Mindfulness for Hong Kongers

A selection of useful English-speaking information online and in Hong Kong
Free Reading and listening – online

Where to find formal training in Hong Kong?

Where to find regular practice and retreats in Hong Kong?

  • Hong Kong Insight Meditation Society http://www.hkims.org
  • Plum Village Hong Kong: http://www.pvfhk.org
  • Facebook: Mindful Hong Kong (“I like”)
  • Integrated Medicine Institute: http://www.imi.com.hk
  • Smartspace at Smartcells: free morning meditation open group contact sebastian (at) counsellinghongkong.com

Institutions which promote mindfulness within a broader scope (Find more on news, lectures, workshops and retreats and contact them to join their newsletters)

  • Centre for Buddhist Studies, Hong Kong University  www.buddhism.hku.hk
  • Centre on Behavioural Health, Hong Kong University http://cbh.hku.hk
  • Centre for Religious and Spirituality Education, Institute of Education

Here a short sample from my favorite Intro text “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana:
“… Take worry. We worry a lot. Worry itself is the problem. Worry is a process. It has steps. Anxiety is not just a state of existence but a procedure. What you’ve got to do is to look at the very beginning of that procedure, those initial stages before the process has built up a head of steam. The very first link of the worry chain is the grasping/rejecting reaction. As soon as some phenomenon pops into the mind, we try mentally to grab onto it or push it away. That sets the worry response in motion. Luckily, there is a handy little tool called Vipassana meditation which you can use to short-circuit the whole mechanism.

Vipassana meditation teaches us how to scrutinize our own perceptual process with great precision. We learn to watch the arising of thought and perception with a feeling of serene detachment. We learn to view our own reactions to stimuli with calm and clarity. We begin to see ourselves reacting without getting caught up in the reactions themselves. The obsessive nature of thought slowly dies. We can still get married. We can still step out of the path of the truck. But we don’t need to go through hell over either one. …” (you can download the pdf version at lots of places online – see above – on a donation basis – it’s worth it!)


Client’s reflection on depression

A client of mine kindly provided some feedback on his counselling process with me and what he thinks of medication:

How counselling helped you during the past months?
Looking back, it’s difficult to remember how I got myself into such a mess.
At the time, though, it was very real, destructive and dark.
My sessions … were like a lifeline.
One of the most important factors was feeling that I had a team around me.
That you shared my different battles and that I was not alone.
Your wholehearted approval (and surprise) when I mentioned that I had gone sailing while in the very depths of melancholy was especially memorable!
Various insights you offered – and a couple of the books you recommended – helped me to better understand my depression.
Some of the techniques and words of advice you shared helped me to create a toolkit to dig my way out of the hole I was in.
Where you would draw the line to medication and other measures?
As you will recall, I chose to go onto Prozac during all of this.
In retrospect, it’s hard to know what role, if any, it played in my recovery.
In fact during the first ten days, it made me worse.
However, there was a watershed point about 6 weeks after I started the Prozac when I began to quickly and steadily recover.
At the time, it felt as if I had absorbed a sufficient level of Prozac and my brain was now being flooded with happy chemicals.
However, I have no way of objectively quantifying what was the Prozac and what was my natural recovery mode kicking in.
If I were ever to go into serious depression again (God forbid), I would probably go back onto anti-depressants.
I would certainly immediately go into counseling.
I hope these comments are helpful.