Meditation is an integral part of group therapy.

Meditation has been shown to be effective in calming the mind and helping us relax.  The more relaxed we can remain, the better we are at controlling our emotions and becoming less invested in our thoughts.  Our perceptions are made up of thoughts influenced by age, gender, ethnicity, culture, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, health,  life experiences and many other factors.   Perceptions are an inaccurate portrayal of reality because as people we experience and interpret reality.  An objective perception does not exist because we are subjects, not objects.  The more we learn to self-contain our wild thoughts and feelings, the better able we are at seeing, and accepting reality as it is.  A radical acceptance of reality as it is (it is what it is!) in turn leads to less internal stress and a more relaxed mind.

There are many forms and objects of meditation.  Essentially when we are totally involved in working on a project or completing a task, when we are completely present and engaged with the details of anything from washing a dish to working out an intricate mathematical formula, we are meditating or focused on that object.  Praying, eating, walking, hiking, standing in line, cooking, running, and working on a project are all forms of meditation when our mind is fully engaged in the present moment of what we are doing.  But the mind wanders, it doesn't stay put.  Learning to bring the mind back to the object of meditation and regular practice teaches the mind to relax and calms internal struggle.  Just like a jar full of muddy water will settle if left in stillness, we can discover the natural clarity of our mind through regular meditation practice.       

We teach shamatha vipassana (mindfulness awareness) meditation at Glencairn.  The more we practice, the more we are able to stay in the present moment and create more space and openness for ourselves and others.  Meditation trains us to live in the present and recognize the vast openness beyond thoughts and feelings.  We learn that we can experience emotional pain but we don't have to dwell there or try to escape ourselves, a thing that we can never do.  The mind's natural tendency when facing emotional dis-ease is to attempt to avoid it, but that only magnifies the feelings of displeasure and dissatisfaction with reality, creating more emotional suffering.  This cycle can become like quicksand, pulling us deeper into depression over past events or anxiety about the future.      

As we begin to relax with all parts of ourselves (the good, the bad, and the ugly), we gradually connect with an inner strength and trust in our inherent wisdom.  Having this intimacy with ourselves allows us to move past our beliefs and distorted thoughts that create emotional pain for others and more suffering for ourselves.  Relaxing with emotional turmoil, becoming more comfortable with fearful thoughts, and letting fear be transformed into compassion rather than more ego armor, we begin to dissolve the illusion of a fixed self and barrier between me and others. 

Meditation has become a much researched phenomena in today's society and many people practice meditation for various reasons.  People ask if you have to practice a certain religion to benefit from practicing meditation.  The answer is no, anyone can practice and experience the benefits of meditation.  The great Indian man of peace, Mahatma Gandhi, was asked what religion he practiced.  He answered, "I am a Christian.  I am a Muslim.  I am Hindu.  I am a Jew."   His message was clear--that all people are brothers and that we are all equal in the eyes of God. 


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Mail: Glencairn Marriage & Family Therapy Center Inc. 501 Darby Creek Road Suite 67., Lexington, KY 40509, USA.
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