Introduction to Mindfulness Therapy
Many of us can’t quite put our finger on it, but we know that the way we experience our lives isn’t what we want.
Falling into mundane routines, mentally checking out sometimes for hours at a time, and spending way too much time on our screens with algorithms designed to keep us there, it can sometimes feel like we’re missing out on our lives. Many people experience large surges of emotion and excitement when traveling or partying, but they also experience the sharp crash once they come home and return to “normal life.” Living for the weekends or our occasional vacations can’t be everything that gives our lives meaning, right?
The reality is that many of us have fallen into these patterns through years and sometimes decades of conditioning and reinforcement. Mindfulness expert and clinical psychologist Dr. Tara Brach calls this “the trance of unworthiness” that so many of us fall into by cycling between various states of mind including striving and wanting, blaming and reacting, and quite often self-numbing. Our daily lives become too much to bear either due to extreme emotions or just the simple disappointment of where I am right now versus where I could or should be. The trance of unworthiness has existed since human civilization began, but it’s only getting worse these days with 24 hour news cycles everywhere we turn, increasingly concerning economic and environmental conditions, and social media influencers showing us a lifestyle that is simply out of reach for most of us. So, how do we break the trance?
Mindfulness meditation was first introduced thousands of years ago, but modern science started to formally study its use in medical settings in the 1970’s. What these initial studies found was that a regular practice of mindfulness meditation every day could lead to significant benefits for practitioners in terms of mental clarity and focus, stress reduction, emotional calm, and much more. Researchers even found physical benefits like lower blood pressure, increased body awareness, decreased pain, increased immunity, and decreased chance of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. The best part is that many of these benefits resulted from as little as five minutes per day of mindfulness meditation. A simple practice can have massive benefits for both the mind and the body.
However, it is important to work with professionals who truly understand mindfulness and have advanced training in the system from world experts. Many “mindfulness teachers” in the world are actually teaching other forms of meditation such as guided visualizations, relaxation practices, or simple breathing exercises. While all of these practices are valid and useful, they are not mindfulness and will not create the long lasting benefits of mindfulness practice observed in clinical research settings. Mindfulness is centrally focused on working with whatever arises in our present experience and directing our attention and awareness intentionally and skillfully. Once we have the ability to direct our awareness though, what do we do with it?
This introductory course will focus on understanding the basic practices of mindfulness meditation and how to establish a daily practice that each person will find useful and rewarding. Sessions will largely focus on direct teaching and explanation of the material, but there will also be time for a short meditation practice and an opportunity to ask questions each session as well. There are practitioners who spend their entire lives studying mindfulness because many of us discover new parts of ourselves as we look inward. Gearing Up’s clinical team recommends that every client completes the Introduction to Mindfulness course since self awareness and introspection are foundational to making progress in therapy. Our mindfulness leadership team also offers more advanced and specialized courses to practitioners who have completed the introductory course to deepen and broaden their practice into new areas of mindfulness.
Gearing Up’s senior mindfulness teachers Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing have completed multiple years of advanced training in mindfulness practice with world-renowned mindfulness masters Dr. Tara Brach and Dr. Jack Kornfield. They are certified mindfulness teachers with the University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and the Awareness Training Institute. In addition, they continue their advanced mindfulness studies with monthly training sessions and weekly consultations with a senior mindfulness teacher who has taught mindfulness since the 1980’s. She was formally trained in mindfulness as a nun in Asia for multiple years and she has completed numerous certifications from mindfulness institutes around the world including some of the highest certifications from Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Center, the premier mindfulness training institute in the United States founded by Dr/ Jack Kornfield.
If you are ready to get started and take the first step with mindfulness, please contact us today by calling our office, filling out a contact form, or through the chat window on this page. Our staff will follow up with you as soon as possible to schedule your first appointment.