My Mindfulness group has changed


Besides this blog, I run a mindfulness group for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), a sort of free Red Cross for mental issues. NAMI rents space inside Eugene county mental health building.

Just entering the building, seeing people in dire need waiting in the lobby, makes me aware of the gratitude I have for my blessings.

My mindfulness group is not like a Zen center, with souls looking to be awakened like Buddha, but with people in need of help.

Whether it be depression, bi-polar disorder, PTSD or another disorder, they are looking for relief, a way to heal and stop the suffering.

I have learned from experience that my presentation needs to be simple, direct and concrete. My first goal is to impart the tools needed to meditate for five minutes on their own.

Starting them off with short time frames to meditate has worked best. My goal is to initiate a daily practice, a short time to dedicate to healing.

No matter the condition, thoughts are the big problem. Some are haunted by early sexual abuse, some have a disorder, others are lost in doubt, worry and fear.

Complex things have little chance of working.


It is hard for them to focus intently and let go. They believe the thoughts that are haunting them.


Hearing for the first time, that thoughts are like air when we let them go, catches their attention. Thoughts have driven them nuts for a long time.

We work on awareness and acceptance. We work on staying present and observing what our senses attach to.


Simplicity and brief tasks stand the best chance to be used when they are on their own.


I have found that my most valuable skill is the ability to inspire them to practice.
My knowledge  means nothing to them without their daily practice.


I tell them, you will heal yourselves from the inside in small incremental successes.
The goal and path are simple, clear and concrete. I refrain from abstract things and focus on the concrete basics.

Last meeting one person shared with a new member, Marty loves the basics and reinforces them over and over.


I smiled knowing that is the path. Seems to simple and small but contains our greatest power, our mind.

Please share your thoughts and ideas.

6 responses to this post.

  1. NAMI is a great organization, and I’m sure you are making a tremendous impact. I agree with you, small and repeatable is best.

  2. Thank you for the input

    It is hard to know our impact but I know giving is in the road to happiness

  3. What a powerful approach to take.

  4. …”We work on awareness and acceptance. We work on staying present and observing what our senses attach to.” What a wonderful group to both lead and also be a part of.

  5. Thanks for sharing and for the gratitude

  6. Thank you

    My awareness led me to my current approach

    Need to practice what we teach

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