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Interpersonal Mindfulness: Awakening together – shared by Erik van den Brink

How would it be if we learned to meditate while we communicate?

If we learned to be mindfully present when we speak and listen, could we notice our reactivity more closely and avoid automatically being caught in unhealthy communication patterns?

Would this create more space for healthy communication?

These and other questions were explored during this webinar with psychiatrist / compassion trainer Erik van den Brink. We enjoyed Erik’s clear and poetic style of sharing the essence of this approach. No risk of falling asleep while practicing together, yet having the opportunity of awakening together at a profound level. Easing one another into pausing, relaxing, opening, attuning to emergence and into listening deeply as well as speaking the truth. At ease because of the support of community with one or more practitioners.

Recording available in eamba YouTube channel.

eamba is deeply grateful to Erik and his colleagues for having shared many insights on mindful communication as well as skills to be implemented by us as teachers in our own teaching. You are invited to benefit from the four recordings in the series on Mindful Communication (YouTube eamba).
Find you way to the articles on which this series was based  Mindful Communication: Speaking and Listening with Wisdom and Compassion, edited byFrits Koster, Jetty Heynekamp and Victoria Norton. A wonderful book encouraging confidence in mindful communication, which is at the heart mindful community – mindful societies. Warmly recommended reading.

Erik quotes Rachel Holstead on page 51: are-not-my-words. (accessed in July 2022).

Let me hear you.
Speak your heart
and empty out those dark corners.

Words unspoken
cannot bring joy.
Let them dance,
even if their steps first falter.

Trust that what emerges
will be warmed by the sun,
will be sheltered from the wind
by my listening.

Let words that have been furled
tighter and tighter inside
emerge and stretch and sway.

Watch them lighten
and feel your heart lift
as their weight eases
and they flow out in the world
like butterflies, to land or float away.

Let them go
and see your soul dance
to sweet silence
in the hallowed space that remains.


As human communication can be highly stressful, it is not surprising that mindfulness-based training programs were developed to reduce interpersonal stress. MBSR only briefly touches on the theme of communication. There is insufficient room in the curriculum for a systematic training in mindful communication. This is precisely what the Interpersonal Mindfulness Program (IMP) offers. Like Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL), the IMP is designed as a follow-on course, for those who have already followed MBSR or an equivalent Mindfulness-Based Program. IMP is deeply  inspired by Insight Dialogue, which offers a path of practice to develop meditative and relational qualities and cultivate wisdom based on Buddhist teachings. The secular IMP is meant for people from diverse backgrounds and taught in a non-religious context.  Whereas IMP and Insight Dialogue share the six guidelines for interpersonal practice (Pause, Relax, Open, Attune to Emergence, Listen Deeply, and Speak the Truth), they differ somewhat in their choice of themes for contemplation.

This webinar offers an introduction into some of the key features of the IMP as well as a taste of practice. English spoken.

Erik van den Brink studied medicine in Amsterdam and trained as a psychiatrist-psychotherapist in the UK. From his return to the Netherlands in 1995 he worked in community psychiatry, integrative psychiatry, and psycho-oncology. He has always been particularly interested in methods that empower people’s self-healing capacity and pioneered mindfulness and compassion-based interventions in mental health.

He has a long-standing personal meditation practice and was trained by founding teachers in MBSR/MBCT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, and Interpersonal Mindfulness. With Frits Koster he developed MBCL and co-authored several publications. He is a frequently asked guest teacher at mindfulness training institutes across Europe and beyond. Website:

Donation-based event, if you wish to grant a donation, please send it to eamba
IBAN NL28 TRIO 0379 3688 62. BIC TRIONL2U. Mentioning “MF COMM 0404”,
eamba will transfer your donation to the authors.

Cover Mindful Communication

The program Interpersonal Mindfulness: Awakening together is presented in a new book Mindful Communication: Speaking and Listening with Wisdom and Compassion, edited by Frits Koster, Jetty Heynekamp and Victoria Norton.

The book features the following programs:

– Nonviolent Communication (by Oren Jay Sofer and Sietske de Haan),
– The Interpersonal Mindfulness Program (by Erik van den Brink),
– Green Zone Communication (by Greg Heffron, Esther Hasselman and Christine Trani),
– Mindfulness and Communication (by Edel Maex),
– Deep Listening (by Rosamund Oliver and Chantal Bergers),
– Open Dialogue (by Russell Razzaque, Heleen Wadman, Kwok H. Wong and Olaf Galisch).

These mindful communication programs are of interest to those working in health or social care, education, community action and to all who wish to listen and speak with more wisdom and compassion.

Donation-based event, if you wish to grant a donation, please send it to eamba
IBAN NL28 TRIO 0379 3688 62. BIC TRIONL2U. Mentioning “MF COMM 0403”,
eamba will transfer your donation to the authors.

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