Writing a Book and Generosity

This week is a big week for me, and I want to share this with all of you. After a year of writing and refining with my colleague, Dr. Greg Serpa, we are sending the finished and edited manuscript for “Clinician’s Guide to Teaching Mindfulness” to the publisher. It will be on the bookshelves in June 2015.

The need for a book

This book came out of our work at the VA of teaching clinicians how to teach mindfulness. I had already had quite a lot of experience and material from training new MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) teachers. Then, while working at the VA, Greg and I were putting together more lists, summaries, tips and practices. We found ourselves wishing that somebody had already done this work so we could simply refer to it: “Get that book,” or “Go to that website.” Since there wasn’t anything like that available, we finally stepped up and did it ourselves—really quite simple. There was a need and we responded. We had the knowledge and expertise and we wanted to share it so that more people could learn the life-changing practices of mindfulness and compassion.

Writing as generosity

Things to be generous with easelThis week in our “Deepening Joy” class at InsightLA, we looked more in-depth at the practice of generosity. We wrote an entire white board full of things we can be generous with. We listed the ones that might come to mind immediately, such as food, shelter, money, and time, and also the less obvious ones like experience, dreams and patience. This exercise made me realize that sharing our knowledge and expertise in writing this book is an act of generosity—that hadn’t really occurred to me before. But writing this book will allow many more people to benefit from what we have learned. Aspiring teachers will become better teachers, and, in turn, their students will be touched by mindfulness in a deeper way. The book will be out there, preserved for the future as long as it’s useful – and independent of us, the authors (just in case this whole impermanence thing turns out to be true after all).

I want to express my gratitude to all of you who have ever taken a class with me—you have helped me gain the expertise that I can now share with everybody. Thank you!

And the deepest bow of gratitude goes to Trudy, who took me under her wing in 2003 and decided that I would make a good teacher. She let me tag along with her and co-teach many classes together, and has been so very generous with her knowledge and expertise.

With much joy and gratitude,


Note: This blog was first published as “Note to the Reader” of InsightLA’s newsletter November 14th.

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