What does it mean to be a mindfulness-based therapist, to put mindfulness at the center of my practice. Mindfulness is often defined as paying attention non-judgmentally, moment-to-moment to the unfolding life process. It is a way of being more alive and embodied and awake; a way of not being on automatic pilot, at the whim of habit energies. So, to be a mindfulness-based therapist is to believe it matters where you choose to put your attention and to put attention on the here and now moment is a healing act and a loving act.
Often, it is our very resistance to this unfolding moment and to ourselves as we are in this moment that create our suffering and unhappiness. Something amazing and wonderful begins to happen when we stop fighting with the moment and with ourselves and simply welcome what is. Suddenly, there is room inside of us for all of who we are; suddenly the moment becomes fresh and dynamic and fluid.
So many times I watch my clients move from resisting something within them, something they have been running from their whole lives. When they finally find the courage to actually turn and face this darkness, this wound, this exiled part of themselves, there is often a softening, a melting, and the stuck energy and emotions begin to move and even transform. It is the unblessed parts of ourselves that cause the damage and the pain. Once some part of us is blessed by human presence, by our own loving and kind attention, it becomes life-serving rather than life-destroying.
One of my clients said, “There are no thought crimes”, which I take to mean that there is nothing inside of us that is inherently horrible or evil, that is not worthy of our love and often the parts of us that we deem most ugly are the very parts of us that are most needy of our love and our blessing. In a way mindfulness is a deep and profound act of love, a bringing of our kind attention and acceptance to the parts of us that have been bereft of such attention. Paradoxically, change becomes possible when we stop trying to change ourselves, when we stop making ourselves a project that needs to be fixed and instead accept ourselves, accept our own flawed and beautiful humanity.