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The most diverse gathering of races and ethnicities from across the world is living in one place here in the United States. The following are four recent examples of immigrant cultural gifts that have inspired American society. In the same way that the Bible teaches one to "know thyself," Asian spiritual teachings offer their own path towards this same spiritual goal. Across the board, be it Korean, Ethiopian, or Armenian food, most traditional cuisines emphasize a diet of whole grains, many vegetables, and good fats. Ethnic communities from around the country come together at the annual Immigrant and Minority Farmer's Conference where they discuss combining traditional farming techniques with modern cultivation methods. Mindfulness in South Africa continues to grow locally and nationally and expand our international links. There has been a successful second intake of students for the diploma course in Mindfulness run by the University of Stellenbosch.  Sheryl Maastrecht, a psychologist from East London was one of the participants. I entered the initial contact week feeling a mixture of chest fluttering excitement and stomach churning anxiety and soon discovered I was not alone in having mixed feelings. Sitting for lengthy periods did take its toll on my body but I also appreciated how the extended group practice grounded me by the end of the retreat. My certainty was based on my introduction to Qigong while on a nine day silent retreat with Dharmagiri’s Thanissara and Kittisaro in February 2014, and my wish to incorporate into my practice.
In his book The Qigong Way, Max says: “The ancient art of qigong aims to cultivate one’s life force and harmonise body and mind through movement, attention, breath and meditation”.
Words are my music and the lyrical descriptions of the Qigong moves invoke fluidity and flow. Swiss-based Max teaches all over the world and his teaching while sincere and heartfelt is offered in a playful and theatrical way.
It will be some years before he visits South Africa again, and my planning horizon stretches to accommodate this. Fellow retreatant, Barbara Gerber had this to say: “Being back at Dharmagiri for the Qigong retreat was a blessing in many ways. For Mari Hurly: “Attending Max’s Qigong workshop at Dharmagiri has added a whole new aspect to my meditation practice.
Thanissara and Kittisara from Dharmagiri have developed an excellent on-line programme which gently and profoundly explores an understanding of the underpinnings of mindfulness, with the aim of awakening the heart.
Janine Kirby and Barbara Gerber are currently working through the course, and have found the teachings both challenging and deeply moving.  We have incorporated the knowledge and insights we have gained into our daily practice and our teaching. Kittisara and Thanissara have recently published a book, Listening to the Heart, which weaves their personal stories with the teachings of the dharma. With the growth of Mindfulness Based Interventions worldwide and the proliferation of training organisations a need has been seen to arise to network between training organisations that are offering training in MBI to ensure integrity of teaching. A reporter in the room noted “The truth is, we show much more compassion to our smart phones than ourselves,” Ms.

Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk who has been dubbed the world’s happiest man gave an inspirational TED talk on letting altruism be your guide. The American Mindfulness Research Associations publishes a monthly guide to mindfulness research. Dr Trish Luck has been approved as a Certified MBSR Teacher through the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical.
Please contact us with any ideas, news, sites or articles which we can include in future editions. We often focus on the economic contributions of immigrants, but this tends to draw attention away from the tremendous social and cultural impacts that these communities have on American society. This is only a sampling of the remarkable ways in which immigration has impacted the United States throughout history. As the American understanding of Eastern Spirituality continues to deepen, our culture is being enriched with a fuller understanding of religion and faith. As Pollan affirms, there is a very low incidence of 'first world' diseases like diabetes and heart disease among people eating traditional diets.
Immigrant farming communities living in America include the Punjabis in California's Central Valley, the Somali and Hmong people in Minnesota, the Japanese, Mexicans, and Koreans. Viv Zaacks had done a great job of linking out-of-towners with those willing to provide lifts so I had an opportunity to spend a few car hours forging a new friendship with Lila – before discovering she was also my roommate.
Adam, the chef, impressed me with his talent for combining interesting flavours in his vegetarian fare and he generously shared his recipes with those foodies who requested them. Linda and Simon managed to herd our large, diverse group (37) with the patience and skill of sheepdogs. Yet I knew a year in advance that I wanted to attend Qigong teacher Max Weier’s retreat at Dharamagiri Hermitage in Underberg.
Who wouldn’t want to engage in Warding off 1000 Illnesses or a Magic Spell for a Long Journey? Following his free style teaching with bare feet on Mother Earth, below the great mountain at Dharmagiri had me abiding at the centre of myself.
I tapped into a bubble of joy, a sense of lightness, and energy that I haven’t felt for a very long time.
I have found a deepening of my meditation and a greater ability to sit quietly for longer without my mind wandering. Each Sunday, renowned Insight Meditation teachers offer meditation instruction, teachings, and live Q&A on video. An initiative, spearheaded by Rebecca Crane (Bangor University Center for Mindfulness), Willem Kuyken (Oxford University Center for Mindfulness) and the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations, will facilitate meetings this year that will explore internationally what is needed to support MBI Integrity. This is an excellent guide and resource for those both teaching and participating in Mindfulness Based Interventions.
Immigrant communities bring time-tested traditional practices, customs, and knowledge from their countries that can inform and uplift American culture.

In the past two decades, Eastern spiritual teachings have blossomed in the hearts and lives of Americans.
As a society, we are greatly informed by the presence of immigrant communities that bring their traditional cuisines to this country. The comfort of our room exceeded my expectations and I was touched to see that it was called “Orchid” as this connected me with my late mother.
Their embodiment of loving kindness and attuned attention, with a good dose of humour and mischievousness, enabled an endless feedback loop from inside-out to outside-in. The intentions are to create a network of networks within an international container, within which MBI training organisations can meet collectively and take responsibility for governance in the MBI field, through building bridges and conversations that enable alignment toward common aspirations.
Meditation, yoga, and qigong -- the ancient Eastern arts for connecting with the soul -- are taught throughout America. With so many different studies and perspectives being touted, the simple question of what to eat has become very complicated.
There is much that we have learned and much more that we must continue to learn from immigrants regarding our diets. Many medical systems that were brought from foreign shores have shown themselves to be effective and have gained wide popularity in American culture.
In America, the most diverse place on the planet, we have the historic and unique opportunity to embody the greatest features of all the different civilizations from which our ancestors came.
Meetings over the next three months will be held in Europe, Australasia, the US, UK, as well as South Africa. These are rich cultural practices that Asian immigrants helped to bring from their homelands. In his book, In Defense of Food, renowned food author, Michael Pollan, discusses how the best answers for what to eat come from traditional cuisines. In many of these places, farming is organic by default because chemical inputs are not available. Acupressure and acupuncture from East Asia, ayurveda from India, and herbalism from Latin America are just a few of the many immigrant medical systems that have enriched our body of medical knowledge here in the United States.
In classrooms, seminars, and gyms across the country, this knowledge is passed to Americans of all races and creeds.
Traditional cuisines are complete systems for eating that give a person the full spectrum of nutrition needed to thrive. Immigrants in America who have this cultural knowledge are a valuable asset to us as we strive to grow more clean organic food here.
Patricia Luck, Simon Whitesman and Linda Kantor will be present at the meeting for this which will be attached to the UK Mindfulness Conference in Chester in July.

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