Contemplating Impermanence Workshop

Penn Program for Mindfulness

Lawrence J. Ladden and Jale Cilasun

Jan 5 – 6, 2019, 9:30am – 4pm

Cost: $199

Optional CEs: 11 credit hours? $70





“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.” 

                                          Paul Bowles,  Sheltering Sky.


Mindfulness shows us the truth of impermanence. It teaches us that the present moment is fleeting, and that something new is always emerging. Our relationship to impermanence is central to our mindfulness practice. When our life changes, mindfulness helps us to bring our full attention to what is about to depart as well as what is just arriving. All life-changing transitions, including changes in health, work, relationships, aging, and the end of life itself, benefit greatly from our mindful attention and care.

The weekend program will use mindfulness and group process to explore the experience of change from both the individual and group perspectives. 

The individual perspective is inspired by Stephen Levine’s text “A Year to Live,” a journal of a year when the author lived as if it were his final year of life. We will use guided meditations derived from that text to learn about discomfort, forgiveness, and gratitude.

The group perspective will explore the impermanence that is alive in every moment of relational and group life. We will base our investigation on the four foundations of mindfulness as experienced in the group through a process known as Contemplative Group Dynamics. By starting slowly with body sensation we can explore the body as an active process of change, and then notice how shared sensations and feelings resonate with others. Shared practice provides a container for the emotional energies evoked by loss and change.  A supportive and mindful group allows these energies to be met and held with gentle awareness rather than avoided.

It is our hope that this weekend will help participants to bring awareness of the preciousness of the present moment more fully into their lives. By appreciating what occurs and not taking the moments of our life for granted we can bring a caring attention and a steady presence to the unfolding mystery that is right here.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify how formal mindfulness practice enacts a first-hand relationship to 

impermanence in relation to sensation, feeling, and thinking (“noticing” and 

“letting go”).

2. Identify the role of mindfulness in cultivating acceptance toward human

expressions of impermanence:  separation, illness, aging and death.

3. Practice mindfulness based exercises aimed at cultivating forgiveness and 


4. Identify the emotional responses associated with loss and grief and our 

resistance to bringing attention to them.

5. Identify the benefit of a group mindfulness practice using speech to mutually 

recognize and contain emotion. 

6. Practice mindfulness exercises that address physical and emotional discomfort. 

Identify how physical and emotional discomfort interact within the individual and 

within the group.