The Challenge of Change Week 1 Q&A

Larry Rosenberg

Larry Rosenberg's Week 1 Video Teaching, "Life and Practice," is here.

I have been meditating and practicing yoga for nearly two years. I thought I had it all together but now I am going through a painful separation from my wife and 14 year old daughter. I am often overwhelmed by pain and grief and fear of the future. It appears that my "having it all together" was an illusion built upon a foundation of having a secure home and family.  Now it seems that sitting with these emotions only makes them stronger, more overwhelming. Can you help me and others in similar situations understand how to regain a center?

The future is unknown to us all; reflect on this. What does "sitting with these emotions" mean for you? Is samadhi steady enuf to fully receive the fear energy etc? ie non judgemental attention.  See each mind state when it ACTUALLY appears—not as detachment, rather as something intimate. What you refer to would be quite a challenge for any of us. Perhaps gladdening the heart via breath awareness of metta practice would help the mind be more fit to be mindful.  When you say it gets worse this suggests that you are being mindful in order to get a result—feeling better. This is not right mindfulness.  Anyone you can talk to? Watch the mind invent a horrible future and see it only as thinking. The loss you refer to, if final, must be grieved fully.

I bring both my palms together in silent compassion for your hurt.



Hi Larry, we do not have a local centre, but have quite a few opportunities for retreats within a 100km radius.  The insight group I sit with does not have a formal teacher.  Some of us do retreats.  I do at least one or two a year.   However, we all recognize the difficulty with remembering to be mindful in everyday life, especially under pressure.  I was very interested in your approach and wondered if you have any advice for a sitting group that meets once a fortnight?  It would be useful to have a few challenges we could set each other then ask questions on how we have gone.  Thank you for your talk.

Such a sitting group can be a great help: Sit, walk, listen to  tapes that you can relate to and talk it all over with each other. Perhaps the following might be of some help: Have the group all take up a specific teaching and then share the results of your experience when you come together. For example the First and Second Noble Truths together is a good one to watch for instances of attachment and suffering and practice.  The challenge of a real life assignment can mobilize energy for mindful living.

all the very best


Hi, Larry.

I see I've missed the deadline for questions for this week.  Maybe you can answer mine next week.

During the "sandwich retreat," do participants sit and walk at the center during the day, or go about their usual work and home chores, and return the the center in the evening?

Hope you're doing ok.  Looking forward to the rescheduled Newburyport visit.  Get well soon.

The time spent during the day is composed of our life just as it is, but accompanied by attention and an interest in self-knowing. When everyone comes together in the evening there is time set aside to discuss all this, in addition to normal formal practice, in other words sitting, walking, individual interviews.

Thank you for your kind words,


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