While the concept of sharing is hardly a new one at New Life, it took on a new depth and shape as it was looked at it through a lens of Buddhist practice.
To introduce us to the new angle of thought, the workshop is opened with a short reading that covers Buddhist core principles, recovery and mindfulness.
With this in mind, if you will excuse the pun, residents are then invited to silently contemplate the light and the dark sides of life – specific to the particular text of the day. What are the dark thoughts that bring suffering into our lives and what constitutes the ‘enlightened’ moments that facilitate recovery?
As you can possibly imagine, this leads to an interesting discussion as participants share their musings. New sparkles of enlightenment are an interesting by-product of this kind of sharing – how one person’s thought joined with another person’s can suddenly complete the jigsaw and bring a moment of profound clarity.
This Buddhist style “Sit and Share”, introduced to New Life by practitioner Vince Cullen who has been running Buddhism-based healing retreats in the UK for many years, is brought to a close with 20 minutes of meditation.
It has made an interesting addition to the many recovery tools on offer at New Life Foundation.
It can be used in “lieu of 12-step meetings or in addition to it”, says New Life’s ‘Soul Coach’ Nick Thorp.
“Recovery is a very individual process,” he adds. “That’s why we offer many choices and encourage each person to find his or her own path.”
Other group recovery sessions on offer at New Life include the twice-weekly 12-step meetings in Chiang Rai and a ‘speaker’ meeting on Wednesday evenings when someone – from within or without the community – is invited to share their story, wisdom and experiences. It’s a powerful process not just for those sharing their story but for those listening. It’s rare that you don’t find some common links from the tale to your own human experience, perhaps not in the actions or specifics of events but certainly in the emotions surrounding them. It’s an incredible gift to find that you are not quite so unique or alone in the world.