The Interpersonal Mindfulness Program
The Interpersonal Mindfulness Program was developed jointly by Florence Meleo-Meyer and Phyllis Hicks, senior MBSR teachers from the Center for Mindfulness and Metta Programs respectively, and Gregory Kramer, who developed the Insight Dialogue practice upon which the course is based. It was specifically designed for graduates of MBSR programs, but is suitable for anyone with a mindfulness practice who has experience or is willing to experience stepping out of silent practice and applying mindfulness in human interaction.
Like MBSR, it is an 8-week program, two and a half hours a week, with an all day class after the fourth week. The bulk of the class time is spent in dyads, using the Insight Dialogue Guidelines while engaging in contemplations about shared aspects of human experience.
As of now, there are only two teachers in the NYC metropolitan area who have been trained to offer this program.
Here is a letter from my teachers, those who developed this program, which captures the spirit of this practice. It was written to the instructors of the program, but I think that anyone with a silent meditation practice can relate:
Most of us have spent a great deal of time in solitary practice, on the cushion, developing mindfulness and calm concentration. As we move into the normal flow of our daily lives, we experience the challenges of sustaining mindfulness. As humans we are exquisitely sensitive, every moment awash in a sea of contact. Touching and being touched, feeling, perceiving, and thinking, we create our world. Can we cultivate awareness in these dynamic moments of contact?
Is it possible that human relationships are one of the best fields for cultivating mindfulness? From birth, we have been designed for attunement with others. The absence of attunement is a significant source of stress. With the support of each other’s awareness and kind intention to pay attention the very act of communicating becomes an opportunity for awakening our inherent capacities for love, joy, and wisdom.
What better place to learn how to pause out of the habit mind, notice tensions and relax, kindly accept present moment experience, open and trust emergence as we listen deeply and speak the truth of our subjective experience.
May our efforts be of benefit to all beings! Phyllis, Florence, and Gregory