What is Meditation Therapy?
Meditation therapy is a process of inner work that utilizes the principles of the meditative tradition to alleviate suffering and foster personal growth.
The most fundamental principle of meditative practice is that of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the state of being fully in the moment and aware of what is happening while it’s happening. Without training in mindfulness, most people are frequently caught up in the past (often with regret, worry or self-pity) or in the future (often with anxiety or attachment to desires) or in fantasy (escapism—often involving substance abuse or addictive behaviors). Mindfulness enables a person to be in the now and, from that, to cultivate insight and skill about his or her life situation.
The meditative tradition teaches that suffering is caused by grasping or attachments. The fundamental attachment, of course, is to things being other than they are. Through mindfulness training we learn to identify whatever attachments are creating personal difficulty and to let them go. That is not to say that we become passive victims of circumstance. On the contrary, as part of the meditative process we learn to take action to improve our situation but to do so with skill and equanimity and not out of ego-grasping.
Compassion is another basic principle of the meditative process. Meditation therapy helps a person cultivate compassion first of all for himself or herself and then for others. We learn true compassion—not compulsive people-pleasing or self-gratification. Part of compassion for self and others is the cultivation of appropriate boundaries.
Therapy sessions take place in the context of a conversation about a current situation or personal history. The conversation enables an exploration of the personality leading to insight into both exterior circumstances and the interior journey as well as the development of new tools for living. While therapy clients are strongly encouraged to participate in meditation classes, such participation is not required. Whether the client formally meditates or not, the meditation principles can be effectively applied to whatever issues the client wishes to engage.
You may email the Center's director, Sister Ellie, for more information or to schedule an appointment. firstname.lastname@example.org