The Practice of Wise Speech with Oren Jay Sofer in Kansas City, MO
How often does a skilled teacher with practical insights come to the Midwest? In my experience, not often enough. Oren Jay Sofer is a teacher who generously shares his work in a manner that is applicable in every day real life situations. When I heard he was coming to Kansas City, MO, I knew I wanted to sit with him in person.
It was a workshop more than a retreat and that is what I expected. I am familiar with Oren’s work from taking his online classes. The workshop provided the right balance of instruction and silent meditation.
There was one exercise that was transformational for me. The directions were to choose a word or phrases that had been spoken to you that were hurtful at a low to moderate scale. My phrase was “you are so selfish.” One member of my small group rejected me and the other showed me empathy. We repeated the exercise so I could feel the sensations in my body and not turn away. For me it was so powerful because I have been paralyzed, I couldn’t create enough distance between the trigger words and my response.
The practice formed a new foundation of awareness and empathy for me. I was able to develop my capacity to listen to myself and strengthen my ability to stay present.
Oren’s guided meditations balanced the interactive exercises. One sit focused on self-empathy. It was a compelling experience because I felt compassion, support, and love for myself. My wounded self felt comfort and understanding for many past painful experiences.
“The retreat space created the container for deep exploration of mindful communications and practice for wise speech.”
During the Q&A time, Oren offered stories and explanations so I could understand how to apply specific techniques. This was another opportunity for me to grasp how to integrate multiple techniques in a variety of circumstances.
I am grateful for the opportunity to sit with Oren in person and interact with other people who are interested in applying this contemporary and contemplative discipline.