Zen-inspired Living Series

Learn Skills for Applying Mindful Awareness in Your Daily Life

The Core Gateway Series consists of 3 mini courses in Focusing: Embodied Awareness, Compassionate Communication and Big Mind. These courses will teach you practical skills for applying mindfulness in your every day life. Each course consists of four classes taught once a week on Thursday evenings at 7 pm or Saturday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:30 pm.

The Core Primer Series will give you a grounding in basic mindfulness practice that will help you take better advantage of the Core Gateway Series.  We highly recommend that you minimally complete Primers 1—6 before taking any of the Gateway mini-courses to ensure sufficient comprehension of the new material.

The 2018 Schedule of Core Gateway Mini-Courses is as follows:

Compassionate Communication: January 6, 13, 20, 27, Saturdays from 1 to 2:30 pm

Focusing: Embodied Awareness: February 3, 10, 17, 24, Saturdays from 1 to 2:30 pm

Focusing: Embodied Awareness April 12, 19, 26, May 3, Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 pm

Focusing: Embodied Awareness September 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 pm

Compassionate Communication classes for Oct. 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17 have been postponed until further notice.

Cost: Each course of 4 classes is $100 for Nonmembers; $90 for ZLMC Members. 

FOCUSING: Embodied Awareness

Focusing is a body-oriented process of self-awareness and healing that was developed by Dr. Eugene Gendlin in the early 1970's at the University of Chicago. 

Focusing is a process of listening to your body in a gentle way that is open and accepting. It is a process of learning to accept the wisdom that you have inside you.

The results are increased self-awareness and attunement with your own core values that help you make wiser choices. 

Class 1: Introduction to Focusing

This class will introduce you to the process of Focusing. It will integrate the practice of mindfulness within the context of your inner embodied awareness.

It will consist of a body scan and an exercise called "Grounded Aware Presence", and will enhance your awareness through a further exercise of "Friendly Attending".

This class will apply "Not-Knowing" in the new context of Focusing. 

Class 2: Finding a Felt Sense

This class will extend and deepen your learning of Focusing. You'll learn about what a "felt sense" is and how your awareness of this can help you overcome many of life's challenges.

This class will present the concept of "Philosophy of the Implicit". 

Class 3: Mindful Focusing

This class will help you learn to pay attention in a new way to sensations in your body that can be a source of increased clarity. It will also show you the relationship of mind to body, and how your constant thinking can distract you from your own direct, embodied experience. As a result, we'll help you trust your experience and be more comfortable within your own skin. 

Class 4: Living Life Forward

This class will help you begin applying the felt sense in your everyday life. You'll learn how the felt sense can bring new insights that move you forward towards your life goals in alignment with your core values.

The class will do an exercise for finding the right next step. Concepts presented will be "carrying forward" and "action steps". 


Compassionate Communication is based on Nonviolent Communication (NVC) developed by Marshall Rosenberg, a renown therapist who has pioneered the skillful use of language for compassionate conflict resolution.  Compassionate Communication is a way of speaking that is more empathic and compassionate.

Compassionate Communication will teach you four important communication principles, represented by four language patterns. This proactive way of communicating will enable you to speak more authentically with others, build trust and overcome conflict. 

Class 1: Introduction to Compassionate Communication

This class will introduce you to the power of Compassionate Communication. You'll learn how taking full responsibility for your experience can be translated into four specific language patterns.

Concepts presented in the class are "jackal", "giraffe", "4 D's of Disconnection" and "4-Step Giraffe Dance". 

Class 2: Developing Needs Awareness

This class will focus on increasing your understanding and skill in using the four-step giraffe dance. These important communication principles will greatly facilitate your ability to connect with others through more skillful, compassionate communication.

Class 3: Standing Your Ground

It is often difficult and challenging to draw clear boundaries in your life and to stand your ground. This class will help you use Compassionate Communication to speak more authentically from your own experience. The class will present an approach to using "thirty word or less". 

Class 4: The Power of Empathic Listening

There are two sides to any conversation—standing your ground, and deep listening. We often don't listen well to others.

This class will give you new skills for increasing your ability to listen deeply and empathically to others, including those with whom you may disagree. The class will present the concept of "deep listening". 


These classes will explore the process of Big Mind which will help you open up and learn about new aspects of yourself. Big Mind was developed by Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel. It is based on a form of therapy called "Voice Dialogue", that was developed by Hal and Sidra Stone.

Big Mind will help you integrate diverse energies within your life experience to illuminate the path to living a Zen-inspired life. 

Instructor: Robert Althouse

Class 1: Introduction to Big Mind

This class will introduce the process of Big Mind. You'll learn about Voice Dialogue and how this technique is used in the Big Mind process.

The class will begin exploring some of the many voices that are possible in Big Mind. Concepts presented will be "Psychological Freedom", "Relative Voices", "Absolute Voices", and "Voices from the Apex"

Class 2: Discovering New Voices in Yourself

In this class you will continue the journey of discovering different aspects of yourself through Big Mind. You'll learn how voices or aspects of yourself, are often disowned and unacknowledged. Through the Big Mind process you can begin to reclaim these disowned aspects of yourself to increase your vitality, joy and positive self esteem.

Concepts presented will be "Fully Awake, Embodied Voice", "Immature Voice" and "Disowned Voice.

Class 3: The Triangle of Zen-inspired Living

This class will introduce a triangle structure for deepening the Big Mind process. You'll learn how integrating diverse voices in yourself can set you on a spiritual path of deep transformation and healing.

Class 4: Big Mind/Big Heart

This final class will explore how this Big Mind process can be extended and applied to many aspects of your daily life.

You'll learn how applying this process to your own experience can enhance your own authenticity and help you move beyond habitual behaviors that keep you stuck and unfulfilled. Concepts presented will be "Positive Emptiness" and "Spiritual Freedom".