Tag Archives: meditation

West Meets East

Ronald Siegel wrote this long article about mindfulness and psychotherapy for the clinician-readers of Psychotherapy Networker.  Doesn’t mean you can’t give it a look.  A sample:

[M]indfulness is the opposite of experiential avoidance…It allows us to feel the urge to have an alcohol drink arise and pass rather than heading to the bottle, to get on the airplane and feel the fear rather than stay grounded, to be with the tight muscles and violent imagery of anger rather than shut down in depression, and to feel hurt rather than escape into delusion…[M]indfulness practices can help us loosen our preoccupation with ourselves.

Guided Meditations

Another source of free guided mindfulness meditations emerges:  Spotify.  Here are a few collections that showed up in a search there. Plenty more where these came from. Enjoy.

Judith Day – Introduction To Mindfulness Meditation

Jon Kabat-Zinn – Mindfulness Meditation For Pain Relief

Richard K. Nongard – Mindfulness Meditation Techniques: Guided Meditations to Help You Master Mindfulness

Elisha Goldstein Ph.D. – Mindful Solutions For Stress, Anxiety, And Depression

Jack Kornfield – Guided Meditations For Difficult Times

Peace is Every Step

From the recommended reading list, Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, a short, simple call to mindfulness, personal and political.  In the book, some nice suggestions about mindfulness practice, including these lines to silently try out during mindfulness meditation:

Breathing in, I calm my body.

Breathing out, I smile.

Worth a shot for the many who find themselves distracted when attempting silent focus on breathing.  There’s also this suggestion for developing mindfulness regarding uncomfortable emotion (in this case anger):

Breathing in, I know that anger is here.

Breathing out, I know that the anger is me.

Breathing in, I know that anger is unpleasant.

Breathing out, I know this feeling will pass.

Breathing in, I am calm.

Breathing out, I am strong enough to take care of this anger.

Substitute “anxiety” or “sadness” or whatever you’re going through for “anger.”  Too much to remember?  Just try “Breathing in, I am _________.  Breathing out, I am ___________.” You may find just slowing down and acknowledging what you’re feeling (and not wanting to feel) helps more than any distraction.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness is Buddhist mindfulness–for a secularized (and, for better or worse, less eco/non-violence-focused) substitute, try Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are.

Breathing in, you’re done reading this post.

Meditation Brain

A study looks at the different brain waves associated with three different types of meditation.

Focused attention, characterized by beta/gamma activity, included meditations from Tibetan Buddhist (loving kindness and compassion), Buddhist (Zen and Diamond Way), and Chinese (Qigong) traditions.

Open monitoring, characterized by theta activity, included meditations from Buddhist (Mindfulness, and ZaZen), Chinese (Qigong), and Vedic (Sahaja Yoga) traditions.

Automatic self-transcending, characterized by alpha1 activity, included meditations from Vedic (Transcendental Meditation) and Chinese (Qigong) traditions.

The Wisdom of Insecurity

Worry a lot?  To consider: The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. You may know Alan Watts from oft-broadcast lectures–eager audience hanging on every wryly wise, British-accented utterance.  (Lectures can be sampled via this podcast or downloads around the net.)

In this short book, Watts takes on worry and anxiety–a.k.a. insecurity.  He argues that to live is to be insecure; all we be can certain about is the present moment.   He encourages awareness, mindfulness, acceptance–Buddhist principles all adopted as central tenets of many therapy approaches (ACT, DBT, MBSR…) since the book was penned in 1951.  Here’s a sample, about acceptance:

The human organism has the most wonderful powers of adaptation to both physical and psychological pain.  But these can only come into full play when the pain is not being constantly restimulated by this inner effort to get away from it, to separate the “I” from the feeling.  The effort creates a state of tension in which the pain thrives.  But when the tension ceases, mind and body begin to absorb the pain as water reacts to a blow or a cut.

Meditation and Attention Span

PsychCentral reports on a study that shows improved attention span–long-term–following a meditation retreat.

“People may think meditation is something that makes you feel good and going on a meditation retreat is like going on vacation, and you get to be at peace with yourself.  That’s what people think until they try it. Then you realize how challenging it is to just sit and observe something without being distracted.”