Responding to the present initially requires an internal sense of stillness. This stillness is not reactive to events,
thoughts, and emotions. It gives the freedom to
see what is happening now and then develop appropriate responses. Rather
than responding to wishful or conditioned thinking, we cultivate an observing
position. Oberving with uncritical equanimity to what is happening,
whether we like it or not, can provide the basis for a new way of acting.
Cultivating this stillness
allows us to refrain from identifying feelings, thoughts, or events as
"me." This cultivation comes from bringing a more compassionate understanding of our past and present which transforms these feelings, thoughts, or events into events that are transient.
Cultivating stillness in this way creates a more meditative perspective that keeps us from identifying with our feelings and thoughts. I cannot be depressed. Rather, I can feel depression. Similarly, I cannot be anxious. I can only feel anxiety. This difference is similar to
what we do with physical illness -- we don't say that we are "flued"
In Meditative Psychotherapy, we
learn how to cultivate this sense of stillness and observation as a Mindfulness practice-- observing passing events, thoughts and emotions with nonjudgmental attitudes of openness, curiosity, and compassion. Over time, mindfulness meditative
practices can change the way we think about the world.
We learn how to focus our attention rather than having it wander. The keyword here is practice -- Meditative
Psychotherapy rests on a continuing practice of mindfulness in our dealing with
the world. Unlike taking a pill or having some outside intervention, we learn to change ourselves through practice.