At Energetics Institute in Perth, we provide you with assistance on starting and maintaining a Mindfulness practice. Richard Boyd, one of our therapists has maintained a 30-year meditation practice that incorporates mindfulness. He is able to share insights into the benefits, process, experiences and wisdom of mindfulness for clients.
When we speak of mental health we speak primarily of our mind and its functions, which include those of meditation and mindfulness practices.
For most of us, we possess untamed minds that drift, jump, and react to life and events. Mindfulness and meditation are concepts that are easy to conceptualise and describe, but are difficult to master and require a person to apply meditation practices, and mindfulness techniques in order to be able to realise a stable meditation practice or a mindfulness state.
Some people have experienced trauma in their past and now they have a form of mental defence called dissociation, whereby when triggered, the mind has the experience of leaving or disconnecting from bodily consciousness, and instead either migrates to a place of nothingness, or a proximity space co-located alongside the body, or into mental escapism or fantasy experiences.
Such dissociation or “going away” can also be a function of tired persons, but overall, each type is the opposite of being mindful in a moment of time. Mindfulness is a naked mind that is stripped of overlays and produced phenomena, and is moment-to-moment, able to process sensory data and stay focussed on that raw data stream of consciousness, across moments and through time.
Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist psychology and their understanding of the mind and consciousness. After thousands of years in lineages of mindfulness practices, what we know is that practicing and attaining mindfulness is a devotion and discipline that may take many years or even lifetimes.
The modern advent of gurus, yoga teachers and mindfulness coaches claiming to have mastered mindfulness is to be doubted, as Buddhist practitioners spent considerable time creating and growing a mindful mind that exceeds momentary grasping of the present moment, before losing that object to invasive thoughts, distractions and other dull states of mind.
How can I do Mindfulness Meditation
Rather than rely on spiritual narcissists to claim conceptual knowledge of mindfulness as some sort of special realised state they have attained, it is far better to think of the gym analogy as an expectation of what can be practiced by the average person with an average amount of time to devote to mindfulness.
When you start at the gym you are easily fatigued, can only do light weights, and may fail to maintain good technique. This is the world of mindfulness training and there is no quick path claimed by some.
What is needed is a daily practice to build mind muscle and to realise the flabby nature of mind, as we are assaulted by our mind when we ask or direct it to quiet down and follow our directions.
You will get frustrated when you are starting out on the road to mindfulness. You will see how jumpy, trashy, excited, anxious, weird or uncontrollable it can be with images, thoughts, diversions and states arising you never consciously knew existed.
Many people at this point give up mindfulness or meditation as they think it’s not for me, or it doesn’t work, or makes me worse. No, it’s working but only inasmuch as it shows you where the starting point is for consciously getting to know your mind and its ugly untamed state that has evolved while living an unconscious life.
The point is to witness the chaos in your mind with curiosity and a wry smile and think “OK welcome to the real me”. Just as your initial gym sessions bring up resistance to keep going till you establish a routine, and that you will cramp with lactic acid in your muscles, your mind will not respond quickly till you get a daily routine going for mindfulness.
Once you get a practice underway you will notice you have good days and bad days in terms of quieting the mind and practicing placing it in the present moment on whatever experience or object you wish to be mindfully present to. Distractions, interruptions, hijacking by fantasies, thoughts, nothingness and thought forms are ever present and able to intrude at any time.
Do not excite your mind by reacting in anger, frustration, concentration hardness, but be like a goldfish in a bowl and gently notice you have drifted, and gently and slowly shift your mind back to the object of mindfulness and rebuild the experience again patiently. It’s like building sand castles at the beach edge where waves come in.
Have the expectation that a wave of thoughts will come along to wash away the sandcastle of mindfulness you have built in your mind, and just rebuild it again. Over time the waves come less frequently so you get more time with your sandcastle mindfulness object, as your practice deepens.
However just as you cannot stop the waves of the ocean, you realise your thoughts are not completely in your control, and you accept to work and create a more stable, quieter, peaceful and clear mind of discipline and focus capability. The Western type of mindfulness will not create a buddha out of you as mindfulness is but one of many disciplined practices that a Buddhist uses in attempting to attain over lifetimes the realisation of buddahood.
What is Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness or Mindfulness Meditation as its also known, is the art and practice of training your mind to stay present moment in a thought, object or image, despite being challenged by your external or internal environment.
Mindfulness is about developing the habit to stay fully conscious and aware of what is present moment-to-moment. You want to reach that objective without distraction, replacement by other thoughts or states.
Mindfulness teachers such as Jon Kabat Zinn remind us that mindfulness can assist us in many ways such as building self-acceptance, reducing or eliminating temporarily chronic pain, enhancing sleeping patterns, reducing blood pressure, reducing stress, aiding meditation, building a conscious life, and improving concentration.
Most ordinary minds are weak at maintaining concentration. You may forget the object you were focussed on, or your thoughts may come from nowhere. It may vague out into nothingness or fantasy dreaming, when it chooses to, and beyond your conscious control. Jon Kabat Zinn explained how a mindfulness meditation practice is a way of creating mind muscle that we can finally start to control and apply in a useful positive way. Buddhists have always argued that taking control of one’s own mind is essential for a mindfulness-based life, and to create the basis for happiness and stability.
Mindfulness helps you to remain focused on the thought, image, idea, memory or object on which you are concentrating.
Mindfulness reduces and in the long term eliminates and prevents distractions which may hijack your attention and concentration.
Most of us in Western Australia can find a meditation course or class near me so there is no excuse why you cannot try meditation in Perth. Energetics Institute in Perth offers its clients assistance and guidance in learning various meditation and mindfulness techniques from our Perth premises.
We are also able to offer you the opportunity to meditate in Perth via Skype or Zoom online, and so remote clients can get assistance even though they do not live in Perth.
What are the benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness has been shown to improve the mental health of those who practice and cultivate Mindfulness strategies in their everyday life. Some benefits include:
- Better grounded presence moment-to-moment
- Greater sensitivity and observation skills of outside environments
- Improved relationship with yourself at feeling and thinking level of consciousness
- Increased relationship with your body including ability to sense bodily states and to work with pain or tension in your body
- Improved ability to focus and concentrate
- Increased productivity in work due to less distractions and splitting off
- Reduction and minimisation of negative or busy thinking
- Increased energy and positivity
- Reduced anxiety and resilience against impact of stress or sudden sensory stimulation or arousal
- Better and deeper sleep
- Ability to stay present and focus on tasks and problems
- Enhanced creativity through increased focus and attention
- Ability to down-regulate stress and anxiety by shutting it down
- Calming through single-pointed attention on one object for long time
- Enhanced immune system and health generally
- Reduction of existing trauma, anxiety and depression
- Feeling more in control of all aspects of Self
- Sense of peace within yourself and the ability to sit still without restlessness
- Acceptance of Self through understanding relativity of self to outside of self
- Increased sense of connectedness and oneness in all that you experience
What Treatment Strategies are used in Mindfulness Therapy
Our Mindfulness approach in Perth incorporates some elements of both MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) and MBSR (Mindfulness Perth Based Stress Reduction). It also respects and engages in the proven thousand-year-old practices of Tibetan Buddhism to achieve results.
The good news is you do not have to go to Tibet to learn mindfulness or meditation as our Perth meditation and Perth mindfulness knowledge and sessions can get you started on these essential positive practices.
We can offer you meditation training and mindfulness courses which would enable you to commence and build a mindfulness practice within your own life to help with your stress reduction.
The practice is based on a combination of neuroscience understanding of brain function, coupled with the training of Buddhist Philosophy on how to generate mindfulness.
The goal when using Mindfulness based strategies is for anyone to be able to cultivate the skill to remain focused. You also want to remain fully present to your moment-to-moment conscious experience and any related sensations you feel in your body, contact us today to find out more.