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Mindfulness Retreat + Training.

Flint Sparks, PhD
October 26-29, 2017                                                                                        Carondelet Event and Retreat Center, St. Paul, MN

Training in Compassion – Training for the Mind

 A Retreat + Training with Flint Sparks, Ph.D.

Thursday, Oct. 26 - Sunday, Oct 29, 2017

Space is limited so we encourage you to register early.
Looking forward to seeing you in October.



Flint’s academic training began with graduate degrees in both biology and psychology. He has extensive postdoctoral training in mindfulness based psychotherapies and group therapy with specialty training in both the Hakomi Method and Internal Family Systems Model. His traditional Zen training began at the San Francisco Zen Center and continued at the Austin Zen Center which he founded and nourished in its early years. Currently he is a resident teacher at Appamada, a center for Zen practice and inquiry in Austin, Texas.

Today, Flint’s teaching and consulting bridge the fields of health psychology, the psychology of contemplative practices, and traditional Zen Buddhist practice. His early research and counseling experience with the terminally ill inspired him to continue investigating the influence of consciousness in physical healing and emotional well-being. In response to witnessing the difficult struggles of both patients and family members dealing with chronic illness and death, he began to search for spiritual practices which would support and deepen his psychological work. This led him to an ever deepening commitment to Buddhist teachings and practices. Together, these two primary areas of interest—healthy human development and contemplative spiritual practices—form the complementary strands of the double-helix of full human maturity. These are the ongoing practices of growing up and waking up.

Training in Compassion – Training for the Mind

 A Retreat + Training with Flint Sparks, PhD

Thursday, Oct. 26 - Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017

$300 early bird; $325 regular registration


Compassion as a human trait has been getting increasing attention through research and study in psychology, neurobiology, sociology, and spirituality. We might have an idea of what compassion is, but the idea of it doesn’t make a difference in the face of personal and relationship struggles and suffering. We need to be able to access the
inner experience from which compassionate action arises.

The four Noble Truths of Buddhist practice identify the problem of human existence and offer the solution to alleviating suffering. In descriptive form they say:

Caught in the self-centered dream, only suffering.
Holding to self-centered thought exactly the dream.
Each moment life as it is, the only teacher.
Being just this moment, compassion’s way.

These truths reflect sound psychological principles that support mental and emotional maturity in personal and relational development. What is this “compassion’s way”? How do we cultivate compassion as a state of bodymind? Is this available for everyone to access? If so, what are the practices for activating the source of compassion?

This retreat style training will provide a creative and sound container for the expression of our innate capacity for compassionate care, skillful personal exploration, and deep meditation practices. Each component of the retreat will be designed to help train the mind toward compassionate response in the circumstances of our lives for both the lay and professional practitioner dedicated to the incorporation of mindfulness as the
basis of an awakened life.

The bookTraining in Compassion by Norman Fischer and Awakening through Love by John Makransky will be source material for the teachings and practice.

Program learning objectives and relevance:

  • Participants will be able to deepen their skills for responding with compassionate understanding in the therapeutic setting through self-reflection, meditation practice, and didactic learning.  


  • Participants will be able to connect the insights and information concerning the struggles and relationship problems originating in past conditioning that denied development of natural compassionate response innate in human beings. 


  • Participants will able to assist couples and individuals in developing compassion and care skills using self-reflection, personal awareness as it is involved in cultivating empathy, and acknowledgement of personal power to transform pain and suffering through compassionate action.   


  • Participants will be able to recognize signs of specific integrated character development in compassionate attitudes and action as an essential aspect of maturing in relationship and life skills.  Through guided experience they will learn how to translate this practice into therapeutic interventions for couples and family relationships, i.e., to reduce intra and interpersonal conflict, transform troublesome attitudes and positions, and recognize personal responsibility in creating relationship well-being.   


Thursday, Oct. 26

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM: Orientation to the Retreat + Training

Friday, Oct. 27 & Saturday Oct. 28

8:30 AM - 5:30 PM: Retreat + Training

Sunday, Oct. 29

8:30 AM - 12:00 PM: Retreat + Training & Closing

**Please note, given the importance of a safe group container, we ask that you only register

for this retreat + training  if you able to attend it in its entirety,  Thursday 7 PM - Sunday 12 PM.  

Morning and afternoon snack

and tea and coffee service will be provided.

Retreat attendees will be on their own for lunch.  

Participants are encouraged to get lunch from the St. Catherine's University Cafeteria on campus,

a short walk away from Carondelet, which provides a full lunch service daily.

St. Catherine's Cafeteria Website


You can bring your own cushion, blanket, or back jack if you’d like.  

Comfortable chairs are in the space.
Wear loose comfortable clothing and dress in layers for temperature comfort.  
Bring slippers and outdoor walking shoes.  
We will likely have an opportunity for guided walking meditation.

Please be mindful not to wear any extra scents
(perfumes or perfumed lotion, essential oils, etc.) during the retreat.  Thanks.

Outside food and snacks are not allowed at Carondelet.


While applications have been submitted for continuing education credits, this retreat + training is not exclusive to  mental health professionals.  The course is suitable for all healing professionals, including but not limited to: counselors, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, health and social care professionals practicing in health, education and social care settings and in private practice, and who have a core professional training. It is suitable for therapists working in all modalities and for anyone in the healing professions. 

Note: This retreat is an opportunity for deep inquiry of oneself. We practice meditation to face ourselves and the conditional structures that maintain the patterns of our lives all to serve awakening and freedom from conditions. This is not a place to receive psychological or psychiatric care. If you are under the care of a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, please check with them about the appropriateness of attending a meditation retreat.


Cost for Registration:

Early Registration (through September 30)- $300

Regular Registration (October 1 and beyond) - $325

Given the nature of this event, capacity for this event will be limited!  Sign up early to reserve your spot! 

**Please note, given the importance of a safe group container, we ask that you only register for this retreat + training if you able to attend it in its entirety, Thursday 7 PM - Sunday 12 PM.  


Continuing Education Credits will be applied for and provided for those who attend the retreat. Given the hybrid retreat/training format, we are applying for credits for the teaching portions, with pending approval from:

MN Board of Psychology (LP)

MN Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (LADC & LPCC)

MN Board of Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT)  

MN Trauma Project is an approved continuing education provider through the MN Board of Social Work (LICSW)    


Workshop Venue:  Carondelet Retreat and Event Center


Address:  1890 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105


Parking:  Free Lot


ADA Considerations:  Handicap Parking available

Elevator available to first floor


Please contact MN Trauma Project at for any specific accomodation requests

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