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Meditative Psychotherapy

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. It comes through an understanding that all that we are aware of arise due to conditions that change moment by moment.

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 only be aware of feeling depression. Similarly, I cannot be anxious. I can only be aware of feeling anxiety. Saying that you are depressed is like saying that you are "flued" -- it turns the transient into something inherent in self.

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.

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