Take Back Your Life

Prayer Flags in the Wind

Community support to manage pain

On completing our Breathworks teacher training, and after facilitating pain management courses in Breathing Space at the London Buddhist Centre, both my friend Kalyanavaca and I had exactly the same idea!

We’d seen the eight-week Breathworks course alleviate the suffering of participants, and wanted to offer the programme to a wider audience. We wanted to reach local people from all kinds of cultures and religions, including people with lower incomes, language and literacy levels. After all, our Buddhist practice is for the sake of ALL beings – not just Buddhists or those comfortable to come to a Buddhist Centre! By working with Globe Community Project, we’ve been able to make our dreams a reality and create a year-long pilot project, adapting Breathworks pain management courses and bringing them out into the local community. Tower Hamlets Council has been hugely supportive by funding much of the year-long project, meaning we can offer these courses free of charge, so anyone can access them.

These courses can transform people's experience and their lives!

Take Fiona, who has Multiple Sclerosis. She is a mother of young children, and at the start of the eight-week course, she was in constant pain. She felt depressed, isolated and flooded with guilt, wishing she could hide from her children. The course connected her with others who shared her condition. It gave her support, skills and tools to ‘take back her life.’ She started to experience less depression, less pain, more connection and by the end of the course had once again found joy in life – delightedly showing us videos of a school concert she had attended and telling us joyfully how she had participated.

Seeing people change during the programme is hugely satisfying. Course facilitators like my friend Kalyanavaca and I are just one set of conditions in the Breathworks life cycle. The participant group plays a huge part in the success of the course, as do the wonderful Breathworks training materials and resources.

Both Kalyanavaca and I agree, there is no better feeling than seeing our actions directly alleviate suffering. This was our primary motivation in setting up the adapted five-week ‘Take Back Your Life ’ community programme.

May all beings be well! May all beings be happy! May all beings be free from suffering!