Buddhist teaching suggests that our relationship to affliction, dukkha, frequently causes us compounded suffering and misery. It is our fear of dukkha which leads us to build up psychological defences which are the habit energies driving our lives. As a result we tend to withdraw from experience and disconnect from others. Mindfulness was a significant aspect of the Buddha’s prescription for facing affliction. In the modern setting, mindfulness practices are commonly used to help people suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Such people often have a history of painful life events, including sometimes major trauma or ongoing abuse. On this weekend we will explore the way that trauma, abuse and distress impact on people’s psychology, and will look at ways in which we can listen effectively and supportively when people are experiencing distress.
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