May 17 – Mindfully living with the virus

Yeshe Buddhist Group warmly invites you to join us in our continuing teachings on Mindfully Living with the Virus.

Prayers, meditation, teachings and discussion on how the practice of Mindfulness and Buddhist psychology enables us to transform suffering and fear into meaningful and beneficial actions.

Led by Ondy Willson.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86913601441?pwd=UFlNMy9TWmFtaXJiWS9XdzRUNXF1UT09

Meeting ID: 869 1360 1441
Password: 012063

May 14 – World Yoga Festival class

Invited by World Yoga Festival, Ondy will lead us in reflecting on how Mindfulness Psychology can support us during challenging times, and guide us in a meditation that supports our resilience and mental wellbeing. This is the first of what she hopes will be a series of sessions offering 15 minutes of an empowering and inspiring teaching, followed by a 25 minute meditation to embed the learning. Leave refreshed and motivated.

Thursday 14th May at 16.00 (UK time)

First Session FREE. Following sessions charged at £5

Note the updated link: 

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88577312536?pwd=Mm1DOHpzT2IweWpGbm5BaFdkV3lZUT09

Meeting ID: 885 7731 2536
Password: 013693

For more info, contact: ondy@wellseeingconsultancy.co.uk

Mindfully living with the virus

Ondy Willson

When life throws us lemons, make lemonade

This sounds simplistic but it is the basic premise for mindfulness training – that we have a choice how to respond to anything. However, before we can make lemonade, we need to know how; and in the same way, if we want good mental health then mindfulness training provides the recipe and methodology.

There is no magic potion for pain and suffering

With any practice that manages mental wellbeing, we need to be aware that nothing is a panacea to pain and suffering. I am reminded of how when I wanted sympathy from a friend when I was going through a difficult time she gave me antidotes. She was versed in positive psychology and immediately pointed out the benefits latent in my experience. This was not what I wanted to hear right then. I needed consolation and understanding – a hug, tea and sympathy. She meant well but was perhaps herself unable to face my pain and so misjudged her response. 

Some states of mind cannot be counselled

Practising mindfulness acknowledges that sometimes a state of mind cannot be counselled. That is when we are least open to advice as our minds close down with loss and pain. At such times, mindfulness can help, but we need an understanding about the mind itself first.

We can apply mindfulness psychology to prevent burn out, break down and despair

To manage our minds we need to know its nature. If we understand that our minds are like streams flowing continually, collecting all kinds of muck and rubbish – bad habits that pollute us with negative and destructive attitudes – we can get a clearer idea of how to clean up our acts. Just as we can clean up the rivers before they are clogged up and poisoned, we can apply mindfulness psychology to prevent burn out, break down and despair.

All states of mind are impermanent

Negative thoughts are not only fueled by impassioned emotions like anger and jealousy, but also troubling emotions like fear, grief and anxiety. With these latter states of mind, we need to apply especially sensitive antidotes. All these states of mind require recognition of the transitory nature of everything. That everything is in flux is a fundamental truth.

We have little, or no, control over external events

Let’s time-travel back to Pre-Virus Living. Think about a time when you weren’t thinking about imminent death or ruin. Remember that state of mind? It wasn’t so long ago that we were planning holidays, new jobs, relationships as if we had control over our lives. Even though we know that through experience, we do not have control over anything. Yesterday’s mind seems like freedom now….another reality! 

None of us know what will come first, our next breath or death

It is this idea that we have some kind of control over our lives that we need to consider. Today’s mind, with the world in a ravaged state and no end in sight can understand that no insurance policy, no job or house can give us control over life and death. We are all subject to dramatic change beyond our control at any time. They say we are only two steps away from homelessness. Actually, we don’t know for sure what will be our next step… a breath or death.

We can become our own therapists – guides to our own inner peace

Understanding about impermanence, and how the mind operates, is crucial to our happiness, offering us a degree of control over our wellbeing. Without this understanding, life will toss us around, and we will cling to everyone and everything as if they will last forever, becoming distraught when they inevitably leave us or we lose it, and our mental and emotional states will torture us. Not waving but drowning. When we understand this, there is an immediate experience of release because it just makes sense. There is a way out! It is not reliant on belief or even science, but on our own experience. We become our own therapists – guides to inner peace. Happiness and wellbeing are not dependent on external factors but on internal resources.

Present day pain- future hope

There is a view that the virus is offering us hope for the future. This is a macro-cosmic view. The planet is healing as traffic grinds to a halt and land and water becomes purified. So, yes, the virus is good for the planet. Some might also say that the loss of life, especially of the old and infirm is also healthy for the planet. There are too many humans putting demand on too many resources. This is also true. I personally find it hard to argue with, and I am considered “old” and therefore one of those more at risk. BUT at the micro-centre are individuals, all shouldering enormous burdens. Usually it takes history for us to be objective, so having a universal view also needs present day empathy for the individuals – the victims of this deadly virus. 

Grief and sorrow can be transformed

When we arise from those deeper levels of grief and sorrow, mindfulness will support us to help prevent grief falling into despair, anxiety into neurosis and sorrow into depression.

There is no enemy or friend

We can view the virus as an enemy or a friend, much in the same way that we can view anyone as either. For example, if we consider our friends to be those who accompany us on our pursuits of hedonistic and materialistic madness then good luck with that! They may seem like fun but they will drag you down with them and reject you when you are in need. However, if we consider a true friend to be one who really has our backs, wants us to be well and happy, then the virus could be just that if we choose to consider what it might be giving us – the human race. 

There are gifts in everything

The gifts of the virus is something Bill Gates has also been considering. He is quoted as saying:

“I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad. As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel the Corona/ Covid-19 virus is really doing to us: It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what we do, not what we were created to do. Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.”

We can feel for others and develop positive qualities

And there is the true gift. Connection. Whatever our level of suffering, be it directly or indirectly, we can feel for others and develop positive qualities. 

Truth is hard to hear

The virus will indeed change us all; in ways that we struggle against because, these ways impede our pleasure and comforts. Our self-centred egos will hate it, because it is the voice that we avoid… because it tells us the truth… that is our true friend. Truth is hard to hear.

Making changes to our mental continuums

While we have this opportunity, we can make changes to our mental continuums that could last us through the rest of our lives, whilst giving nature the break for which it has been begging. 

Mindfulness is not just for problems

I frequently find with my work that people want mindfulness when there are problems. Then when they feel they have overcome their problems or they have gone away…be it personal or work related… they return to their old ways of living, repeating the patterns that created their problems in the first place. They will say, “I’m all right now. Thanks!” And I will not see them again. Maybe some time later they will reappear when another big problem arises. 

Mindfulness is not a bandage

There is an attitude to use Mindfulness like an Elastoplast, and ignore that its psychology gets to the root cause of our illness. Like children, we want our wounds licked better, and then we jump off the lap of our carer to play again, as carelessly as we did before.

Mindfulness is for life

Maybe this mega-lesson is about recognising that good psychology is much like a new puppy…it’s for life, not just for Christmas! Managing the mind takes perseverance and an honest relationship with ourselves. That needs sustained practice and support. 

Mindfulness is ancient wisdom

The root of Mindfulness Psychology goes back into ancient history. They are cited in Buddhist teachings, of which there are said to be 84,000. I still listen to the basics and teach them after 40 years of first hearing them. That’s because I‘ve got an ego the size of an iceberg….before it started melting… and every time I hear them they chip another little bit of that cold self-centred rock away.

Mindfulness enables us to reach out

Viewing this situation as a huge problem and an enemy to be defeated will fill us with fear and anxiety because it currently has the upper hand. Our dinosaur brains will be fleeing and fighting all over the place. Accept that it is happening, deal with it day by day and then view it as an opportunity to make radical change to our minds and the way we live, and we could be looking at a healthier future that has never existed before. And our amygdala will be lighting up inside our brains and sending it out to protect and benefit others. We will be healthier externally, and more importantly internally.

The love we have for others will become manifest in ourselves

In this process, undoubtedly we will lose loved ones, experience enormous levels of powerlessness and feel intense fear and loss. But the light, the rainbow, the silver lining is out there. Personally, if I die of corona virus and through offering this knowledge it is a cause for someone to be more compassionate and live in a more connected world, then my death will not be in vain. 

Our wisdom and compassion will connect us to everyone and everything

Just like the canals of Venice are clearing and the ducks and fish are returning, so our streams of consciousness can become fertile rivers for wisdom and compassion to flow in… and out… to others.

Personal Skype sessions + offering for the NHS

As of March 2020, Ondy is now offering personal mindfulness coaching and counselling through Skype sessions.

Whatever it is you are worried about, mindfulness offers us profound and lasting solutions to mental anxiety and pain.

Whether you want to prepare yourself for what might lie ahead, or deal with existing issues that are causing you pain and confusion, mindfulness psychology is rooted in ancient wisdom and clothed in compassionate advice that has stood the test of human civilisation’s suffering for over 2000 years.

Ondy has been offering mindfulness based mind training, personal and group support for over 30 years and is herself experienced in life’s problems. None of us are immune! Spend an hour with her and come away with new tools for resilience and emotional support.

Timing and fees: The standard fee for a stand-alone one-hour mindfulness coaching session is 40 pounds. Other fees (for groups and those having financial problems) can be discussed individually – feel free to reach out!

Scheduling: Shoot an email to ondy@wellseeingconsultancy.co.uk to schedule a session and talk about your needs or the needs of your organizations.

An offering for NHS workers

During the Corona virus crisis Ondy would like to offer NHS staff the opportunity of free/donation based sessions of 30 minutes. Having worked in NHS hospitals at Barrow in Furness and Lancaster offering introductions to Mindfulness, she realises the immense pressure on mental and emotional wellbeing and  how much meditation and breathing exercises help. 

Just identify yourself when you email, as NHS or other first provider, and she will do her best to arrange a convenient session for you!

March 2019 News: An Invitation to Insight


a warm-hearted guide on the challenging path of taming one’s mind

Dear Friend,

You are invited to join me in the talks, courses and weekend retreats I have planned in the UK this year. All have mindfulness as their base-line. And by that, I mean the quality that increases our ability to see what is actually happening around and within us with clarity & perspective.


Death and Rebirth: An Evening Talk in Liverpool 
Monday 18th March, 2019 – Premier Inn City Centre Liverpool L1 4AF

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time with my 92 year old Mum who was expected to die within days…then weeks… and then made a remarkable turn-around.

I remembered the words of a Tibetan Lama, who is one of my teachers, “The living can die before the dying,” and recounted these words to a relative. They took this statement as being rather gloomy and pessimistic. While I was contemplating the unpredictable journey we are all on, they were clearly thinking I was suggesting that something awful might happen to them on the way home! Well, of course it might! I may well die before my Mum!

Why not? Is that gloomy, or is it realistic? And with this realistic approach to life and death, can we transform our lives into opportunities to make the very most of, and experience the utmost, in every moment? Then doom and gloom can become joy and celebration. Because even being around someone who is very old and very ill offers us gifts of insight every moment if we are mindful.

It’s very tough because our emotions and complexities within family relationships can be obstacles. But with effort they can be the doorway to inner understanding and outer love.

The Centre for Wisdom and Compassion in Liverpool are starting a series of sessions on this topic. I will be there as a visiting teacher to open up the discussion and studies that enable us to make death a friend, not an enemy.


Managing the Ego: A Weekend Course in London and a Weekend Retreat in The Lake District
30th & 31st March, 2019 – Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London SE11 4NA
28th – 30th June 2019 – Rookhow Retreat Centre, Cumbria LA12 8LA

Teaching about the ego is a strong focus for me this year. I see this as the key to really working with destructive emotions and overcoming mental blocks to understanding and compassion. The ego is such a complex beast that it can destroy us (making us our own worst enemies) or help us reach our highest potential (becoming our best friend).

Every time we encounter a tricky situation, our ego jumps into action. It is so sly and devious that it kids us into thinking we are right and justified and that others are wrong and stupid. It then seeks support and enablement from friends and associates until we become convinced of our superiority.

But it is in these very situations that we can make profound changes to our egos that will give us genuine self-esteem and confidence, without the pride and arrogance that accompany self-righteousness.

Are you up to this challenge? For me, it’s a continual inner battle. A good sense of humour and treating the ego as if it is a scared baby are great methods for handling what can feel like an impossible task. During these week-ends we will find a lot to laugh about!

Jamyang Buddhist Centre London provides a supportive environment to chip away at the ego. The people there have been doing it for years! Just like me. 
Rookhow Retreat Centre in the beautiful Rusland Valley provides the perfect space for quiet contemplation on what makes us tick.


Mindful Relationships: Weekend Course in Northumberland
September 7 – 8, 2019 – Land of Joy Hexham NE48 1PP

You’ve got to move fast to get a place on this course. This fabulous retreat centre has its devotees. If you want to develop more meaningful, harmonious and joyful relationships then this is the one for you. No wonder it’s filling up fast! Who doesn’t want this!

Land of Joy is great value and attracts a secular crowd to my mindfulness courses. The place should be particularly lovely in the early Autumn.


On my website www.ondywillson.com you can find more about these courses, as well as information on visits I’ll be making to my wonderful friends in Russia in MayLatvia in September and Finland in October.

Until we meet again, 

With Love,

Ondy

xxx

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Liverpool evening talk: Monday 18th March, 2019

Ondy will give a talk titled “Introduction to Death and Rebirth” on behalf of the Jamyang Liverpool Centre for Compassion group on the evening of Monday the 18th of March, 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

The group are currently studying “Presenting the Path”, the third module of “Discovering Buddhism”, but anyone is welcome to join them for an evening of meditation, ​study and discussion on these important topics.

The event will be held at the Premier Inn Hotel, 48 Hanover St, Liverpool L1 4AF

Suggested donation £5 per class per person. No booking necessary, just come along.

More information about this event and the Liverpool study group can be found on their own website:

www.centreofcompassion.co.uk

Managing the Ego: 30th & 31st March, 2019

Jamyang Buddhist Centre – London.
10:00 – 17:00 each day.

A “Come prepared to be challenged!” Workshop. Topics covered:

  • who am I? – a consideration of the “self” 
  • what is the “ego”? 
  • what is the nature of my mind? 
  • how does my ego express itself? 
  • methods to manage the ego 

This course is suitable for all:

  • Any Buddhist who wishes to take a fresh approach to this central topic within Buddhist teachings – helping us to shift ingrained habits and tendencies to operate within a traditional learning structure
  • Any secular or other religious student who is dedicated to self-development and personal change to improve the quality of their inner and outer lives.
  • There will be some teaching, discussion, meditations and group work. Buddhist teachings are rich in observations and ideas around the ego but there will be an opportunity to consider other ways of understanding these profound psychological concepts and exploring our own experience and views. 

BOOKING INFO: https://jamyang.co.uk/index.php/buddhism/pujas-and-special-events/managing-the-ego

Suggested donation £70 for the weekend
(please note does not include lunch)
Booking is not mandatory but highly recommended it because Jamyang can give you a better service.
No-one will be turned away due the lack of funds. Dharma teachings run on a ‘Generosity model’, completely on voluntary donations. By donating you will help create the conditions for the teachings to be available, the meals to be served, accommodations to be clean, for the doors to be open and the lights on. Therefore people of any faith or background are welcome.

The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Rd, Lambeth, London SE11 4NA, UK

Events in Russia, May 17 to 26

Invited by the Foundation for Contemplative Studies in Moscow, Ondy will visit Russia in May 2019. This is her seventh time teachings mindfulness and Buddhist psychology in Moscow!

Event schedule

May 17, Friday (7.30 to 9pm)
May 18-19, Saturday-Sunday (12 to 6pm
)
Weekend workshop: “Compassionate self-correction as a way of training the mind”

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

Hearing so much about the need to achieve and do, we can easily extend the achiever mentality towards our psychological growth. What if I’m not enlightened by next Wednesday? This weekend workshop will explore the different ways of being gentle and compassionate with ourselves so that we can, indeed, gradually change our habits and become wiser and kinder people.

May 21, Tuesday (7:30 to 10:00pm)
Evening workshop: “Relaxation and observation: bringing mindfulness to the body”

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

An exploration of how mindful attention to the body can allow us to develop our ability to relax, control our emotions and enhance our wellbeing.

May 22, Wednesday (7:30 to 9:30)
Evening workshop on emotional intelligence and mindfulness for women

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

An evening for exploring our feelings, roles and practice together with fellow female practitioners.

May 23, Thursday (7:30 to 10:00)
Evening workshop: “Generous kindness: generosity and morality in Shantideva’s text”

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

Using select verses from Shantideva’s “Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life”, Ondy will guide participants in an exploration of the perfections of generosity and moral discipline: how can we practise both to become kinder with ourselves and others?

May 24, Friday (7:30 to 9)
May 25 and 26, Saturday-Sunday (12:00 to 6pm)
Weekend workshop: “What’s my motive? Arousing joy of effort for personal development”

Venue: Ripa Buddhist Center

Mindfulness alone can greatly enrich our life, but what if we combine it with wise long-term aspirations? Using analytical tools, self-reflection and group work, Ondy will look into the various ways of generating wise aspirations and wishes – something perpetually relevant in both the secular and Buddhist context.

May 27 (Monday) to June 2 (Sunday)
MBMT (Mindfulness-based mind training) Train the Trainer course, part 2 

The seven days will be spent working through the remaining modules of the training and taking part in the final residential retreat.  (Only for registered participants from 2018)

News of some of Ondy’s previous trips to the Russian sangha can be read here.

Change your mind to change your life: February 2nd – 3rd, 2019

A Land of Joy course with Ondy Willson

We can change our partners, change our looks and change our homes to give us a sense of starting afresh and welcoming new experiences into our lives. Unfortunately, because these changes are external they often lead to similar discontentment somewhere down the line, and renewed efforts to find something else to satisfy our desires.

During this weekend we will consider how changing mental and emotional habits and tendencies can transform our lives and fulfil us in a way that does not rely on the volatile and uncertain circumstances of our lives, but continues to deepen and fulfil us as we draw on our inner strength and unique personal reservoirs of wellbeing.

Concepts covered:

  • The nature of the mind
  • Using mindful awareness in our everyday lives
  • Meditation for self- awareness
  • Genuine happiness
  • Emotional intelligence and resilience

This course will be presented in a workshop style and include teaching, discussion, meditations and relaxation.

Details

Requirements: Everyone is welcome

Cost: Generosity Model – Donation only (no suggested amount).

Start and Finish times: The workshop will begin at 9am on the 2nd and finish at 6pm on the 3rd. People are welcome to arrive the day before and leave the day after.

Accommodation: Dormitory beds, double and single rooms will be available at Land of Joy. Camping can be an option at certain times of year if you have your own tent but space is very limited. Beds are allocated based on individual or logistical needs.

BOOKING FORM

A Day for “Self” Reflection

an opportunity to consider the nature of the self, to support confidence and self-esteem.

Saturday 29th June 2019, 10:00 – 17:00.
Rookhow Retreat Centre, Rusland, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8LA.

We are delighted to offer this special summer one day retreat, designed for Ondy’s local students in Cumbria, but open to anyone. 

On this retreat day we will have the opportunity to consider who we mean when we say “I”, and how we can manage our fragile “egos”. Over our lives we build up self-defence systems that can lock us into unhelpful habits and tendencies. So having the opportunity to consider the different aspects of the “self” and how to enhance our potential to be authentic will enable us to develop our self-awareness skills, self-esteem and confidence.

Ondy will guide us through Buddhist and Mindfulness based psychology and meditations to aid us in our journeys to discovering our true natures and unlocking the power of our incredible potential.

The course will include talks, meditations, discussion, and group activities as well as silent reflection in the beautiful grounds and environment of peaceful Rookhow: 
www.rookhowcentre.co.uk

Schedule:

10.00 – 13.00 MORNING SESSION

13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH
(bring a pot- luck lunch to share. Refreshments included)

14.00 – 17.00 AFTERNOON SESSION

Suggested donation for full day £30; half day £15

DO LET US KNOW IF, AND WHEN, YOU INTEND TO JOIN US
by emailing <ondyonline AT gmail.com>

THANK YOU