Peter Strong, PhD is a scientist, spiritual teacher and Mindfulness-based Psychotherapist who specializes in the study of mindfulness and its application in Mindfulness Meditation Therapy. He teaches mindfulness meditation (vipassana) and works with individuals and couples using Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for resolving difficult emotional problems, including anxiety, depression, phobias, grief and trauma and the management of anger and stress. Besides face-to-face work, Peter also works with individuals and couples ONLINE COUNSELING via Skype. He also offers workshops for companies and groups.
He is author of the influential book, The Path of Mindfulness Meditation, available through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca and is also available as a Kindle edition.
Email inquiries welcome.
What is mindfulness and why are so many psychotherapists and counselors incorporating mindfulness in their practices?
There’s no doubt that mindfulness has eventually become a buzz word that’s attracting considerable interest, especially after the tremendous success of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn among others.
Of course, mindfulness was essential to the Buddha’s path of awakening and enlightenment, and so the practice of mindfulness has been around for a very long time. We are acquiring a brand new understanding of the exceptional area that mindfulness has in our personal lives as an instrument for fixing the contradiction and violence endemic in our world and the mental afflictions that assail us, now. Now, more than ever, individuals from all over the world are re-investigating this early state of consciousness which has remained fundamental to Buddhist meditation and practice.
Mindfulness itself is a practice that is remarkably simple, along with the full understanding of the principle of mindfulness is readily overlooked and poorly understood. But many theories already face us that have central relevance in our lives, but which cannot be readily comprehended, except through approaching them over and over again at different times and from different angles. Love is one such concept, as is God and Buddha.
Another important concern to recognize, before we attempt to define mindfulness, is the word is multidimensional and incorporates many different qualities of conscious awareness, which I will attempt to outline below.
First and foremost, sati in the Pali language used at that period of the Buddha, or mindfulness, means to be fully aware of what’s happening as it’s happening. It’s the opposite of daydreaming and absent-mindedness and also the usual state of reactivity that is habitual that governs most of our waking consciousness. In its most fundamental facet, mindfulness means to remember to not be absent and this means to be able to understand when we are unmindful. This I call the RECOGNITION function of mindfulness.
Most of that time period, we’re unaware of ourselves, but just react out of custom. This happens, and I react like that. He says this, and that I feel hurt. This is said by her, and I respond by becoming angry. Such patterns of reactivity are very common in our personal relationships and are in the root of most marital conflict and suffering. We simply cannot appear to stop ourselves reacting. That is a worldwide problem that affects our relationships with partners and individuals, but also exactly how we connect to our inner experience and emotions. We seldom actually experience depression, stress or our internal anguish, but commonly all that we experience will be the products of our reactivity. The first emotional complex becomes frozen and repressed in the recesses of the head where it will continue to fester and create suffering.
Then we cannot find out the way to associate differently and much more skilfully, if we cannot be fully present for our partner. Thus, it’s completely vital that we learn to recognize our reactions and get to know them in great detail and wake up. This marks the beginning of the route to change and transformation and the healing of conflict and suffering. Mindfulness is a method of tuning in to what is happening in our minds when we are becoming reactive so that people introduce the component of selection, so that we could comprehend. This choice about whether to respond or not may be quite brief, but it’s a start and also a sensible basis for transformation.
The first function of mindfulness is, therefore, around learning to be present and conscious of reactivity. It is just learning how to arrive for your own personal expertise, rather than being compelled a path of mental action that takes you farther and further far from the current down. Nonetheless, this is the start of mindfulness. Recognition is a fantastic ability to master, but mindfulness has much more to offer. The 2nd dimension of mindfulness is learning to set a connection with whatever you’re experiencing – whether this is the inner experience of a distressing emotion, or outer experience of your partner.
Mindfulness describes a specific form of knowledge which is present-centered, direct and non-reactive towards an object of consciousness. It’s best described as the mix of PRESENCE and INVESTIGATION where there is an openness of mind and heart know and to completely experience what is not absent in our area of knowledge. Presence is just one of the most crucial components as when we’re listening to a friend who’s enduring of sensitive listening. As we know from experience, just being there with him or her in this manner with whole attention and existence is often more important than what we say or do. In this same manner, learning to be fully present for our mental anguish is extremely therapeutic and is possibly one of the significant contributions to the healing process. Then it reacts rather naturally by unfolding and identifying when we can be completely present for our experience – we just begin to see and experience more. That is a natural result of a mindfulness-established relationship: the movement from the superficial first appearance of stuff to an awareness of an arrangement that is much deeper; the movement in the gross to the subtle; from falseness. In case you look with a mind that’s open, you’ll discover more than if you merely react out of habit.
Thus, there’s a third dimension to mindfulness: THE TRANSFORMATIONAL MEASUREMENT in which itself is healed by the head through intuitive and intuitive comprehension intellect. Over and over again, I find that my customers already know the best way to fix melancholy, their anxiety as well as phobias and post-traumatic stress. But, the alternatives are very subtle and this demands a really refined quality of investigation and listening in the core amount of contradictions and their suffering. This is where mindfulness really comes to its own, since the quality of susceptibility and subtle awareness of in-depth which is developed during mindfulness psychotherapy creates the perfect environment and space in which transformation can happen.
Mindfulness Psychotherapy is a very gentle yet highly focused strategy that creates instantaneous changes in the center level of your expertise. This direct healing effect is analogous to the warmth and life-giving qualities of sun. When the drapes open and allow the sunlight to shine on a block of ice, it responds quite naturally and without effort, by melting. Illuminate this frozen energy with mindfulness and it responds by transforming, melting and concluding in a natural way. I invite one to learn more about the strong healing effect of mindfulness for yourself.