Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn't more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.
John Kabat-Zinn, who created the popular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, described mindfulness as "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." Mindfulness-based therapy helps to develop this open and accepting attitude toward your experience, which leads to greater emotional freedom and growth.
Many clients are also interested in developing a regular mindfulness practice between therapy sessions. Practicing mindfulness meditation on a regular basis may help us to slow down the racing mind and pay attention to our inner experiences without getting so tangled up in them. When we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings this way, with kindness and acceptance instead of blame and judgment, we may start to understand our emotions better and to find a place of inner peace and refuge, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. We may also begin:
to live more in the present moment
to be more comfortable in our bodies
to improve our focus and concentration
to accept difficult emotions or physical pain and discomfort
to manage intense emotions in healthy ways
to let go of unnecessary stress and turmoil
to be less impulsive or driven by our emotions
to open our hearts and care more deeply
to wake up to the passing moments of our lives instead of running on auto-pilot
to make choices that serve our values
to be kinder and more compassionate with ourselves and others
With offices in SF and Oakland, I offer mindfulness-based therapy for individuals, couples, and groups throughout the Bay Area. I also occasionally teach classes or workshops to support you to develop a personal practice. My goal is to help you connect with your inner strength and wisdom while developing skills to work with difficult emotions in the present moment. These are important skills to face life's challenges and break old patterns.
Here is a 10-minute guided meditation to introduce you to the practice and give you an idea of how I work. You can also check out the posts below to hear some more thoughts on the integration of mindfulness with psychotherapy.