Shining Minds

Shining Minds Group – (neurodivergence/mental health challenges)

Our sangha’s Shining Minds Group is a place for those of our sangha siblings who self-identify with the following two groups of people that sometimes overlap:

  1. Neurodivergent people – Our brains process things differently from the “norm” in society. We might identify as autistic or have a specific diagnosis, such as ADHD, sensory processing disorder, dyslexia, C-PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, epilepsy, learning disability, traumatic brain injury, (history of) stroke, etc. Some people who are neurodivergent do not have a specific diagnosis, but just feel they are “wired differently” from neurotypical people.
  2. People with a mental health challenge – Our physical, psychological, and emotional states of being may be affected regularly by a condition that could be transient or longstanding. We might have a diagnosis or history of anxiety, major depression, persistent depression, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, PTSD, PMDD, OCD, DID, seasonal affective disorder, bulimia, anorexia, panic disorder, personality disorder, phobia, binge eating, addiction, etc.

Neurodivergent people and people with mental health challenges tend to have experienced both stigmatization and ableism (i.e., discrimination against people with disabilities, including neurological and mental health disabilities). We may have interacted with well-meaning family members or friends who wanted to “fix” us. We may have received negative messages about neurodiversity and mental health challenges from news media, social media, films, books, etc.

Shining Minds is an affinity group. Affinity groups are for people with shared traits, experiences, or circumstances. These groups help us practice with particular conditions in our lives with the intention to nourish ourselves and to understand and transform suffering. We welcome all neurodivergent people and people with mental health challenges to join our Shining Minds Group. If you are not already a member of World Interbeing Sangha, please see our Practice With Us page to join our sangha and then participate in our Shining Minds Group.

Meetings. We meet online bimonthly on the first and third Saturdays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am Mountain Time (US). We strive to make our sessions as accessible as possible, and if you need a particular accommodation, please reach out to us.

Intentions in Gathering:

  • Our main focus is on the practice of mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition.
  • We come together in Shining Minds with the intention of creating a safe, non-judgmental, non-stigmatizing sangha space for neurodivergent people and people with mental health challenges.
  • An important focus of our practice is to water the seeds of joy, both in ourselves and others, in this space.
  • We place great emphasis on body-centered and heart-centered practices in the Plum Village tradition.
  • We come together to create a space that builds on our strengths and is free of a focus on “fixing” ourselves or one another.
  • We create a space that is free of unsolicited advice.
  • We create a space in which we can be true to ourselves, letting go of “masks” and efforts to try to appear “normal” or neurotypical.

Points of Clarity:

  • Shining Minds practices mindfulness together to support our lives. Our practices can be helpful, and more might be needed.
  • During dharma sharing, we focus on listening deeply and sharing from the heart.
  • We do not give advice to one another, even after the meeting sessions or through the chat box.
  • Shining Minds is neither a psychotherapy group nor a self-help group.
  • Shining Minds does not have the capacity to handle a mental health crisis. Please seek professional or additional help in such a case.
  • We do not share with people outside of sangha what is discussed in dharma sharing (the only exception is if someone shares intentions to harm self or others during dharma sharing).

Our format:

  • 15 minutes of mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition (e.g., walking mindfully,
    drinking tea mindfully, etc.) or self-care practices (e.g., journaling) or mindful movements (guided), then
  • 15 minutes for introductions and the dharma reading or video, then 
  • 30 minutes for dharma sharing