Contemplating Impermanence: Death, Dreams and Forgetfulness



Contemplating Impermanence: Death, Dreams and Forgetfulness (2-day workshop)
Registration Deadline: July 15, 2019 

Our relationship to impermanence is central to our mindfulness practice. Mindfulness helps us to navigate life changes by bringing our full, supportive attention to what is about to depart as well as what is about to arrive. All life-changing transitions, including those in health, work, relationships, aging, and the end of life itself, benefit greatly from our mindful attention and care. 

Death, dreams, and forgetfulness each express the reality of impermanence. Our mindfulness practice reveals how the present moment is fleeting, and how something new is always emerging. However, our intention to be present is easily forgotten as we habitually drift in thought and into emotional reactions. Dream-like preoccupations cloud our attention, and we forget the brevity of life.

This weekend program will use mindfulness and group process to explore our relationship to impermanence. The workshop will have three integrated aspects:

  • First, we will practice mindfulness in silence and as a group with speech - Contemplative Group Dynamics. As with individual practice the group notes sensations, feelings and thoughts. A common observation about Contemplative Group Dynamics is that it “makes it easier to stay present.”
  • Second, we will explore dreams as expressions of impermanence.  We can notice how our mind generates feelings and actions that feel real, only to see upon awakening their constructed nature.
  • Third, we will work with select practices on death and dying from Stephen Levine’s text “A Year to Live,” the author’s journal of a year lived as if it were his final year of life. We will explore how the past may re-emerge when not met fully in awareness.

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. 



Successful completion of our Foundation Mindfulness-based Stress Management program or its equivalent, or permission of the instructor, is required for participation. 

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, July 20 - 21, 2019
Location: Ralston Center
Facilitator: Lawrence Ladden and Jale Cilasun
Time: 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Cost:$199. 11 Optional Continuing Education Credits for $70

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Course 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. Identify and practice the difference between meeting experience with awareness versus avoidance
  4. Describe the meaning of at least three metaphors for impermanence: echo, reflection, shadow, dream, mirage and illusion.
  5. Define the difference between being mindful and identifying with one's constructed mental activities (e.g. thoughts, dreams, fears). 
  6. Describe the benefit of a group mindfulness practice using speech to mutually recognize and contain emotion.

Dr. Lawrence Ladden is a health psychologist and clinical psychologist with specialist training in group dynamics, practicing in the UK since 2013, and for years prior in Philadelphia with expertise in using mindfulness with patients with physical health conditions such as cancer and chronic pain. A mindfulness instructor for more than 30 years, he developed contemplative group dynamics which is an integration of mindfulness practices and group processes.

Dr. Jale Cilasun is a psychiatrist with specialist training as a medical psychotherapist and in Group Analysis who has been working in the NHS for 30 years, the last 16 as a consultant medical psychotherapist. She has extensive experience of using the group as a therapeutic medium for a wide range of psychological conditions. She has been working with contemplative group dyamics for the past five years.

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Contact the program at 215-615-2774 or

  • Please be advised that we are not able to take registrations by phone.  
  • Should you decide to cancel your registration, please do so no later than the registration deadline noted above. After that date there will be no refunds, no exceptions.  

*No registrations will be accepted after the registration deadlines

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