishing each moment as a precious, once-in-a-lifetime gift. We reflected on the importance of giving attention to our habitual ways of acting and speaking, noticing how they do or do not transmit our true feelings. We affirmed the belief that we all can live more loving and fulfilling lives that spread compassion to those we encounter. Although Parker and I were both trained as psychotherapists, we expressed our belief that insight is overrated and that change requires action, with the courageous intention to live a better life.

We also had stimulating conversations with Shunkoin Reverend Taka Kawakami and Dr. Jean Kristeller, co-founder and past-president of the Center of Mindful Eating. We shared our thoughts and experiences of the promises and dangers of the Mindfulness movement as it enters the areas of popular culture, healing, business, and profit. We all walk a fine line between using mindfulness for personal and societal well being and being lured into areas where it becomes a way for us to feed our egos and fill our pockets. As our work enters the public sphere, having colleagues like Steven, Taka, and Jean help to remind me to keep focus on the greater good that motivates us to devote ourselves to this work.

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