SECOND BODY PRACTICE GUIDELINES
Heart of the Valley Mindfulness Practice Center, updated August, 2022
What is SBP for our Sangha?
- It’s a way to support each other in our mindfulness practice.
- It’s a way to get people more involved and to grow and strengthen our connections.
- It’s a way to experience opening the heart, being heard, practicing deep and compassionate listening, and mindful, open-hearted speaking.
All Sangha members who wish to participate submit their names on a sign-up sheet. By signing up youagree to be paired with another Sangha member by the SBP Committee. Partners are assigned by the SBP committee by a random rotating process. As far as feasible, preferences as to gender and means of communication (face-to-face, skype, telephone, …) will be taken into account. Face-to-face is generally recommended.
New partners are assigned every four months. Partners will be announced by email. Partners decide when/where/how to meet with a goal of twice-a-month discussions of mindfulness practice. When onepartner cannot meet, it is that person’s responsibility to give notice as soon as possible. Planned absenceshould be clarified ahead of time. Those who sign up are committing to the majority of the 4-month period: generally 3 of the 4 months.
It is recommended to meet in person, phone, skype for about 45 minutes. The amount of time should be agreed to by partners at the beginning of each meeting. Allow time to include informal conversation before and after the formal practice.
Partners are free to modify the Suggested Guidelines by mutual agreement.
All participants in the Second Body Practice are committed to confidentiality of all that is shared in the SBP meetings.
All issues, concerns and questions can be referred to the SBP committee. Enjoy the practice!
Suggested Guidelines for each SBP session
Sit quietly on zoom, phone or in person, drink tea, share a meal, or take a walk. Each partner has a block of time to talk uninterrupted.
15 minutes each works well. There is no feed-back from the listener, unless the speaker asks for feedback.The purpose of the listening is to give the gift of presence and quiet listening.
Use a bell, bowing or any other signal to clearly mark the beginning and end of each speaking period. Invite one another to do mindful breathing. This is critical to settling the thinking, emotions and body, andentering into presence, empathy and awareness from the heart. This practice moves us beyond casual, unmindful conversation.
Role of the Speaker:
It is urged that the speaker begin with sharing how they feel in the present
moment and be grounded in that starting point . The speaker shall only share what they wish to share and speak from the heart. See Guiding Questions below.
Role of the Listener:
- It is beneficial to remember that the purpose of this shared practice is to listen, give witness to andlearn from the speaker’s awakened mind through the sharing of their mindfulness practice.
- Know through experience that the listening in itself has the power to relieve suffering andtransform the speaker. Deep listening is paramount in this practice! Safety and empathy is the primary concern here.
- Please refrain from probing questions and analyzing. Don’t give advice or feedback unless it’s explicitly asked for. If responding, always speak from first-person experience.
- If strong emotions arise, it is beneficial for the listener to invite the speaker to do mindfulbreathing in such a way that helps ground but not suppress the speaker’s sharing
Both partners take responsibility for knowing what is appropriate and helpful. It is advisable to adhere tothe time limits in order to have clear boundaries and build trust.
A closure session at the end of the four-month period is highly recommended. The partners can express appreciation and gratitude , and what they have learned from the SBP sessions.
Examples of Guiding Questions for the Speaker’s Sharing What is happening in this present moment?
How is my mindfulness practice going?
What is one joy and one challenge from the last two weeks?