An Introduction to Mindfulness for Self-Care and Stress Reduction
February 13th and 27th
Waltham Public Library
735 Main St, Waltham, MA 02453
Led by Matt Carriker and Vivekanand Vimal
Come to this two-part introductory series to:
● Develop an ability to pay non-judgmental awareness to the present moment, as well as experience a diversity of skills and practices to aid in this skill
● See the relevance and necessity for mindfulness (in its varied expressions), particularly as it relates to reducing stress and taking care of one’s self
● Through mindfulness practice, and integrating practices from the “Tree of contemplative practices”, learn to foster calm, better concentration, and more openness.
● Learn how to be kinder to ourselves and others, more confident, and less judgmental.
● Reflect on how to integrate mindfulness into our daily and weekly rituals.
Vital small groups keep people connected in the Agape community. Each small groups in the Agape community has various spiritual practices to "fill your cup" and empower you to be a blessing in the world. Some examples of practices we do include:
- Clearness Committees “Sacred, intentional way of helping someone discern God’s will in their life and in particular situations through silence, and deep sharing and listening.”
- Heart Circles “Small groups where people sit in circle to explore what they truly want to create in their lives and world. Topics could include partnerships/marriage, family, friends, community, work, money, leisure, health, learning/creativity, life details, etc.”
- Lectio Divina “Slow, sacred means of reading scripture in a devotional way, seeking to integrate the insights of prayer, silence, and scripture into life. Imagine the image of a cow chewing grass, rather than reading academically or intellectually.”
- Bible study “Studying biblical books, stories, etc. for greater clarity of understanding, and seeking to integrate the Bible’s wisdom into our own lives.”
- Book study “Reading a book of choice and reflecting on its spiritual or moral implications for our lives.”
- Forgiveness “Doing forgiveness prayers together, including Howard Wills’ prayers.”
- Yoga & Chanting “Getting into our bodies through incarnational yoga practice, and deep, devotional, heart-centered chanting, to open one’s heart to God.”
- Meditation (various forms) including Centering Prayer, Mindfulness, and Practicing the presence of God: “Opening one’s heart to God in silent prayer. Meditation could include various forms, including visualizations or centering prayer (which uses a sacred word to concentrate). Mindfulness is a centering awareness practice- of ourselves, our body, breath, actions, emotions, surroundings, and God. Could include mindful breathing/sitting, mindful walking, mindful eating, etc.”
- Cycling “Biking out in nature as a spiritual practice.”
- Hiking “Walking out in nature as a spiritual practice.”
- Storytelling "Everyday we tell a story to people. This small group provides the opportunity to reflect on the story that we (and others) are telling in life as well as what this means to us."
- Service “Various local or global service projects to make a difference in the world.”
- Peace and Justice work “Includes various forms of working for peace in the home, community, or world, or for various social justice issues.”
Why small groups at Agape?
People long for connection in community. Not superficial connection, but deep and meaningful connection. While people are inspired by worship services, deep community happens in small groups that are affirming, life-giving, and uplifting.
Vital small groups are the lifeblood that keep people connected in the Agape community. These small groups have several components that facilitate deep meaning and connection:
- Spirituality- whether it be prayer, meditation, or another form of spiritual practice, each small group integrates spirituality to varying degrees, depending on their focus.
- Meaningful personal sharing, and support and prayer for each small group member throughout life’s ups and downs.
- Service- depending on their focus, service may be the primary activity of some groups, while others may engage in service for targeted periodic projects. Each group together discerns how they are called to be of service in the wider community and world.
- Regular meeting time- whether it be monthly, biweekly, or weekly for a period of time, the regularity of each group’s meetings is determined by its members.
Interested in starting or participating in an Agape small group?