As the noise and intensity of the world continue to build all around us, a group of like-minded Muskokans are looking to provide an outlet for peace, contemplation and clarity.
Starting next Monday, the Centre for Mindfulness in Muskoka (CMM) is expanding its practice into Bracebridge. The inaugural meeting of the Bracebridge sangha (a community of friends practicing mindfulness together) will take place at 7 pm virtually. Plans had originally been to hold the meeting in person but the recent covid resurgence has forced in-person meetings into hiatus for the time being.
The Muskoka Mindfulness Community was started some 20 years ago in Huntsville by Bill Knight. While the CMM does not run the Huntsville sangha, the CMM was established by some members of that group in 2019. There’s association and collaboration between the two mindfulness groups.
“We’re hoping to mirror the Huntsville sangha in Bracebridge, with the goal of extending the benefits of mindfulness to the Bracebridge community,” says Sarah Carlin-Ball of the CMM.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
Carlin-Ball said she first became involved with the local mindfulness community in 2010 when a co-worker attended one of Bill Knight’s courses.
“I found it to be extremely beneficial in both my professional and personal life,” says Carlin-Ball. “I have MS and mindfulness has helped me to cope with illness, as well as with interpersonal relationships. It’s helped steer the direction of my entire life.”
The effects of mindfulness can be wide-ranging, and Carlin-Ball says it’s helped her to live more freely and with greater confidence.
“Most of us are so busy and caught up in our to-do lists,” she says. “Establishing a daily practice of meditation is really at the root of mindfulness. It helps the mind calm down and settle. That allows for some space to think clearly and respond in a more mindful way. I find it also has benefits for those around you – when you’re calmer, they’re calmer.”
Becoming part of sangha can help practitioners on the road forward, as partners can help train minds in the same way that exercise partners can help with physical fitness. Simply being around other like-minded people can also serve as a social outlet.
In addition to the upcoming Bracebridge sessions, the CMM also offers various courses and retreats. You can find out more at www.mindfulnessmuskoka.com.
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