Building on the Basics
Building on the Basics
Building on the Basics

By Roma Claudius

The Building on the Basics (BoB) 16G follow-up course was both extremely enjoyable and beneficial for me in many ways. The opportunity to talk about the challenges, benefits and delights of focusing on a particular guideline throughout one week helped me reflect more clearly on my experiences with that guideline. Listening to the other course participants, hearing their insights, and sharing the process of deepening our understanding of the guidelines was always interesting and helpful and, at times, quite powerful. I really appreciated the sense of support created by joining together on the forum and working simultaneously with the same Wisdom Themes.

The course structure of alternating the online forum with a week of self-study worked well for me. Having (and dedicating) the time and space to reflect on particular instances of when I had been affected by the shadow side of a particular guideline in these sessions really helped extend my understanding and appreciation of the guidelines overall.

Regular discussion of mindfulness brought a new dimension to my practice routine. I enjoyed the commitment of filling in the BoB mindfulness diary, as this was something I had done in the past but had forgotten the value of - both in terms of encouraging regularity, and the support afforded by looking back at past reflections on mindfulness sessions.

Looking at a situation in a new way.

An experience that stands out for me came after drawing the card ‘Gratitude’ during a period of some difficulty with my teenage son. I frequently brought to mind the phrase from The 16 Guidelines for Life book:

              “[Gratitude] encourages us to welcome reality, rather than fight it - both what seems good and what seems bad.”

As this prompted me to look at the situation in a new way, so obvious benefits ensued: positive elements of my son’s character and behaviour became more apparent to me; they had of course been there all along, but I had been oblivious, (to his, for example, subtle requests for reassurance,) as I had been caught up in swinging between feeling a victim of his moodiness and self-blame.

Another obvious benefit was that I didn’t feel stuck anymore; I felt more aware of the constantly changing nature of our relationship. Focusing on feeling gratitude for my son’s actual existence, his health and even for the tensions in our relationship brought me a new sense of peace and acceptance.

I found the reflection on ‘Delight’ particularly powerful and the practice of taking delight in another’s good fortune surprisingly easy and very liberating. It felt, well, delightful to consciously focus on everyday pleasures, beauty and positive stories and I found that often this way of looking at the world would somehow ‘hop in’ to my mind and take the place of another, probably less positive thought, before it could properly form! Indeed, after one week, it was fantastic to hear my daughter use the phrase, “How wonderful it is...” after hearing me say it so many times!

Drawing the same guideline card more than once.

During the course many of us had the experience of drawing a certain guideline card more than once. I think I was not alone in experiencing a momentary feeling of: ‘Oh no! I’ve just done that one!’ when this happened. However, it was always refreshing and humbling to discover that doing a reflection for a second (and subsequent) times always yields new feelings and insights, just as each time you can bring to mind and act from a guideline, especially during a difficult moment, your connection with this guideline is strengthened.

The Building on the Basics course was wonderful - huge thanks to everyone who took part. Can we do another?