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Therapy, Counselling and Mindfulness Buddhist Meditation
Counselling, therapy and Mindfulness Buddhist meditation share many ways of working with our mind and making changes. Meditation can be seen as the Olympic Athlete way of transforming our thoughts and feelings.
‘To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self .
To forget the self is to be one with others.’ Dogen. A Zen master.
Process Psychology and counselling believes that we can transform ourselves and issues in relationships, emotions, health, work and conflict resolution through being open to all events. By learnng to process our inner feelings and relate to ourselves and others in a more fluid way we discover more about our thoughts and emotions.
Discovering meaning in whatever is happening to us in our lives changes our paradigm from good and bad or success and failure to one of learning. If we ask ourselves ‘what am I learning right now?’ rather than judging and criticizing ourselves and not feeling good enough, we develop a very different attitude and perspective of ourselves, others and the world.
Therapy and counselling and meditation share the qualities of awareness, transformation, openness, deep listening, compassion and understanding.
Freedom comes from accepting what is rather than liking and not liking things. Counselling and meditation offer a window into our liberated state of mind that comes from an absence of identification. Being in a free state of mind means that we can really follow what is happening in the moment rather than unconscously following our habitual states of mind and patterns from the past or becoming worried and anxious about the future.
`In mindfulness practice, self is experienced as a flow, a process, a rushing and teeming patterning that changes over time.
When a therapist can sit with a person without an agenda, without trying to force an experience, without thinking that she knows what is going to happen or who the person is, then the therapist is infusing the therapy with the lessons of meditation… .The possibility of some real, spontaneous, unscripted communication exists at such a moment’.
The moment you identify yourself as being aware of the flow of life and also as being part of the flow, you have a peak and meaningful experience. Many people describe this state as ….knowing that you are at any one moment any one of your different parts and yet none at all. Dr. Arnold Mindell
Ken Wilber in ‘No Boundary’ talks about the ultimate, saying that we can’t really do anything to get it, yet if we don’t do something, we just remain as we are, without changing. He quotes the Zen master, Ma – tsu;
`In the Tao, there is nothing to discipline oneself in. If there is any discipline in it, the completion of such discipline means the destruction of the Tao. But if there is no discipline whatever in the Tao, one remains an ignoramus.’
In counselling psychology and meditation we can access a state of mind that, although not continuous, can be constantly reaccessed using certain tools. It is beyond conceptual mind, similar to ‘mu’ in Zen Buddhism.
‘Dropping or letting go of the conceptual thinking mind, allows one to open to the Tao, without preconceptions or expectations, ‘should’s and shouldn’ts.’ Peter Matthiessen.
The therapist in counselling and the client can become aware, mindful and heart open to what is needed moment by moment, similar to shamatha meditation, coming back to the breath. This state of openness can produce a strong commitment in the individual to embark and continue on a journey that can be challenging and difficult as well as ecstatic and heartfelt.
So openness and staying present and receptive in each moment allows us to be aware of and follow our own and others process, Nature and Life without preceonceived ideas and limitations. It is beyond the ordinary mind. Even to be open to being closed or ungrateful or angry or negative is what is allowing that to be and simply noticing and having a willingness to explore unknown areas. Why be attached or react against any parts in ourselves as they all change anyway!
In mindfulness Buddhist practice, it is our perception that is central. How we perceive the world affects what we see. Everything depends on our perception and awareness in the moment. In therapy it is similar as how we see ourselves and the world are often our habitual patterns of mind projected outwards.
Although the methods are different, in both therapy and meditation we free ourselves from our patterns and experience more spaciousness and inner freedom.