Mindfulness And Meditation
Mindfulness is based in the ability to be present in each lived moment. To be present means we are more attuned and available to our experiences- our sensations, thoughts, emotions and actions. Mindfulness invites us to bring curiosity and friendly inquiry to our experiences, helping us to see with a clear mind what is here now and opens us to meet life with openness and greater wisdom.
We cultivate our ability to respond to each situation rather than to react out of habit and learnt behaviour. Mindfulness contains the qualities of heartfulness, compassion, kindness and gentleness, qualities that bring nourishment to ourselves and those we are with.
'The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.' - Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness in Counselling and Psychotherapy:
- Cultivates steady presence and clear awareness.
- Creates a strong foundation to stay clear, centred and well-grounded.
- Enhances emotional attunement and relational awareness.
- Enables steady empathy, compassion, and unconditional positive regard for ourselves and our clients.
- Increases our ability to stay balanced in the midst of emotional intensity and turmoil.
- Maintains awareness of healthy boundaries and ethical conduct.
- Supports clarity in assessment of the client and maintains direction and focus of the therapeutic journey.
- Maintains metacognition of the therapeutic process and flexibility.
Insight Meditation Teaching
From an early age I have pursued my interests in spirituality, philosophy, holistic healing and transformation. Over the years, the Buddhist teachings have crystallised for me as offering the path with the most potential to deepen into these interests, let them shape me so that I may live my life well and offer engaged therapy to people. While I dip in and out of different Buddhist schools like Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, it is the Insight tradition that I resonate with and love the most.
Insight Meditation (also known as Vipassana meditation) is the oldest of the Buddhist meditation teachings and practices, going all the way to the life of the Buddha. In the West, it has gained wide renown mainly through American Buddhist teachers such as Joseph Goldstein, Tara Brach, Gil Fronsdal, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield. In Australia, too, the Insight Meditation community is growing with many teachers and groups around the country. Insight practices are a direct and gradual cultivation of the mind and heart qualities through deep mindfulness and meditation practices. In addition, Buddhist practices are steeped in ethics and wisdom, refining one’s being toward steady inner calm, clarity and a whole-hearted presence in life. Out of clear awareness comes a stillness of mind that opens to the immensity and wonder of life.
My intention as an Insight teacher (in the making) is to share the wise and compassionate teachings of the Buddha and guidance on the path to liberation. My most important aim is to teach, practice and embody the teachings so that they guide us and enrich our daily lives.
For many years now, I have offered Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programs and written and taught workshops and courses such as:
- Awakening Joy in Life and Work
- Calming the Anxious Mind: Mindfulness and Creativity Skills for Adults
- Love, Intimacy and the Buddha
- Meditation for Peace of Mind, Health and Wellbeing
- Inspired Mindfulness: The Path to Mindfulness through Creativity and Contemplation
- Creative Mindfulness in Therapy
- Mindfulness in Relationships and more
Buddhism and Psychotherapy
For many years now I have had a particular research and practice interest in Buddhist psychology and Western psychotherapy and their meeting points. In about 2010 I completed a two-year degree in Buddhism and Psychotherapy with the Australian Association of Buddhism and Psychotherapy (AAPCAP) and have since been strongly influenced in my therapeutic work and teaching by Buddhist psychological training. I am not alone on this path. For more than half a century, renowned therapists such as Carl Jung, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, Les Greenberg, Mark Epstein, Pilar Jennings and John Wellwood. Mindfulness-influenced therapies (Mindfulness being the core teaching of Vipassana Meditation) have sprung up all around us for example: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and -Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
There are a number of questions I am particularly interested in: How do we bring Buddhism and Psychotherapy together, respecting their significant differences and seeking how each can enrich the other? How do these contrasting traditions approach the roots of personal and collective suffering, and how do their complementary though divergent methods offer increased opportunities for healing? How do we translate Buddhist thought into Western psychotherapy? What is clear is that both the Western therapeutic traditions and Buddhist Psychology offer a pathway toward facing life’s difficulties with courage, with resilience and with wisdom and find joy and happiness, even if just in the small places.
This is a lifelong quest. As the poet Rilke says: ‘Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.’
‘Living into the answers’ reflects a process, one that is an interplay of learning, practice and action that I so value for my life and my work.
I teach various workshops and seminars, give talks and offer webinars on the topic of Buddhism and Psychotherapy. I also facilitate Buddhism and Psychotherapy Clinical Supervision group for therapists within this discipline.
Please check events page for upcoming offerings or contact me if you’d like to book me as a speaker.