An Introduction to Mindful Communication
A Live 6-Week Online Course
With Oren Jay Sofer
JUNE 14 - JULY 22, 2021
MONDAY & THURSDAY EVENINGS
7:45 – 9:00 PM ET / 4:45 – 6:00 PM PT
Freely Offered with Donations Gratefully Accepted for BCBS and Oren
Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
Oren Jay Sofer
Communication is at the heart of our lives – personally, professionally, and spiritually. This six-week online course with author and meditation teacher Oren Jay Sofer offers training in the foundations of an integrated approach to communication.
Drawing upon the Buddha’s teachings on the Noble Eightfold Path, mindfulness and Right Speech, plus the modern disciplines of Nonviolent Communication and trauma healing, the curriculum offers concrete tools to hold one’s own while still hearing others, and to engage effectively and efficiently in collaboration. You will learn to:
- Engage in effective dialogue
- Feel more confident in conversation
- Strengthen your capacities for empathy and resilience
- Identify and stay focused on what really matters in any interaction
Through a combination of mindfulness practices, guided reflections, and interactive exercises, participants will develop a stronger sense of presence, greater access to compassion, and more versatile, clearer communication. This class is appropriate for both experienced and newer students, therapists, school teachers, chaplains and other helping professionals.
EACH LIVE, 75-MINUTE CORE SESSION INCLUDES:
- Teachings on a key aspect of meditation and interpersonal communication
- Expert instruction on integrating meditative principles into conversation
- Guided meditations on cognitive, emotional and somatic aspects of communication
- Illustrative examples of the intersection between spiritual practice and relationship
- Meetings will be recorded and uploaded within 24-36 hours for those who cannot attend.
THE PROGRAM ALSO INCLUDES:
- Weekly, 75-minute live interactive Q&A with the teacher
- Weekly practice assignments and journal topics
- Optional weekly calls with a practice buddy
- Access to course recordings (audio and video)
Please see below for answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the course.
WHO’S IT FOR?
This course is appropriate for those newer to Buddhist meditation and/or Nonviolent Communication, as well as for experienced practitioners seeking to deepen their skills. Past students include: psychologists, therapists, doctors, nurses and healthcare practitioners, chaplains, teachers, writers, artists, life coaches, lawyers, police, engineers, civil servants, and many more.
We are honored to be able to offer this course free of charge. BCBS and our teachers depend on the donations to continue our work.
If you are able, please consider a tax-deductible donation to help sustain us during these challenging times.
About the Teacher
Oren Jay Sofer is a nationally recognized teacher of meditation, mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication. A member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication, and co-author of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents. Oren is co-founder of Mindful Healthcare and the founder of Next Step Dharma, an innovative online program that helps meditators integrate their retreat experiences into daily life.
Frequently Asked Questions
I took your 12-week online course “Say What You Mean,” based on the book. Will this be different?
Yes. While this course will cover some of the same material as the 12-week SWYM online course, it focused more on integrating teachings and texts from the Buddhist tradition. For those who have already taken the 12-week course, this 6-week program will serve to reinforce key teachings, provide on-going practice opportunities, and provide new insights into the contemplative nature of communication practice.
I took your 6-week online course “Authentic Communication.” Will this be different?
Yes. This course is primarily focused on teachings and texts from the Buddhist tradition. If you have taken Oren’s 6-week “Authentic Communication” course, this class will provide additional material, frameworks, and meditations to deepen your understanding and skills in communication practice.
Do I need to read Oren’s book “Say What You Mean” to take this course?
No. Though not required, reading Say What You Mean prior to (or during) the course will provide a complete framework and solid foundation to enhance your learning in the course.
How much of the course is taught by Oren?
The course is taught entirely by Oren, with opportunities for live online coaching and personal exchanges. Both Oren and Teacher Assistants will be monitoring and responding to posts in the online group forum.
I understand this is a live course – what will the class size be?
Given the nature of online courses and the donation basis for this course, it’s difficult to predict the course size. Last year’s course had over 1,000 people, but we have no way of predicting how many will join this summer. Based on Oren’s previous courses, we’re confident that the combination of core teaching sessions, submitting written questions, plus live Q&A sessions will provide sufficient learning opportunities, support, coaching and practice.
I have to miss a few of the sessions. Will they be recorded?
Yes. All of the live sessions will be recorded and available for viewing afterwards. Participants will have indefinite access to the audio recordings from the course.
My internet is slow. Can I call in by phone?
Yes - you can join the live calls on your laptop, mobile device, or by dialing in by phone. For laptop and mobile you will need to download the Zoom app (instructions will be provided. For phone, you must be able to place a call to regular number (it is not a toll-free call).
Does the course include anything else other than the 75 minute weekly sessions?
Yes. In addition to the live 75-minute sessions, each week includes a 75 minute interactive Q&A; a written reflection from Oren; core texts and reading materials; suggestions for practice; optional interactive exercises with a buddy; optional online correspondence with fellow participants in the course forums.
How much time will it take me to participate in the course each week?
That depends on you. The minimum amount of time is 2.5 hours for the weekly sessions. We recommend spending at least another hour per week doing the practices. Some participants may choose to spend more or less time depending on their schedule.
How does the donation process work?
This course is being offered as a partnership between Oren Jay Sofer and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Given the economic crisis and our mutual desire to make these teachings available to as many people as possible, we are offering the course on a donation basis. When you register, and periodically throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to make a contribution to BCBS and Oren. There is no recommended amount, and no obligation to donate. We invite each person to participate joyfully according to their means. To read more about this practice, see here.
Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes, since your donation will be processed by the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, a 501c3 non-profit, your donation is tax-deductible.