A Contemplative Approach

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Busy, Busy, Busy

We live in a world dominated by the mind and intellect. Our “heads” are constantly on; stimulated by the chatter and impulses of the world around us. Demanding us to think, to learn, to analyze, to do better. So often we live with a constant stream of chatter. How do we turn it off when we have trained it so well to keep working for us?

In this world, we have lost connection with the rest of our body and the wisdom inherent in it. And there is deep wisdom here. We are not separate – mind, body, spirit – we are interdependent systems working towards harmonious balance. In order for balance to occur, it requires us to connect to and honour the whole not just the parts.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a tool to help us connect to our body as a system of knowledge and wisdom beyond the mind. Our emotions, feelings and a host of sensations live in our muscles, our tissues, our organs, our blood and our energetic field. Contemplative practices like mindfulness ask us to become the observer within to what is happening in a non-judgmental way. There are no right or wrong, simply whatever is.

Can we observe without judgment? Can we notice to sensations as they arise and take notice of what is going on in our body? Mindfulness can be done during activity and throughout the day as we notice what is happening in our bodies, the sensations that arise. The more we do this, the more integrated we become.

 

Running from it

When we have gone through an intense experience, trauma, or loss, we want to avoid the feelings we have around it. We push it away, numb it, ignore it, and distract ourselves with the busy-ness of life. But it is still there – those intense emotions – stored in our body.

It is a challenge to sit with that which is uncomfortable for us. It is a challenge to feel into those intense emotions and give them space. It often can feel like a dark abyss that will swallow us whole if we give it any attention. Allowing our fear to hold us back from feeling into the experience and in so doing holding onto the experience in our body instead of allowing the full experience to be move through us.

Can we learn to dip our toes into the abyss? Sit with the discomfort? Give space to the emotions?

A contemplative approach to psychotherapy asks us to start to examine how we feel, what we notice, and what this means for us in the here and now. With additional psycho-dynamic and somatic-based techniques, the energy in our bodies is given space to be felt, moved, and released.