Being Present with Suffering
Saturday 23 November 2019 - London
A one-day seminar led by Nigel Wellings and Elizabeth Wilde McCormick
There is something about everything that makes it not quite satisfactory. Even things we really love are spoilt by not being quite enough or – the opposite – going on too long. People entering psychotherapy want to feel better – more authoritative, less anxious or depressed, more whole – and although it can help, an enormous amount of difficult and painful emotions continue to arise. After years and years of therapy many of us feel as mad as ever. There is no ‘happy ever after’. This all begs the question; what is the place of suffering in human experience and how best can we be with it?READ MORE...
This day picks up this question and answers by saying that discontent and unhappiness are inevitable parts of our human experience but there are ways to avoid adding further unnecessary suffering. By becoming mindfully present, accepting and kind, we may enfold what hurts us in a more spacious and meaningful way. Together we will cultivate our ability to be present with emotions felt in the body and maybe get a glimpse of how emotions dissolve in the open space of awareness.
Nothing to Lose: Psychotherapy, Buddhism and Living Life by Nigel Wellings and Elisabeth Wilde McCormick (Woodyard Publications, 2005).
Registration and coffee
Suffering, Buddhist and psychotherapy
One of the more pervasive symptoms of our discontent is the experience of emptiness and yet the same word is used in Buddhism to describe its deepest and most transformative truth. Apparently polar opposites, could these two understandings of emptiness – psychotherapeutic and the Buddha’s Dharma – shed a deeper, more realistic light on the inevitability of suffering and how we best accommodate this?
Elizabeth Wilde McCormick
Suffering in Loss and Bereavement
This presentation will explore the value of different cultural and therapeutic approaches to bereavement with attention to ways in which this challenging human experience, common to us all, may be supported rather than over-medicalised or limited by unmanageable goals. Bereavement can become a rite of passage where life and death, darkness and light are experienced within the safe embrace of unconditional friendliness.
(Choose a workshop on arrival:)
Workshop A: Experiential Workshop with Nigel Wellings
Being present with Suffering within the Body
“How can I be with my destructive emotional reactions? Left to their own devises I end up either swamped or trying to swallow things down.” Here we have a third way – up-close and mindful. Fully present with the sensations of emotions felt in the body as they peak and wane. And there is one step more. Thoughts and emotions, like clouds, arise within the sky of spacious awareness. Can we shift our sense of location into awareness itself and the freedom this implies?
Workshop B: Experiential Workshop with Elizabeth McCormick
Mindfulness and Inner Dialogue
This experiential workshop will draw on the understanding of our embeddedness in a web of relationship and the description from Cognitive Analytic Therapy of reciprocal roles. Participants will be invited to practice a reflective, non judgmental way of being with learned patterns of responses in relationship, inner and outer, so that a new more spacious and compassionate dance of relationship may begin.
Plenary with Q&A