Mindfulness Meditation Therapy

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Overcoming Emotional Suffering

 Now available online via Skype as a powerful set of teachings on how to heal the mind and spirit through applied mindfulness meditation

Online Counseling Therapy via Skype - Online Mindfulness Meditation Therapy
Talk to a Therapist via Skype and learn about Mindfulness Meditation Therapy

The lotus is a powerful Buddhist image that symbolizes how the mind and heart can be purified and transformed through the practice of awakening – mindfulness. Such a beautiful and pure flower… yet it arises from the mud of the impure mind and spirit. It is the awakening of mindfulness, that pure unconditioned awareness of Buddha mind, that produces this transformation.

INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS MEDITATION THERAPY

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy

Mindfulness Therapy Online through Skype

Please Contact Me to Schedule a Skype Therapy Session

The growth of interest in Mindfulness Meditation in the West and its therapeutic application for healing the many forms of emotional suffering that we all experience as human beings is a phenomenon of great significance indeed. This movement is not about adopting yet another religion, not about learning a new set of rules to try to live by, and not about finding another set of rituals and practices to follow. In the words of the Buddha,

“Thus, friends, the essentials of the holy life do not consist in the profits of gain, honor, and good name; nor even in the profits of observing moral rules; nor even in the profits of knowledge and insight, but the sure heart’s release, friends – that, friends, is the meaning, that is the essence, that is the goal of living the holy life.” – The Buddha

Throughout the Buddha’s teachings he points over and over again to this central goal: “the sure heart’s release”, which means freedom; freedom from the blind fixation and attachment to thought, belief, dogma, ritual, and practice. It is only when there is true freedom from the constructs of mind: thoughts, beliefs, memories and emotional reactions, that we can ever find true happiness in this life.

Listen to this Podcast with DR. Peter Strong, published on the Secular Buddhist website:

http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_031.php

 

Neurophysiological Effects of Mindfulness Meditation

Studies are showing that a mindfulness meditation practice can have profound effects on the structure of the brain. One of the most significant is a study done in 2011 at Harvard by Sara Lazar and her team.  The study showed increases in the cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is that part of the brain associated with fear, anxiety, and stress.  This can make a significant impact of our tendency to be reactive and to continue old patterns of behavior whether they are helpful or not. Another consistent finding in the research literature is that greater self- compassion is linked to less anxiety and depression. Coupling a mindfulness practice with self-compassion can literally change our brain in ways that can allow us to change our response to life’s inherent stress and live in a state of equanimity.

The health benefits of mindfulness meditation are attracting a great deal of interest among medical doctors, as you can read about in this article: http://news.nationalpost.com/health/a-doctor-puts-his-mind-to-mindfulness

Mindfulness Meditation is a Path

The power of mindfulness for healing emotional suffering and for opening the heart to live in true harmony and appreciation and joy is immense; it can not be over-emphasized just how powerful this simple awareness tool really is. Mindfulness covers the whole range of meaning, from conventional awareness training and learning to pay attention, to a spiritual level of being that transforms and heals everything that it touches.

For this reason, when we embark on The Path of Mindfulness Meditation, (title of my book), we must pay great attention to not allowing ourselves to reduce mindfulness meditation to a “technique” or “method,” but that we keep our mind open and receptive to be continually learning and developing our understanding and experience of mindfulness meditation.

As I say in my book, “If you understand mindfulness a little, you will gain a little benefit; if you understand mindfulness a lot, you will gain a lot of benefit and it will transform you; if you understand mindfulness completely, then you become a Buddha.”

The Heart of Mindfulness Meditation

The Pali word for Mindfulness Meditation is vipassana, which literally means, ‘to look deeply within’ and is usually translated as insight meditation; literally ‘seeing within.’

Thus, the first illusion that we need to overcome is to understand fully that mindfulness meditation is NOT an attempt to empty the mind of thoughts and emotional reactions. It is NOT the attempt to find an altered state of consciousness, but rather a way of fundamentally changing our RELATIONSHIP to those reactive thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness meditation is the art of cultivating a non-reactive relationship with the mind and its contents.

Unless we establish non-reactivity, how can we ever hope to see deeply into the contents of mind (also called mental objects)? This is a challenge at first because our habit is to react – to push away unpleasant feelings and negative thoughts or painful memories – but with practice we learn how to be present with these mental objects, but without becoming reactive. We learn to “hold” the painful emotion or memory in our awareness without becoming caught up in the contents or story. It is possible to hold our anger or grief or fear in this inner space of awareness and observe it in the same way that we can observe a camp fire. We can sit by the camp fire without being burnt by the fire. Learning to establish this kind of relationship is fundamental to mindfulness meditation (vipassana).

Awareness is not enough

Learning to observe and be present for out emotions and thoughts is the beginning of vipassana, but it would be wrong to think that mindfulness is just awareness alone.

Mindfulness=Awareness+Compassion

What makes mindfulness (sati in Pali) special and different from simple awareness is the inclusion of innate compassion, a positive regard and friendliness to whatever we are being mindful of.

If we choose to meditate on a painful memory (Applied Vipassana) we not only investigate the structure of this experience as it manifests in our body and mind, but we extend a quality of friendliness and kindness towards the mental object. We teach ourselves how to welcome the emotion, painful as it may be, so that we can hold it in that space of inner awareness. If we find that we become reactive to the painful emotion, then we recognize the reaction (secondary reaction) and respond to it with the same quality of awareness+compassion. Nothing is to be excluded or discriminated against. What we are aiming to do is expand our mind and heart and not to contract further into a position of fear.

Pure and Applied Mindfulness Meditation

We can talk about two forms of vipassana practice that can be practiced separately or, more commonly, together. The first and most basic form of vipassana provides our foundation for all forms of mindfulness meditation. It has as its primary objective, the cultivation of that state of pure knowing, pure consciousness, pure presence that is called bodhicitta, literally ‘awakened mind.’

It is possible to find that place within where we are conscious of but not reactive to mental objects, physical sensations, perceptions and memories. In Pure Vipasaana, we sit at the center of our field of awareness and simply wait and watch for any movement within that field of awareness. If we perceive a sound, we notice that we are aware of the sound, without labeling, thinking or any other form of reaction that would simply take our awareness away from the experience. Our “job” as a meditator is to stay present with whatever arises at all costs. If you react, you are no longer present.

Instructions for Basic Mindfulness Meditation

1. You do not have to sit cross-legged to meditate! That is natural for people in Asia, but not so comfortable for Westerners! The sole guiding principle regards meditation posture is that is supports your practice. If you are uncomfortable then you are introducing unnecessary distractions which will make it harder to develop concentration and mindfulness of mind. Sit in a chair, or lie down.

2. Close your eyes. This is a natural signal to deepen your awareness within.

3. Direct your awareness onto the in and out movements and sensations associated with breathing. The breath is a good choice to develop mindfulness because it provides a dynamic flow of changing sensations to watch, and these sensations are primarily neutral and not emotionally charged.

We use the breath as a prelude to vipassana, a way of gently settling the mind and body and awakening mindfulness, the simple knowing of the flow of physical sensations that arise and pass away. There is no effort to control the breath; only to be aware of the flow of sensations in the body.

If thoughts arise at this stage, we simply note that they have arisen, without becoming lost in the thoughts. If we become lost in thoughts or daydreaming then it is our job to become aware of this reactivity as soon as possible and gently return our attention to the breath. In this way we establish mindfulness and concentration.

4. After a few minutes of mindfulness of breathing, we let go of the breath as our primary object and rest in that place of just knowing, the simple choiceless awareness of whatever arises in awareness. We sit at the center of our field of awareness and watch for whatever visitors arrive – externally as sensations, sounds, smells, feeling of warmth or cold, etc, or internal sensations as thoughts, feelings and memories.

We greet each visitor with awareness and friendliness, excluding nothing, but shining our natural awareness, our unconditioned consciousness of everything. This quality of equanimity, of true respect and kindness to whatever arises is one of the hardest things to learn. We are so easily seduced into judging and analyzing, categorizing our visitors as good and bad, helpful or harmful, relevant or useless distractions. You must train yourself thoroughly to maintain the same balance and equanimity to every single visitor, every single thought, no matter how trivial you “think” it may be.

5. If agitation arises, we notice “agitation has arisen in me.” If ” resistance” arises, we notice “resistance has arisen in me.” If “fear” arises, we notice “fear has arisen in me.” If boredom arises, we notice “boredom has arisen in me.” Whatever arises, we train ourselves to notice that this mental object has arisen. We are, in effect training ourselves to break the mechanical habit of becoming identified with the thoughts and emotions that arise through conditioning.

We do NOT react against thought formations with aversion, as that form of reactivity will simply make them stronger. We do NOT try to let go of them, as that is yet another subtle form of reactivity which feeds the habit. ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS BECOME AWARE OF THEM. In that moment of awareness, the “letting go” happens by itself, without any doer behind the act of letting go.

Thus, we are training ourselves in the art of mindfulness, about being totally present with whatever arises without becoming reactive. THIS CREATES THE RIGHT INTERNAL CONDITIONS THAT WILL ALLOW PAINFUL EMOTIONS AND THOUGHTS TO UNDERGO THEIR NATURAL PROCESS OF AUTO-RESOLUTION, HEALING AND TRANSFORMATION.

The more established we become in this state of bodhicitta, of pure awareness and pure presence, the better. This state of unconditioned awareness, as opposed to the conditioned contents of mind, is our natural state and the strongest place you can ever be in. You become the space of pure consciousness itself, rather than the suffering that arises. Now, from this place of strength, you can respond effectively with intelligence and compassion to the painful emotions and other forms of suffering (dukkha) that may exist – and not just in yourself, but also in others.

6. Continue your meditation as long as feels comfortable – 1omins or 20mins or 45mins. Successful meditation is more a measure of the quality of the relationships you cultivate internally (or externally, too). Take a break and return to your practice. You do not have to sit like a monk for an unnatural length of time to be a very successful meditator. Approach your practice with lightness, gentleness and playfulness, tempered by a great resolve to BE PRESENT.

Mindfulness is all about relationship, and the foundation for all relationship externally is to be found in the quality of your relationships internally to your own emotions, thoughts, fears, hatred, longing and negativity. Cultivate great love towards these parts of yourself if you wish to develop love for another.

Applied Vipassana

Most of the pages on this site describe aspects of applied mindfulness meditation for facilitating the healing and transformation of anxiety, depression, stress and the many other forms of dukkha that we experience as human beings.

Meditation has a purpose, as taught by the Buddha, and that purpose is directed toward the resolution of suffering (dukkha).

In essence, we take this same quality of bodhicitta, of pure mindful awareness combined with natural compassion, and hold our painful emotions within this space of awareness that is, of course non-reactive, friendly and positive. Applied meditation is the process of choosing to make your emotions the primary object of your meditation. Why? Because they need your mindfulness and compassion more than anything else!

Bodhicitta begins with establishing this pure conscious relationship with your painful emotions, of learning to embrace them without becoming identified with them or reactive toward them. This is opening the mind. But, bodhicitta is more than just opening the mind to establish a conscious presence with dukkha, it is also a response to dukkha with the objective of facilitating the resolution and healing of dukkha. This is described as opening the heart as well as the mind.

Bodhicitta and mindfulness have four primary qualities, known as the four Brahma Viharas or Sublime Abodes. These are: Metta, Karuna, Mudita, and Upekkha.

Upekkha describes the response of equanimity, non-reactivity and fearlessness toward dukkha or any other mental experience, pleasant or painful. Upekkha is best described as the state of freedom of mind in relation to the objects of mind (thoughts, emotions, etc). This is the very foundation of the mindfulness relationship with mind that we are trying to cultivate in meditation and life in general. Upekkha also embraces the courage to open our mind and heart in the face of pain and suffering. It is moving toward our fear instead of running away from it. It is embracing our anger instead of trying to suppress it with more anger. Through incorporating upekkha into our mindfulness meditation and practice we develop fearlessness, which is the natural state of your True Self. The Little Self is fearful and acts out of fear; the True Self is fearless and acts out of love.

Metta describes the response of loving-kindness and friendliness toward mental objects, including painful emotions, negative thoughts, aversion, grasping and any other form of conditioned mental reactivity. The best analogy here is the unconditional love of a mother for her young child, even when that child is naughty! Metta provides the foundation for healing dukkha within our own heart and mind, which is the necessary condition for healing the dukkha we perceive in others and in our world. Without inner metta, outward action become limited in effectiveness and often corrupted by greed, hatred and delusion.

Karuna describes the response of compassion to dukkha. It is the process of converting metta into action. Karuna is a natural extension of metta. It is also purified by the clarity of insight provided by upekkha.

Mudita describes the response of gladness of heart, appreciation, gratitude to happiness, sukkha, as it manifests in oneself or another. One of the most fundamental forms of mudita is the happiness experienced by giving love and compassion and our friendship. Here we are talking about giving this compassion and friendliness to our own painful emotions, our fear and hurt and anger and grief and loss.

It make little sense to try and create a happy state, when under the surface there is suffering, dukkha. YOU MUST ATTEND TO THAT SUFFERING FIRST, and this is exactly what we do in Applied Vipassana.

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy - healing depression
Learning to “sit” with my depression really helps it change

You learn how to “sit” with your emotions, your fear, your anxiety or depression, your grief and pain. You sit with these parts of yourself that clearly need your attention just as you would sit with a friend who is distressed. You sit and listen, and through the quality of your presence, you intuitively discover how to respond to your friend. Perhaps a hug, or sharing something; subtle changes in voice tone and body language that help your friend resolve his or her suffering.

We know something about how to be present in a compassionate way with another person; what we need now is to learn how to do this internally with our self.

When you hold a painful emotion in this space of awareness and compassion it begins to change. It might break up into a cascade of thoughts and memories, revealing more subtle feelings that you had not seen before. The emotional formation becomes malleable – something I call emotional plasticity. The emotion begins to change, to expand from its previous contracted state. It changes from being hard to being soft and it is in this very process of change that the emotion begins to heal and transform itself –  a process called auto-resolution. I don’t make it change; it changes by itself, under its own intelligence; and this is a very important principle in mindfulness psychology: The path to the resolution of dukkha resides within the structure of dukkha itself. Our “job” as meditator is to discover this inner path of resolution.

Instructions for Applied Mindfulness Meditation

1. Start with a few minutes of Basic Vipassana meditation to settle the mind and to generate that state of pure, non-reactive awareness that we call mindfulness. This is analogous to taking our place at the center of our field of awareness. We look and we listen to whatever thoughts or sensations arrive, as our visitors. We respond to whatever arises with friendliness and openness of mind and heart, the key qualities of mindfulness.

2. Now we invite in our guest – a painful emotion. We might simply scan our mind to see what we are feeling now, or we can actively search for a painful emotion from recollecting a past scene, or from anticipating a future scene. We replay the memory or imaginary scene for the sole purpose of activating the painful emotion.

When we have accessed the emotion, we then sit with it, generating a relationship with the emotion based on mindfulness, friendliness, compassion, and genuine interest. Things are never as they first appear, and the path of mindfulness is one of allowing ourselves to see beneath the surface, to see more the the subtle structure and reality of the emotion. This is the Investigative Function of Mindfulness.

3. Investigate the structure of the emotion, starting with its physical structure in the body. What physical sensations do you experience? Many people will notice a tightness in the solar plexus region or pit of the stomach, or a tightness in the neck or head.

4. Investigate the visual structure of the emotion. This is where things get very interesting. Imagery is the natural language of the emotions just as word-based thoughts are the natural language of the ego. The more you see of this natural experiential imagery the more the emotion will change. Where do you see the emotion spatially? What color is it? Is it light or dark; warm or cold; hard or soft; rough or smooth; light or heavy? These sensory properties hold the key. The more you see, the more the emotion begins to change from being solid to being malleable. The emotion regains what I call Emotional Plasticity.

5. Cultivate your ability to stay present wit the emotion, but without becoming reactive, without thinking or judging or labeling. The first purpose of our meditation is to counteract our habitual tendency to react and strengthen our ability to stay present with the emotion. We know the importance of staying present; in vipassana, we learn to stay present with our emotions. If you become reactive, simply learn to recognize that you have become reactive and gently return your attention back to the emotion that you are meditating on. If it becomes too much, take a break; return to Basic Mindfulness Practice, and when you feel ready, return to the emotion again.

The more you practice being present with your emotions, the easier it becomes. The result of this sustained practice is that the emotions lose their power over you and you gain power over them. This state can never be achieved by avoiding your emotions. Sometimes people forget this and even use meditation (including meditation on breathing) as a way to try and escape their emotions and thoughts! Meditation should never be for the purpose of escaping reality; it is always about learning how to be more present for reality. Your emotions and thoughts are some of the most real parts of your life ad evidenced by the devastating effect they can have if left unattended.

Through practicing being present for your emotions, you are developing what I call the Protective Function of Mindfulness. You are learning how to stop producing suffering through reactive thinking and rumination; both of which depend on lack of presence or unawareness.

6. Now that you have a stable mindful relationship with your emotion(s)a state called samadhi by the Buddha, you can begin to investigate what the emotion needs to do to change and heal, to find balance again. This is the process I call Resolution. The whole purpose of meditation, remember, is to discover what the emotional formations need to do to resolve; what the Buddha called the cessation of dukkha. Why? Because so long as you are suffering, so long as you are a prisoner of neediness, hatred and delusion, you are prevented from discovering true happiness and love; you are prevented from being truly authentic in life. Suffering is the emotional pain of being chained to thoughts, beliefs, expectations, rituals and behaviors, and all the mental constructs that begin, “I am…

From investigating the structure of your emotions, and particularly from becoming aware of the inner imagery that makes the emotion work, your natural innate intelligence will begin to guide you in what changes in imagery need to happen. You intuitively use the imagery to guide you towards resolution of the emotional suffering. If it is cold, bring it warmth; if it is too close, move it further away; if it feels afraid, comfort it. Luckily, we already have this intuitive intelligence, called Panna by the Buddha; a natural reservoir of compassion and skillful action that we can bring to bare as it is needed.

7. Repeat and Refine. Return to the emotion many times during a meditation session and return to the emotion every day until it has found peace and resolution. Your job is to keep “showing up.” Your gift is presence. Presence heals.

The more you sit with your emotional pain with mindfulness in this form of Applied Mindfulness Meditation, the more the anxiety, fear, depression, anger or stress will begin to transform and heal.

Try it for yourself and see just how powerful the simple act of compassionate presence is for bringing about true healing and for liberating the mind and heart so you can discover true happiness and authenticity in you life and relationships.

The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation. Learn mindfulness meditation online vioa Skype
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

“The Path of Mindfulness Meditation”

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy

What is mindfulness meditation? Basically, mindfulness meditation refers to the sustained application of conscious awareness on our experience. It is common practice to focus that conscious awareness on the breath, and many people equate mindfulness of breathing as the same as mindfulness meditation. However, this is NOT correct. Mindfulness meditation has a much broader meaning and application than this specific application of mindfulness meditation.

Online Mindfulness Therapy for Anxiety

Resolution of suffering

The essence of mindfulness meditation as taught by the Buddha is that it describes the application of mindfulness for the explicit purpose of bringing about the resolution of suffering (dukkha), and for the liberation of mind from the habitual patterns of greed, hate and delusion (the 3 classes of conditioned reactivity) that keep us imprisoned within the repetitive cycles of suffering (samsara).

We mediate to liberate the mind from the causes of suffering; and we can see that meditation on the breath is not directing attention to the cause of our suffering, our anxiety, depression, stress and compulsiveness. It is in fact a distraction from directing attention where it is most needed.

Understanding this, a more correct way to meditate is to choose to meditate of our anxiety, our depression, our inner conflict, our emotional pain directly. This is consistent with the Buddha’s teachings on meditation (samatha-vipassana bhavana). Breath meditation (anapanasati) is a skillful means, and definitely worth pursuing as a way to develop mental stability and concentration, it is not a substitute for the direct meditation on our emotional suffering and it is not capable of producing transformation and healing of dukkha.

When I teach mindfulness meditation during therapy sessions, I encourage the client to meditate on their emotions directly; to make dukkha the central focus, the primary object of meditation. This will lead to transformation and the resolution of dukkha, which is the Buddha’s intention for meditation practice and for liberating the mind from the constraints of samsara so that we can discover the fullness of out True Self (bodhicitta = awakened mind/heart) and realize our innate wisdom-intelligence and compassion in each moment of our life as it unfolds.

What we experience in practice is that the very act of awakening to our emotional suffering creates the ideal conditions in which that suffering will resolve itself by itself. Just as the body knows how to heal itself by itself according to the innate intelligence of the body so the mind knows how to heal itself by itself according to the innate intelligence of the mind (panna). The problem is not in the anxiety or depression itself, but in our blind reactivity based on avoidance and aversion to that anxiety or depression. Reactivity inhibits change and inhibits healing of dukkha just as walking on a broken leg would inhibit it’s healing by the body.

When we avoid and react against our emotions they proliferate; when we meditate on our emotions they heal.

Contact me if you wish to learn more about this approach and the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

 

The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation Therapy Online. Letting Mindfulness Change Your Life
Mindfulness and Meditation Therapy Online

 

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy Online

 Mindfulness Meditation Therapy is now available online via Skype to help you work with difficult emotions

Online Counseling Therapy via Skype - Online Mindfulness Therapy
Talk to a Therapist via Skype

The lotus is a powerful Buddhist image that symbolizes how the mind and heart can be purified and transformed through the practice of awakening – mindfulness. Such a beautiful and pure flower… yet it arises from the mud of the impure mind and spirit. It is the awakening of mindfulness, that pure unconditioned awareness of Buddha mind, that produces this transformation.

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Emotional Health

The power of mindfulness for healing emotional pain and transforming the heart and mind is quite remarkable, as I try to explain in my book: The Path of Mindfulness Meditation.

As I say in my book, “If you understand mindfulness a little, you will gain a little benefit; if you understand mindfulness a lot, you will gain a lot of benefit and it will transform you; if you understand mindfulness completely, then you become a Buddha.”

Contact Me to Schedule a Mindfulness Therapy Session

 

The Heart of Mindfulness Meditation Therapy

The Pali word for Mindfulness Meditation is vipassana, which literally means, ‘to look deeply within’ and is usually translated as insight meditation; literally ‘seeing within.’

The system of psychotherapy that I developed and have been teaching over the past 20 years is called Mindfulness Meditation Therapy (MMT) or just Mindfulness Therapy (MT). There are parallels between MT and the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (link) and the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy developed by Zindel Segel and Mark Williams (link). However, MT is more closely related to many of the core principles of Buddhist Psychology and places a much greater emphasis on meditating on emotions themselves, rather than trying to empty the mind of thoughts or attempting to relax the mind.

The focus in Mindfulness Therapy is not to empty the mind of thoughts and emotions, but to fundamentally change our relationship to thoughts, memories, emotions and any other mental content. We train ourselves to become less reactive and more responsive – starting with the contents of our mind and progressing outward to be more present and more responsive to other people and our environment.

Our habit is to react. We react with aversion to things, situations, people that we don’t like, including our negative thoughts and painful feelings. We try to push them away or avoid them. We react with grasping towards experiences, sensations, thoughts and beliefs, practices and behaviors that we like. This grasping is based on fear and a fundamental neediness that comes from a lack of connection with our self and our life. We also react based on delusion. We are fooled by the superficial appearance of things, including our emotions, not allowing ourselves to look deeply into the structure of our emotions. We say “I am depressed” but have little real idea what “depression” actually is. What is its structure? Where do we feel it in our body? What color does it have? What imagery lies at the heart of our “depression?” If you don’t look beneath the superficial surface layer, nothing can change. Mindfulness Therapy is all about looking beneath the superficial label or concept level of mind to see the sensory structure and emotional complexity that lies just below the surface. See this and everything starts to change.

One of the greatest delusions we fall into every time is to become identified with the contents of mind, and especially the emotional formations that arise. If anxiety arises, we become anxious; if anger arises, we become angry. We literally take on the identity of these mental formations. This process of identification, called upadana in Pali, the language of the Buddha’s first discourses, is at the root of most of our suffering. Mindfulness Therapy teaches us to avoid this trap and to see an emotion as simply an object that arises in our consciousness, but knowing that we are not the emotion or any other contents of mind.

Through training we begin to break free of the seductive grip of mental formations. When we are free of identification with the contents of mind we are able to relate to them with true compassion and intelligence. It is this quality of relationship that is vital for the healing and transformation of emotional suffering.

As I frequently say during therapy sessions: Reactivity inhibits change; Mindfulness, which is non-reactivity, facilitates change, and therefore, healing.

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy - healing depression
Learning to “sit” with my depression really helps it change

Learning How to Meditate on our Emotions

You might start wit the more simple form of mindfulness meditation on the breath (Basic Mindfulness Meditation) to learn how to be present rather than reactive. This is learning to be the observer of your thoughts and emotions instead of just becoming your thoughts and emotions through unconscious identification.

But, after a few sessions of Basic Meditation, you should move to Applied Meditation. Remember, the point of meditation is not to take a vacation from the mind and its problems, but to learn how to change your relationship to the contents of your mind so that you can remain free, and through that freedom transform and heal the contents of mind.

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy is often described as learning to “sit” with your emotions with great care and attention, investigating deeply into the structure of the emotions and discovering through your innate and intuitive intelligence how to bring about the healing and resolution of those emotions.

People often tell me they don’t know how to sit with their emotions without becoming overwhelmed. I say, “Have you practiced this with the diligence and application needed to master this art?” You have to commit yourself to meditation, just as you did to learning to ride a bicycle when you were a child, or perfecting that golf swing. The more you practice, the better you become. In the case of meditation, the benefits will be life-changing.

 

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Overcoming Depression

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy provides a very effective way of working with depression to heal the underlying emotions and the habitual patterns of reactive thinking (rumination) that sustain depression.

Now available online via Skype as a powerful set of teachings on how to heal the mind and spirit through applied mindfulness meditation

Please Contact me to schedule a Skype session

 

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Depression. Mindfulness meditation for the resolution of stress, anxiety and depression
Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Depression

 

Studies show that Mindfulness Meditation is a good Therapy for Depression

There is a very interesting article recently published in The Guardian that describes findings by Dr. Catherine Kerr which you might enjoy reading (NHS recognises that mindfulness meditation is good for depression).

Interestingly, the evidence from this and many more studies for the beneficial effects of mindfulness meditation for depression is becoming so strong that, now, over 30% of GPs now refer patients with depression for mindfulness training.

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy Applied to Depression

The Pali word for Mindfulness Meditation is vipassana, which literally means, ‘to look deeply within’ and is usually translated as insight meditation; literally ‘seeing within.’

Thus, the first illusion that we need to overcome is to understand fully that mindfulness meditation is NOT an attempt to empty the mind of thoughts and emotional reactions. It is NOT the attempt to find an altered state of consciousness, but rather a way of fundamentally changing our RELATIONSHIP to those reactive thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness meditation is the art of cultivating a non-reactive relationship with the mind and its contents.

This is perhaps the most important quality of mindfulness meditation – the ability to be fully present for your depression, anxiety or other emotions without becoming consumed by negative thinking. It is the reactivity itself which is the biggest problem; reacting to the depression has the effect of increasing suffering, increasing the intensity of the emotional experience. This form of Reactive Propagation, or rumination is a key characteristic of depression. The reactive and obsessive thinking feeds the depression, keeping it alive and strong, while you become weaker and less able to cope.

Reactive Thinking Inhibits the Healing of Depression

Such reactive thinking not only increases the emotional distress of the experience of depression, but it also has another undesirable effect, which is that it actually inhibits healing and transformation of the emotional formations themselves. It is well-recognized that all emotional states will naturally subside over time, but the reactivity inhibits this natural resolution by preventing the healing process.

Mindfulness, which as we have said, is non-reactive counteracts this inhibitory effect and creates the right inner conditions in which natural resolution can occur by itself.

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Depression - healing depression
Mindfulness Meditation Therapy – Learning to “sit” with my depression really helps it change

You learn how to “sit” with your depression and the associated emotional pain. This may seem like a very passive process, but actually it is much more powerful than you might think. Sitting with the raw emotion, without getting lost in reactivity or even the process of thinking about the depression, keeps your conscious awareness in direct contact with the emotions. This is absolutely essential for transformation and healing. Nothing can change unless you bring this quality of pure consciousness to the depression.

Learn More About Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Your Depression

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about Mindfulness Meditation Therapy and it’s application for the treatment of anxiety, depression and other forms of emotional stress. Mindfulness Therapy is one of the best new approaches for working with depression and teaching you practical skills for managing difficult emotions.

I teach mindfulness meditation and I provide Mindfulness Meditation Therapy Online via Skype. All you need is Skype and PayPal to begin.

PLEASE CONTACT ME TODAY

Peter Strong is a registered professional mindfulness therapist, teacher of mindfulness meditation and author of The Path of Mindfulness Meditation.

Online Mindfulness-based Skype therapy service
Online Mindfulness-based Skype therapy service

ONLINE MINDFULNESS THERAPY

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