Monthly Archives: May 2015

Assessing a Mindfulness Teacher

Here’s a really good article from the Huffington Post about criteria for assessing a mindfulness teacher. I agree with all the author’s points and feel they are a good set of guidelines for determining whether or not to work with someone. One point I might add is whether or not the person attends regular intensive silent teacher-led retreats. Intensive practice is what really keeps mindfulness teachers learning and growing. I would say that at an absolute minimum, a teacher should attend at least one 7-day silent retreat a year.

The Suffering Equation

There’s an old expression in mindfulness circles: pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Life is inherently stressful and challenging, and we sensitive human beings are affected in many ways in body and mind by the daily slings and arrows of existence. Because there is pain in life, the way we relate to the pain is crucial. The following formula can help us sort out the difference between pain and suffering:


Where suffering (S) equals Pain (P) times Resistance (R). Pain is inevitable, but when we resist pain in our lives we cause more pain, because we experience the anguish and fear that comes when we deny and avoid what’s true. When we recognize our pain and allow it to be there, without resistance, we open to the possibility of responding to our pain in ways that ultimately bring healing.