MINDFULNESS TEACHER TRAINING COURSE

(MTTC)

A residential programme to establish 

AGENTS OF CHANGE

By Christopher Titmuss, Shelly Sharon and Lila Kimhi

To be held near Düsseldorf, Germany, on 17 June - 1 July, 2017, and 14-28 October, 2017

To be held in northern Israel on 5-19 September, 2017, and 1-14 April, 2018

General Information 

 

HEADINGS

15 Questions on the MTTC

The Function of Mindfulness

What will the MTTC address during the course?

Daily Timetable for the MTTC

Who is suitable to join the MTTC?

On Becoming an Agent of Change

How to Teach?

Stepping into the Role of a Teacher

Kinds of organisations available for Mindfulness

What is expected of a MTTC participant?

 

15 QUESTIONS ON THE MTTC
 

1. What is the core purpose of the MTTC?

To create Agents of Change, both inner and outer.

 

 2.What does MTTC offer?

The MTTC offers two residential programmes, each lasting for 14 days, for transformation and empowerment. The 14 days of residency will generate a depth of sharing and communication. MTTC will offer a unique residential programme with a view to bringing the best out of a human being.

 

 3.Is there a key feature of the MTTC?

Right from the start, we will offer training to develop the power of the voice. Participants will learn to exercise their authority to speak in front of others, give talks and answer questions. Participants will receive guidance on the tone of voice, construction of language, content and the communication of authority.

 

4.Why has the MTTC been set up?

There is a general sense of turmoil in the world. There appears to be a desperate shortage of wise leadership. Caring and thoughtful people often find it difficult to know how to respond to issues, domestic, social or global. There might be hesitations to initiate a project by oneself. We believe such caring people need to become Agents of Change. This will require a depth of mindfulness of issues, dedication and development of wise skills, as well as self-knowledge. The MTTC will make a contribution to a skilful approach to inner and outer work.

 

 5.How does MTTC differ from other mindfulness courses?

The MTTC intends to take participants to a new level of human potential. We offer a course with a depth of exploration to open the heart and mind to profound insights and wisdom. We will also make wise authority/leadership as an important focus. The mornings consist of inner practices, the afternoons consist of developing engagement/empowerment/leadership in small groups and the evening programme brings everybody together for inner-outer exploration. The teachers have decades of experience in the exploration of mindfulness and related themes. The MTTC has squeezed the honey out of a variety of mindfulness courses. We wish to establish a course deep and transformative. MTTC offers methods and techniques for reducing stress, points the way to the resolution of problematic life and provides a depth of inquiry into ultimate and relative truth. 

 

6.Will the MTTC use Buddhist language?

We will use secular language throughout. The course will be free from religious/spiritual language. Participants will use their discretion in terms of use of religious/spiritual language in daily life. MTTC addresses directly issues of suffering, personally, socially and in our institutions. 

 

7.Do I needed to have attended Buddhist retreats before joining the MTTC?

No. The MTTC has not set such limits for participation in the Course. We invite people who are committed to inner and outer change. The Course is suitable for people who are emotionally stable, caring and wish to make a contribution to the welfare of others.

 

8.How much contact will participants have with the teachers?

Participants will receive personalised attention from the teachers. Teachers will discuss with participants their strengths and weaknesses and respond to them. One teacher will have responsibility for a maximum of 10 participants.

 

 9.Christopher is the founder of the MTTC and senior teacher. How much will he be available?

On a typical retreat, Christopher alternates the afternoon daily talks/inquiry/small groups with another teacher, and perhaps sees a student twice in a week, as well as sitting with the meditators three or four times a day. There will be more access to Christopher in the MTTC. He leads the small groups for a few days, alternating with the other teachers, offer the evening programmes, or share an evening with another, and be much more available for interviews, lead groups and inquiry sessions.

 

 10.Will there be an opportunity to explore ideas to help become Agents of Change?

Yes. We will encourage and explore important issues, inner and outer. We will discuss a number of important issues of our time. We wish to empower participants to address with others some of these issues in daily life. Participants may wish to explore specific areas below during the residential programmme and in the months between the two courses.

 

In alphabetical order:

  • ageing

  • corporations

  • corruption

  • ethics

  • death,

  • diet

  • ego

  • environment

  • family

  • health

  • identity

  • liberation

  • lifestyle

  • love,

  • media

  • money

  • power

  • relationships

  • sex

  • spiritual experiences

  • social media 

 

Ideas only have validity if applied. Participants will take notes and address application of ideas/insights. We will explore ways for Agents of Change to work together.

 

11.Will participants have the opportunity to support each other in the months between the two courses?

Yes. We will provide the email addresses of everybody including teachers. We will discuss ways for people to meet together. Every participant will make commitments during the 14-day residential programme to be addressed between the meetings. The participants will support each other.

 

12.What are the commitments of participants between the two residential sessions?

There will be no generalised commitments, such as meditating daily or attending retreats. The teacher and participant will draw up a plan together for a skilful course of action for the participant. An Agent of Change includes the inner and the outer. Teachers will be available by email between the two residential sessions.

13.Will everyone receive a certificate of authorisation to teach mindfulness?

No. The teachers make the decision based on our perceptions of the participant over the four weeks and 200 hours or more of training. We may encourage certain people to commit to retreats in the following year, explore further inner development and then we can meet with the person after one year to discuss authorisation.

 

14.Is there anything participants can do before the MTTC starts?

Yes. Go to any classes, workshops, retreats that you sense will support mindfulness and insights. Maximise your time outdoors in the nature. Keep a journal detailing your experiences, qualities and limitations. Find a person or group with whom you can share your experiences. Read essays/books and listen to audio/Youtube on development of a wise and compassionate life.

 

15.Anything to add?

Yes. You have much to contribute. Your voice of wisdom and kindness can make a real difference to the lives of others.

The Function of Mindfulness

  • Mindfulness addresses the body, feelings, states of mind and the inner-outer world

  • Mindfulness refers to our capacity to apply mindfulness to issues of past, present and future for clarity and a wise and caring response.

  • Mindfulness belongs to a body of teachings including ethics, inwardly and outwardly.

  • Mindfulness reduces stress, develops empathy and prepares the inner life for insights and realisations.

  • Mindfulness points to a depth of inquiry into self, identity, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and emptiness of ego.

  • Mindfulness makes accessible completely fresh ways of seeing situations.

  • Mindfulness contributes to wisdom, compassion and a liberated way of life

  • Mindfulness supports the enquiry into ultimate and conventional truth.

 

What will the MTTC address during the course?

 

On the first evening, teachers and participants will meet in the hall.

The participants will start the day at 6 am and finish at 21.00 pm.

 

The day will start with a mindful movement class with the postures designed to reduce stress, work with pain and expand the cells for health and well-being. The posture will support any future mindfulness classes that participants offer.

 

The daily programme will make time for reflection and discussions, as well as time reading on mindfulness and social issues.

 

The following day the participants will meet with their teachers. The teachers will respond to such areas as expectations, concerns, evaluations and goals of the MTTC for the participants.

 

Each teacher will give specific support and guidance to 10 participants. Much work will be done in these small groups, as well as daily plenary sessions in the evening.

 

The course will place mindfulness firmly in its context of ethics, meditation, wisdom and transformation.

Teachers will offer comprehensive instructions and guidance in mindfulness and action over the 28 days. Mindfulness has a valuable contribution to make for those who wish to  become Agents of Change. The training will include these areas below. Some of the practices, such as sitting, walking, standing, eating, movement, work periods, facilitation and teaching will occur on a daily basis.

  1. Eating/Diet

  2. Ethics, personal, social and corporate

  3. Facilitation of Groups

  4. Horizontal Position

  5. Leadership

  6. Lifestyle

  7. Listening

  8. Meditation for Calm and Insight

  9. Mindful postures/working with pain.

  10. Movement/Dancing

  11. One to One Sessions

  12. Reading

  13. Sitting

  14. Spiritual experiences

  15. Standing

  16. Talking

  17. Teaching

  18. Use of mobile phones/various devices

  19. Walking,

  20. Work tasks

Our two residential programmes offer the opportunity to go deep into the practice of ethics, mindfulness/meditation and service to others through the sustained flow of practice from one day to the next in a dedicated environment.

Daily Timetable for the MTTC

6:00 am. Wake up

6.30 Mindfulness Yoga

7.15. Short break

7:30. Meditation

8.00 Breakfast

8.45 Mindfulness Work (kitchen, gardening, cleaning)

10.00 Short break

10.30. Main hall. Mindfulness/Meditation in the Four Primary Postures.

12:30 Short break.

1.00 pm Meditation

1.30 Lunch

15.30 Workshops with teachers in small groups. Sharing experiences, the Buddha on mindfulness, guided meditations, one to ones, intimacy circles, questions and answers, homework.

17.30 Short break.

18.00 Meditation

18.30 Silent Meal

19.30 Dharma talk/Inquiry/Q and A primarily with Christopher

20.30 Meditation

21.00. Hot drink.

The meditation period at 7.30, 18.00 and 20.30 will be in small circles of 10 participants with their guiding teacher.

Who is suitable to join the MTTC?

There are specifically five kinds of people suitable to join the MTTC.

  1. Teachers, seniors, dedicated practitioners who have participated in a number of retreats and engaged in service. We would like teachers/seniors mindfulness/meditation and anyone that teaches to encourage suitable people to join the MTTC.

  2. We invite MBSR teachers or in training, psychotherapists or in training, yoga teachers or in training, school teachers, social workers and similar fields of inner/outer work to join the MTTC, whether unemployed, self-employed, an employee or employer. We would like such people to add Mindfulness to their current work skills.

  3. Those who are completely new to such mindfulness training. We want such people in the helping professions and engaged in various forms of right livelihood to participate. We encourage offer to Mindfulness programmes in the public and private sector in their respective fields of work or apply their skills in fresh ways to society.

  4. There are people in transition who wish to contribute to society. MTTC provides the skills to enter into a new role in daily life. The MTTC offers a course suitable from college students to people who have retired.

  5. None of the above. We would like people to join who are emotionally well integrated, with little stress, caring and the capacity for clear comprehension and service.

We suggest that people with various unresolved personal problems, which arise with some frequency, first make use of  various resource, such as retreats, workshops, counselling and changes in lifestyle, before considering joining the MTTC.

The MTTC will consist primarily of those who  benefit from meditation/mindfulness retreats/stress reduction programmes and those who engage in the welfare of others. A range of  people  have the potential to be Agents of Change.

  • We would like to see college students, workers, management, professionals and seniors in the MTTC.

  • We would like to see those who give their time to noble causes to join the MTTC.

  • There will be participants who  direct their mindfulness primarily to their inner life.

  • There will be participants who direct their concerns primarily to the issues of others.

  • There are those who give equal attention to both. 

  • There will be some in transition who are making a new direction in their life.

The MTTC will nourish and develop a remarkable dialogue.

We will co-operate together recognising and appreciating the experience and skills of each other.

 

On becoming an Agent of Change

Participants require the motivation to learn about the depths of mindfulness through their own experience and have the willingness to share their experience, skills and understanding with others.

Every afternoon, participants will step into the role of teacher. In this role, the participant will begin offering a short guided meditation to one participant and will respond to questions from the participant. As the days go by, the number of students for the teacher will increase. The group leader will listen and offer a reflection.

The stepping into the teacher role at an early stage of the MTTC will contribute to the development of trust and leadership qualities for every participant.

There will be a regular rotation of the guiding teachers for the groups of 10 people per group to experience different ways of teaching.

The daily programme offers the necessary skills and tools to work on oneself. Participants will also receive equal emphasis to offer mindfulness courses to others. This includes learning the skills coach individuals to lead mindfulness workshops, offer talks and courses in the public and private sector, as well offer classes.

Students will develop the capacity to offer different types of mindfulness programmes suitable for various ages, various issues and apply mindfulness programmes to daily life issues facing people.

In the MTTC, the group leader will observe the participants, listen and respond to the challenges they face and point out their strengths and limits. The participants will learn from this process, so they can apply similar communication to their students, when they become a mindfulness teacher after the course.

Once a person has successfully complete the MTTC, the participant will receive a mindfulness teacher training certificate to enable them to teach worldwide. Participants require dedication and commitment to attend the entire 28 days. The certificate will not be given to late arrivals or early departures.

  • MTTC will point the way to empowerment to change inner and outer circumstances.

  • MTTC provides the skills and knowledge for the mindfulness teachers to work with a variety of needs of their future students. 

  • The postures, practices and instructions have the capacity to contribute to a deep sense of well-being and clarity of heart and mind.

  • MTTC does not support the view that all stress and suffering is self-created. Issues in daily life arise from inner and outer circumstances.

Participants will learn effective ways to apply mindfulness techniques and also employ skills in communication. MTTC is suitable for all – from teenagers to senior citizens who are committed to service to others.

Many MTTC participants will come with experience of giving support to others. We will all listen to each other, learn much from each other and discover original ways to develop communication on important themes.

We will discuss the practical aspects of teaching including advertising, posters, setting charges, and use of social media.

We believe the MTTC has the potential for participants to experience a deep benefit for themselves and to develop the capacity to share their skills and wisdom with others.

How to Teach

The comprehensive mindfulness training in teaching and leadership is a primary feature of the Mindfulness Teacher Training Course (MTTC). The Course will enable a participant to get beyond self-doubt, nervousness and tension around teaching. The Course will include speaking in front of groups of people and answering questions.

Participants will learn:

  • How to start teaching mindfulness and related themes

  • How to prepare a class

  • How to prepare a talk

  • How to give a talk

  • How to teach beginners

  • How to teach those with prior experience of the issue

  • How to teach children and teenagers

  • How to teach those enduring pain, life threatening illnesses and the elderly.

 

Participants will learn about the value of social media, including blog, Facebook, sending out block emailing and sending out e-newsletter, Twitter, posters for notice boards/ windows and use of publicity to promote their work as mindfulness teachers.

Teachers and yogis will discuss together forms of payment for their services, charges for individual coaching, charges for groups, approach to those on low income and offering teachings on a donation basis

Stepping into the Role of Teacher

Many people have a love for the mindfulness practices but fear to go deep into mindfulness/associated teachings and fear to share their insights and wisdom with others.

Others feel they lack a deep connection with a religious tradition or lineage or need years of training before becoming ready to become mindfulness teachers. Others fear their ego will only grow if they take on the role of a teacher. These are important concerns and the MTTC certainly addresses these concerns. It is not always easy to discern clarity of mind from the fearful mind.

Some have convinced themselves they will never feel ready to teach mindfulness. They harshly criticise their practice, condemn their mind when it wanders or gets caught up in a story or believe they lack the capacity to stay steady on an object. Others assume that to be a mindfulness teacher one must have a profound depth of spirituality and compassion, which they believe they lack.

Participants will explore their needs, aspirations and goals. Mindfulness contributes to a heartfelt clarity of the priorities for the student. No two people are exactly the same. Care and support for the individual goes a long way to developing long standing connections.

There are a growing number of people facilitating mindfulness courses around the world. The best teachers of mindfulness continue to develop their experience of mindful living, insights and knowledge. They remain committed to enquire into issues affecting the lives of people. As you teach, your experience, skills and insights develop further.

The best of teachers never forget their role as students of life. The step into the teacher role requires an act of trust. Focus, empathy, interest and determination contribute to the freeing up of the voice for the welfare and benefit of others. Confidence grows through the process of teaching.

As with others, mindfulness teachers face a range of challenges including personal issues, tensions in relationships, financial problems and inner and outer pressures.

Mindfulness teachers continue to work on themselves and do not hesitate to seek out the wise counsel of others. Through the depth of practice, there is no longer the interest to deny any faults or failings. There is an ongoing commitment to an awakened life.

Kinds of organisations available for Mindfulness

Participants will choose three or four of the options below to explore during the MTTC and continue to develop in the months between the two courses.

 

You can find the opportunity to teach mindfulness and associated practices in areas of social concern, various facilities and organisations as:

  1. Animal Welfare

  2. Businesses

  3. Charities

  4. Clinics

  5. Conflict Resolution

  6. Corporations

  7. Creative Projects

  8. Cruises

  9. Diet

  10. Factories

  11. Fitness Schools

  12. Foundations

  13. Gyms

  14. Health Clubs

  15. Hospitals

  16. Hotels

  17. International Development

  18. Lifestyle

  19. Non-violent Activism

  20. Outdoor activities

  21. Places of religious worship

  22. Politicians

  23. Prisons

  24. Psychology

  25. Relationships

  26. Religious institutions

  27. Retirement homes

  28. Retreat centres

  29. Schools

  30. Science, neuroscience

  31. Social Services

  32. The Arts

  33. Training in sports

  34. Yoga centres

What is expected of a MTTC participant?

A moderate lifestyle, daily acts of kindness and wise actions contribute to the welfare of others.

A mindfulness practitioner and teacher develops a caring and considerate attitude towards others, the application of patience and the willingness to reflect on the challenges of commitments, values and the role.

There is a growing capacity to show genuine concern for others. Mindful discussion of differences of view remain a priority.

Regular contact with other caring facilitators/leaders/teachers/ committed to change will stimulate fresh ideas and insights.

You have the potential to make an important contribution towards people living mindful lives with empathy and wisdom.

We look forward to your presence on the MTTC.

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©  Shelly Sharon 2018